@FGCU_XC Men Place First, Women Second at the USF Invitational

@FGCU_XC Men Place First, Women Second at the USF Invitational

TAMPA, Fla. – In the final tune-up before the ASUN Championships in two weeks, the FGCU cross country teams posted strong outings as the men's side took home first place with the women's team garnering second overall Friday evening.

"Despite hurricane Michael preventing us from traveling to Tallahassee as previously planned, both Eagle teams were hungry and ready to compete today at the USF Invitational," said head coach Cassandra Goodson. "While the teams saw 1st and 2nd place finishes overall, the best part of the trip was the positive attitudes and camaraderie displayed by the athletes, despite having a change of race plans last minute. The positive character shown by each of the athletes makes the success that much sweeter! I would also like to thank all the family, friends and alumni that came out to support the teams. It really lifts us up."

On the men's side, the squad scored five runners in the top-15 to beat out the eight other Division I programs for the title. Lucas Kiprotich (Eldoret, Kenya/EKU/Concord HS) paved the way for the Eagles crossing the finish line with a time of 26:42.12. Kiprotich – who already has a pair of top-2 finishes this season – claims his first individual overall victory of the year.

Right behind the newcomer was senior runner Ronny Greenup (Miami, Fla./FIU/Miami Sunset Senior HS) (27:07.36) placing fifth in the D-I field, followed by another newcomer in Boniface Mutai (Eldoret, Kenya/Biwott Ngelel Tarit Secondary School/FAMU) who recorded a time of (27:41.38) coming in eighth. Freshman Austin Redondo (Miami, Fla./Coral Reef Senior High School) was the next Eagle to score with a mark of 28:06.77 in 12th as freshman Bryce Bell (Orlando, Fla./Lyman High School) capped off the scoring for FGCU, etching a time of 28:28.09 for a grand total of 41 points for the Eagles as they took home their second title of the year – claimed the FAU Invite to start the season.

In addition, Joseph Salerno (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) (16th), Leonard Kipruto (Eldoret, Kenya/Nyang'Ori High School/Hillsdale College) (25th), Jan Figueroa (Casselberry, Fla./Lake Howell HS) (30th) and Bradyn Ricca (Merritt Island, Fla./Merritt Island High School) (38th) rounded out the top-40 out of the 51 D-1 runners in the field.  

Overall, the men claim their second USF Invitational title with the last one coming back in 2014.

Senior runner Carley Lutzow (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere HS) took home the USF Invite individual title with a blistering time of 17:36.54 – just one second over from her season-best time she set at the FAU Invite (17:35.56) in which she also claimed first. With Lutzow setting the tone, the next four runners to score for the Green and Blue would all finish in the top-30 for an overall team score of 94 points in the D-1 group.

In three meets this year, the Illinois native has finished each race in the top-3, taking first overall twice. 

Coming in 17th was Angela Cruz Gonzalez (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee HS/Pasco-Hernando State) with a time of 19:33.67, newcomer Bridget Schoffman (Eagan, Minn./St. Croix Lutheran HS) was right on her heels with a mark of 19:36.32 for 19th overall. FGCU's final scorers were capped off by a pair of freshmen in Jillian Felton(Inverness, Fla./Citrus High School) and Emily O'Connor (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg High School). Felton crossed the finish line 27th (19:50.05) while O'Connor snagged 30th place (19:58.23). Julia Filip (Owasso, Okla./Owasso High School) (21:07.70) and Ciara Frame (Mount Horeb, Wisc./Mount Horeb) (22:05.11) went on to finish 56th and 65th, respectively.

It becomes the women's best finish in Tampa since taking home the title back in 2015.

The Green and Blue will head to the Bronx, NY in search of its first ASUN Championship on Friday, Oct. 26 at Van Cortlandt Park. FGCU took a trip to that same site when it participated in the Fordham Fiasco back in early September.

1. Lucas Kiprotich – 26: 42.12
5. Ronny Greenup – 27:07.36
8. Boniface Mutai – 27:41.28
12. Austin Redondo – 28:06.77
15. Bryce Bell – 28:28.09
16. Joseph Salerno – 28:30.99
25. Leonard Kipruto – 29:02.43
30. Jan Figueroa – 29:20.47
38. Bradyn Ricca – 30:05.60

1. Carley Lutzow – 17:36.54
17. Angela Cruz Gonzalez – 19:33.67
19. Bridget Schoffman – 19:36.32
27. Jillian Felton – 19:50.05
30. Emily O'Connor – 19:58.23
56. Julia Filip – 21:07.70
65. Ciara Frame – 22:05.11

FGCU – 41
Stetson – 55
FAU – 93
Bethune-Cookman – 112
UF – 130
USF – 148
FIU – 165
UM – 181
Jacksonville – 218

FIU – 45
FGCU – 94
UCF – 105
UF –107
FAU – 124
UM – 126
Jacksonville – 142
USF – 180
Stetson – 219
Bethune-Cookman –221