Knights Fall Short at 2007 C-USA Cross Country Championships

Oct. 27, 2007

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's cross country team took sixth and the women seventh as the Knights competed in the 2007 Conference USA Championships on Saturday afternoon.

"It's disappointing that the teams fell short of their goal to finish among the top three at the conference championships," said UCF head track and field and cross country coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "Now it is important to look ahead and gear up for the NCAA Regional Championships at Florida."

Led by sophomore transfer Richie Bonilla (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay HS), three of the UCF men finished within seconds of one another in the top 25. Bonilla went 27:21.80 for 22nd followed by senior Paul Fitzpatrick (Ocala, Fla./Vanguard HS) in 24th at 27:33.0 and junior Daniel Conn (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic HS) in 25th at 27:33.4.

Rounding out the scoring five was a pair of seniors from Oviedo, Fla. Paul Nielsen (Oviedo HS) was 33rd at 27:53.5 and Matt Clements (Oviedo HS) was 37th at 28:26.10.

Event host UTEP won the men's team title for the third consecutive year as the Miners claimed the top five places in the 8K race. Stephen Samoei won the individual title with a time of 24:40.70.

UTEP, which is ranked No. 3 in the nation by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, collected 15 points, while Tulsa (42 pts.) was second and Rice (110) was third. UCF had 131 points for sixth place.

In the women's 5K race, junior Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora HS) paced the Knights, clocking a time of 19:33.0 for 27th. Senior Elizabeth Miller (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek HS) followed closely behind in 28th place at 19:34.80. Running No. 3 for UCF was senior co-captain Karen Kozub (Alden, N.Y./Alden HS) as she earned 33rd place in a time of 19:48.10.

Also scoring for the Knights, sophomore Jenny Clausen (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial HS) was 55th at 20:53.20 and junior Kelly McNeill (Coral Springs, Fla./Taravella HS) took 61st at 21:07.80.

No. 16 Rice earned its second C-USA women's team crown in three years as the Owls grabbed five of the top 10 places in the event and earned 26 points. Led by individual winner Alex Becker, Tulsa was second with 54 points followed by SMU in third with 105 points. UCF had 196 points for seventh place.

The Knights return to action on Nov. 10 at the NCAA South Regional in Gainesville, Fla.

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