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Cross Country Opens Season at Gator Invite

Sept. 8, 2005

ORLANDO - The UCF cross country teams are looking to start the 2005 season on the right foot when they travel to the Gator Invitational on Friday in Gainesville.

The men's squad, which is scheduled to race at 8 a.m., is among one of the best that UCF head coach Marcia Mansur-Wentworth has coached. "We finally have a pack of men who are running very close together in all of their workouts," she said.

Freshman Chris Mullaney has made an early impact in workouts, consistently leading the pack. He comes highly regarded after winning the district and regional championship as a member of the Bishop Kenny High School team.

After placing third and earning Atlantic Sun All-Conference honors in the 1500-meter event last spring, junior Brent White is hoping that success transfers onto the trails this fall. His brother Ryan White, meanwhile, has been shoulder-to-shoulder with him throughout the workouts. The duo should continue to challenge each other and, in turn, only continue to improve.

Sophomore Dustin Hicks, who transferred from Seminole Community College to join the Knights, has been among the top five in every workout. UCF also has significant depth thanks to senior captain Ray Gossage, his classmate Chucky Jones, sophomores Paul Fitzpatrick and Paul Nielsen and freshman Daniel Conn. All should push each other in their quest to score for the Golden Knights.

Following the men's race, the UCF women's squad takes to the trails as a stronger competitor than last year. The A-Sun Champion and NCAA Regional qualifier in the 800m as a freshman, sophomore captain Karen Kozub returns after redshirting 2004 due to illness. She will be joined by senior Andrea Morrow, who twice met the NCAA Regional standard in the steeplechase.

The Golden Knights will also be looking for a competitive start from Jamie Rzepecki. The rookie has been very impressive in the preseason workouts.

The UCF top five also includes sophomores Allison Palmer and Kristen Zieminski. Palmer was the No. 2 runner for the Golden Knights in 2004, while Zieminski showed her potential in the spring season. Both have been solid in practice.

Also competing for the Black and Gold are senior Michelle Brouillet, junior Christina Jones and freshmen Kelly McNeill and Shantile Blackburn.