Cross Country Races at Disney Classic on Saturday

Oct. 6, 2006

ORLANDO - The UCF cross country teams race against 34 teams from around the country when the Golden Knights line up for the Disney Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Saturday morning. The men's 8K race begins at 7:45 a.m. followed by the women's 5K at 8:55 a.m.

Despite not competing last weekend, the UCF men moved from 11th to an all-time program high of 10th in the US Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association South Region Poll. The Golden Knights have continued to run well throughout the season after opening with a second-place showing at the Mountain Dew Invitational in mid-September.

Leading the team through two meets is junior Dustin Hicks (Oviedo HS), who posted the program's second-best time ever in the 8K at 25:16.39 in the team's season debut. The Golden Knights have also received impressive efforts from seniors Brent and Ryan White (Boynton Beach, Fla./Santaluces HS). The brothers continue their friendly competition as they battle for the team's No. 2 and 3 spots.

Junior captain Paul Nielsen (Oviedo HS) finished third in the squad's line-up at the Great American Classic, while his classmate Paul Fitzpatrick (Ocala, Fla/Vanguard HS) finished in the No. 4 position. Junior Matt Clements, sophomore Daniel Conn and freshman John Horst also race on Saturday.

The UCF women are looking to build a solid team performance after opening the season with strong individual efforts in their first two meets. Freshman Jenny Clausen (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial HS) paces the Golden Knights as she posted a time of 18:35.49 in her collegiate debut, which ranks her second among freshmen and sixth overall in the program's record books.

Other runners have also boasted strong showings. Sophomores Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Laughlin HS) and Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora HS) opened the season with times of 18:54.32 and 19:12.08, respectively. Juniors Karen Kozub (Alden, N.Y./Alden HS), Allison Palmer (Oviedo HS) and Elizabeth Miller (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek HS) also finished in under 20 minutes at the Mountain Dew Invitational.

The Disney course is a familiar one for the Golden Knights as they ran on the trails surrounding the Wide World of Sports Complex twice last year. At the 2005 Disney Classic, the men placed third in the field of 30 teams, while the women were fourth of 33. UCF also hosted the Conference USA meet at the course last year.

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