It was quite a weekend for the USF cross country teams.Competing in the Great American Cross Country Festival, the USF womenÃs squad placed 14th out of 26 teams. The USF menÃs team, however, was unable to place.
Three members were suspended from racing for the weekend.
Ã¬We had to leave some runners home,Ã® USF coach Greg Thiel said. Ã¬They had some team infractions for missing practice, and they had to sit this one out.Ã®
Northern Arizona captured top honors on the menÃs side, placing five runners in the top 11 and three in the top five. Henrik Ahnstrom, Nurani Sheik and Seth Watkins finished No. 1, 2 and 4 for the Lumberjacks. Senior Andrew Smith led the Bulls with a time of 27:29 in the 8K, good enough to finish 40th out of 168 runners. Junior Adam Chumbley finished 62nd with a time of 27:51 while brother junior Raymond Chumbley finished 161st at 31:46.
Shalane Flanagan of North Carolina captured top honors for the women with a time of 17:48. Brigham Young placed No. 1 with four runners finishing in the top seven.
The Bulls were led by sophomore Christa Benton, who placed 14th out of 174 runners. Freshman Jessica Hellender placed 47th with a time of 19:36, senior Kristy Fuller was 59th with a time of 19:44, senior Cori Kill finished 84th with a time of 20:02 and rounding out the team was senior Ashley McComas with a time of 21:07. According to Thiel, Benton ran one of her best meets of the year.
Ã¬Benton ran a great race,Ã® Thiel said. Ã¬The caliber of the meet was very strong, and she finished high at No. 14, beating out some All-Americans.Ã®
The meet was held in Charlotte, N. C. The course was run on fairways, in the rough and wooded trails through the Balantyne golf course.
However, the course was tough and slow because it had been drenched by a torrential downpour in the days before the meet as a result of Tropical Storm Isidore.
Ã¬The course was extremely difficult,Ã® Thiel said. Ã¬The footing was very rough, and it was wet.Ã®
With the Gator Invitational this Saturday, both the menÃs and womenÃs team should be in full force. However, if the Great American Race was any indication, it could be a climb in order for the womenÃs team to place high.
Ã¬I think we couldÃve run a little bit better,Ã® Thiel said. Ã¬Benton and Hellender ran well, but I think our other three girls couldÃve ran harder.Ã®