FGCU_XC Gets Off and Running at Season-Opening FAU Invitational
Special to the Lehigh Acres Gazette
The FGCU men’s and women’s cross country teams toe the starting line for the first time in 2017 at the FAU Invitational held at the South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, Fla., Friday evening. The men will compete in a 5K race at 6 p.m. followed by the women at 6:30 p.m.
Friday’s race will mark the Eagles’ second straight FAU Invitational at the South County Regional Park. The men claimed one of their program-record three first-place finishes a season ago and the women finished in a season-best second place.
This year, the men will be competing against the likes of host FAU, FIU, Miami and Stetson among other programs. The women will race against the same quartet of teams along with UCF and other programs.
“The team has been training all summer, so there’s just a lot of anticipation leading up to the first race,” said FGCU head coach Cassandra Goodson. “It’s a course a lot of them are familiar with after competing there last year, and I think it’s an advantage that they know the course. We are looking forward to competing.”
As the ASUN Cross Country Preseason Polls were released earlier this week, FGCU was picked to finish third on the men’s side and fifth on the women’s side. Additionally, senior captain Anita Munoz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) won the Fan-Voted Preseason Runner of the Year award after receiving 210 votes in her favor.
Coming off a season in which the team matched a program-best with a third-place finish at the ASUN Championships and a 17th-place finish at the NCAA South Regional Championship, the FGCU men look to continue their momentum from 2016 as the Eagles return six runners from last season. Senior captain Troy Clark (Mount Dora, Fla./Mount Dora Bible HS) will look to team up with reigning ASUN All-Conference honorees Ronny Greenup (Miami, Fla./FIU/Miami Sunset Senior HS) and Carlin Berryhill (Miami, Fla./Coral Reef Senior HS) to lead the way for the men.
The FGCU women return three runners from a year ago and welcome a pair of newcomers to anchor the 2017 squad. Munoz, a 2016 ASUN All-Academic Team honoree, is joined by Carley Lutzow (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere HS) to headline the women’s team. The duo combined to finish first among FGCU runners in six of seven total meets last season and look to lead the women’s team back to the top-three in the conference.