Sept. 12, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF cross country team showed off its depth in its season opener, claiming eight of the top 10 spots to win the Black & Gold Invitational in dominating fashion Saturday morning at the UCF Cross Country Complex. The Knights scored 17 points in the meet, 53 clear of second place.
UCF also won the Black & Gold Invitational in 2008, and for the the second year in a row had an athlete cross the finish line first. Senior Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y.) won the 5K race to lead UCF, finishing with a time of 19:11.
"Overall, I am very impressed with the team," said cross country coach Tyangela Sanders. "They all ran faster than in the first meet last year so that sets us up to continue to run personal bests in future meets. I think we have a solid team. One of our top three runners did not even participate today. We are definitely a much more solid team this season. Jamie did awesome. She definitely shot for her goals and that lets me know that she is ready and able to go out run well the rest of the year."
UCF finished with 17 points and was followed by Nova Southeastern (70 points), Flagler (74), Warner (98) and Rollins (122).
Rzepecki was not alone at the front of the field, finishing just 11 seconds away from junior Ocean Cohen (Sarasota, Fla.), who crossed the line in 19:22. Senior Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J.) rounded out the top-three spots with a time of 19:34.
Other UCF finishers were senior Shannon Kelly (20:29, 5th), sophomore Katrina Skinner (20:34, 6th), sophomore Kathia Skinner (20:56, 8th), senior Carley Dart (21:03, 9th), senior Jaclyn Johnson (21:03, 10th) and freshman Mason Gardberg (23:01, 16th).
For Rzepecki, it was the first victory of her career and comes after missing the 2008 cross country season due to injury. Her win also marks the third for the UCF program in the past two seasons.
"We all started off conservatively and started catching people as the race went on," Rzepecki said. "The middle mile was quite difficult because it is out in the woods and nobody is really out there to cheer you on so it is pretty hard. The last mile is great because everyone is around you. We have been training really well together and really been cheering people on. We are definitely a lot better this season. This race is just another step in our training and preparation for conference."
UCF will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 18, competing at the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. The Knights return to their home course on Sept. 26, hosting the Knight Attack Challenge.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.