By Sean McKnight
Stetson’s cross country team competed in their final race of the season at the University of Central Florida’s Black and Gold invitational before heading to Nashville, Tennessee on Nov. 2 for the Atlantic Sun Championship. Both the men’s and women’s teams raced very well even though the team has recently been plagued by a series of injuries and sickness in their top five runners, especially on the women’s team.
Even though the women’s team was without one of their top runners, freshman Samantha Hicks, and had two of their other runners not finish (freshman Amanda Spring and senior Sabrina Guzsvany), the women still placed seventh out of nine teams. Spring and Guzsvany did not finish in order to stay healthy for the conference championship.
The women’s team still had some very impressive finishes on the difficult six-kilometer course in Orlando last Friday. Sophomore Adrienne DeVita was able to place 20th overall with a time of 24:01. Some other quality finishes came from freshman Daniella Godenzi and sophomore Trixi Menge, who placed 35th and 41st with times of 25:04 and 25:24, respectively. Sophomore Jessica Cosgrove placed 45th in 25:35 and freshman Clarissa Consol took 48th with a time of 25:44.
Although the women’s team was without some of their top runners, they were still able to finish in the top 50 and post some solid times for the Hatters before soon heading up to Tennessee to take on teams from the Atlantic Sun.
The men’s team also posted some impressive times last Friday at UCF’s Black and Gold invitational. Andrew Epifanio took 27th in a time of 27:53 on the eight-kilometer course, which was plagued by over a mile of soft sugar sand that made the course extremely demanding on the athletes’ calves and thighs.
Other top finishers were freshman Joe Beery who took 45th with a time of 28:48 and sophomore Andrew Townes who placed 57th with a time of 29:37. Sophomore Ryan Hodgins and junior Jeremy Butler took 65th in 30:43 and 74th in 31:56, respectively. Overall, Stetson took 8th place out of nine teams last Friday with an average time of 29:47 on the grueling eight-kilometer course.
All in all, the Hatters had to deal with some stifling injuries, but I believe that heading into Nashville for the A-Sun championships, Stetson will be at 100 percent in terms of health and will be able to compete well against teams from all over the A-Sun.