FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU Cross Country teams will begin their 2012 schedule by hosting the FGCU Invitational this Friday at FGCU’s Buckingham Property. The men’s team will open the event with an 8K at 6 p.m. followed by the women’s 5K at 6:45 p.m., on the course which will play host the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship meet later this fall.
Marking the third time FGCU has hosted the event, the Eagles will take to the course with in-state rivals Nova Southeastern, FAU and FIU, as well as fellow A-Sun members Lipscomb and Stetson.
After finishing seventh at the league meet last season, the women’s team was predicted to climb to fifth this season in the A-Sun preseason poll. Taking eighth at the A-Sun event last season, the men’s squad was predicted to repeat that finish in the preseason voting, as voted on by the league coaches.
Named one of three unanimous selections to the A-Sun Academic All-Conference last season, men’s junior Argeo Cruz (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS) was the top finisher for the Eagles in four of the six competitions, including a first place finish at the last year’s FGCU Invitational. Placing 25th overall at the A-Sun Conference championship, Cruz also helped the Eagles to a pair of top three finishes last season, highlighted by a first place at the FGCU Invite. Taking seventh overall in the field of 214 runners, Cruz picked up the program’s first-ever A-Sun Runner of the Week award for his effort at the Disney World Cross Country Classic. The Immokalee, Fla. product holds six of the program’s top 10 all-time 8K times, including the top three times on the list. Cruz currently holds the FGCU 8K program record time of 25:37.81.
Redshirt junior Gilbert Chemaoi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kirobon HS/Eastern Kentucky) took 26th at the A-Sun Championship, while adding a second place finish at the FGCU Invite. Chemaoi was the top finisher in two events last season, including the Commodore Classic (22nd) and the UCF Invite (10th). Chemaoi holds two of FGCU’s top 10 all-time 8K times, landing as high as fourth on the list with a time of 26:01.
Running to a 24th place finish at the A-Sun Championship, senior Barrie Cohen (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional HS) was the Eagles top runner in all six events last season. Taking fourth place overall, Cohen helped the Eagles to a second place finish at last year’s FGCU Invite. Running to a seventh place finish at the Disney World Classic, Cohen earned FGCU’s first-ever A-Sun Runner of the Week Award. Additionally, Cohen owns six of FGCU’s top 10 all-time 5K list, including the top overall time of 18:13.62.
Junior Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) was strong for the Eagles last season, finishing one-two with Cohen in five of the six fall competitions. Perzanowski’s best finish of last season came at the FGCU Invite where she took fifth overall. The St. Clairsville, Ohio product also supplied two top 20 finishes in 2011, including a 10th place finish in the field of 269 runners at the Walt Disney World Classic, crossing the line with her best 5K time of the season of 19:00.20. Perzanowski currently sits second on the FGCU 5K all-time list with a time of 18:16.72.
Representing the Green and Blue at the event for the first time in program history, Cruz, Chemaoi, Cohen and Perzanowski all traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala. last season to compete at the Division I NCAA South Regional.
In the inaugural three-team FGCU Invitational during the 2009 season, the Eagles claimed victory in the men’s event and finished in second place in the women’s race. As individuals, rising men’s senior Jonathan Lanning (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Military Academy) and former Eagle Leigh Mumford each won their respective races. Last season, the men’s team placed first in the four-team event behind Cruz’s first place finish, and the women’s program finished in second place as Cohen was the top finisher in fourth place overall.
For the second consecutive season the FGCU Invitational will be held at FGCU’s Buckingham Property. The Eagles will also play host to the 2012 A-Sun Championship meet on Saturday, October 27th at this location. For directions to FGCU’s Buckingham Property, please CLICK HERE.
Results and recaps from both races will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com at the conclusion of the event.
FGCU’s Buckingham Property
5820 Buckingham Road
Buckingham, FL 33905