GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s cross country team continued the 2013 campaign with an 11th-place finish on Saturday morning at the Mountain Dew Invitational after senior Kelly Perzanowski (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville HS) cruised to take the women’s 6k title while setting a program record.
Perzanowski pulled away from Florida’s Agata Strausa and the rest of the pack to cross the finish line ahead of 269 others as she clocked a time of 20 minutes and 45.06 seconds to shatter the former FGCU record of 22:02.6 she posted in the 2012 NCAA South Regional. Perzanowski’s first-place finish marks her second this season and is the best-ever FGCU individual finish in a meet of this caliber.
The women tallied 248 total points to claim their 11th place tittle, outpacing 12th-place Miami with 266 points and conference rival Stetson in 13th with 312.
“I’m really happy with how the race turned out,” Perzanowski said. “We’ve been working really hard so it was pretty cool to see that actually pay off, to see our school get some recognition and to have people noticing FGCU.”
Joining the race champion to claim a spot in the top 100 were three other members of the Green and Blue finishing within seconds of each other. Freshman Stephanie Cajas (Lithia, Fla./Newsome HS) led the trio with a 23:51.83 placing 83rd overall, closely followed by Courtney Corradetti (Oceanside, Ca./Vista HS) in 92nd (23:57.86) and Alicen Wilbur (Pine Island, Fla./Ida S. Baker HS) in 95th (23:59.52).
Joining FGCU to race in The Swamp were 26 other teams, including 14 NCAA Division I teams and Southeastern Conference power-house programs Auburn, Tennessee, South Carolina and host Florida.
“The women definitely put forth a strong effort,” head coach Cassandra Goodson said. “Some of them struggled a little bit midway through the race, but it was nice to see how they kept fighting for it. They didn’t stop pushing, which is what we’ll need out of them at conference championships. Obviously Kelly had a good day beating the whole very-strong field filled with top SEC programs. Beating every single runner in that race was a great thing for Kelly. She’s worked incredibly hard all four year. Every year she comes to this meet she gets a bit better, and she deserves everything that she gets.”
The Eagles take to the trail again in Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 28.
FGCU INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Kelly Perzanowski – 20:45.06
83. Stephanie Cajas - 23:51.83
92. Courtney Corradetti – 23:57.56
95. Alicen Wilbur - 23:59.52
103. Regan Farrow- 24:14.41
110. Amanda Restivo - 24:27.32
129. Gretchen MacMillan – 24:53.50
148. Emily Perkinson – 25:25.33