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Cross Country Honors Athletes With Team Awards

Jan. 10, 2005

ORLANDO - Junior captain Astrid Claessens and freshman Jake Wilke headlined the list of athletes recognized when the UCF cross country gave out its annual team awards over the weekend. Also honored were freshman Allison Palmer, redshirt freshman Kristen Zieminski and Ray Gossage.

Claessens was named the athlete of the year on the women's side after running in the No.1 spot for the Golden Knights all season long. She won her first collegiate meet taking top honors at the dual meet with Florida Atlantic that took place in Clermont and also earned her first all-conference honors by finishing seventh at the Atlantic Sun Championship. Her season best of 18:46 in the 5K ranks eighth all-time in program history.

Wilke, who also earned A-Sun All-Conference honors, received the men's athlete of the year award. The squad's No.1 runner all year, he placed 45th in the NCAA Regional with a personal best time of 31:36, which ranks him second all-time at UCF in the 10K. He also posted the program's third best time in the 8K at 25:26. Wilke won the UCF-JU-FAU meet at Clermont and took sixth at the conference meet.

Meanwhile, Palmer was named the freshman of the year. Although she ran in UCF's top five all season, her best performance came when she ran No. 2 and scored season bests at the Disney Classic (19:19 in the 5K) and the Chile Pepper Invitational (23:37 in the 6K). She was also the team's second finisher at the NCAA Championship to cap off the year.

Zieminski and Gossage received the teams' scholar-athlete awards. A business major, Zieminski was a top seven runner, while Gossage, a finance major, ran top five. Both were named to the Atlantic Sun All-Academic Team.