Knights Use Friday's Hatter Invitational as Final Tune-Up for C-USA

Oct. 10, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In their final meet prior to the Conference USA Championships, the UCF cross country teams compete at the Hatter Invitational on Friday afternoon. The women's 5K race begins at 4:30 p.m. followed by the men's 8K at 5:10 p.m.

"To prepare for the championship, we've been working on racing strategy and teamwork," said UCF assistant coach Mason Cathey, who guides the distance runners. "We are looking toward closing gaps and grouping our runners."

Leading the Knight women is senior co-captain Karen Kozub (Alden, N.Y./Alden HS). She finished in atop the line-up in two previous events and posted a career-best time of 18:29.53 at the Vanderbilt Classic on Sept. 15, a performance that also ranks fifth all-time at UCF.

Junior Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora HS) continues to run well after recording a personal-best of 18:34.37 at the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 7. She has finished among the top three UCF athletes in all of her races this fall.

Both senior Elizabeth Miller (Orlando, Fla./Timbercreek HS) and sophomore Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro HS) have improved upon their own personal-best times in the 5K and 6K events throughout the season. After an early injury, sophomore Jenny Clausen (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial HS) is also working toward eclipsing her career record times.

A week ago at the FLRunners.com Invitational, junior Kelly McNeill took the top spot for the Knights as she ran a 19:55.96, placing 11th despite the windy conditions.

The men's scoring line-up has been consistent throughout the season as senior Paul Nielsen has led the pack in all three previous races. His personal-best effort of 25:39 in the 8K at the Paul Short Invitational ranks seventh all-time at UCF.

Running strong races at the No. 2 position is junior Daniel Conn (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS). He was one of the three other Knights' athletes to post a career-best at the Paul Short Invitational, going 25:57. Sophomore Richie Bonilla and freshmen Baker Burchfield and Miles Harris also improved upon their previous times.

Senior Matt Clements (Oviedo HS) ran his career-best of 26:45.17 at the Vanderbilt Classic and his classmate Paul Fitzpatrick (Ocala, Fla./Vanguard HS) fell six seconds short of bettering his previous best time of 26:04.23 at the Paul Short Invitational.

The 2007 C-USA Championships, hosted by UTEP, take place on Saturday, Oct. 27 in Santa Teresa, N.M.

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