Mason Cathey Resigns To Pursue Professional Running Career

May 30, 2008

UCF track and field assistant coach Mason Cathey has resigned her position to pursue a professional running career, head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert announced Friday.

Cathey, who joined Smith Gilbert's staff prior to the 2007-08 season, directed the women's and men's cross country programs at UCF and oversaw the women's and men's distance runners during the track and field season.

Cathey was responsible for the development of senior distance runner Kristen Zieminski, who ran the Knights' top time in the mile (5:06.53) during the indoor season and set a new personal-best time of 4:42.30 in the 1,500-meter run during outdoor season. Zieminski also was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team two weeks ago.

Cathey's top three middle-distance pupils - Zieminski, senior Karen Kozub and junior Kelly McNeill - all set personal-best marks in the 1,500-meter run during the 2008 outdoor campaign. In addition, Cathey helped Smith Gilbert with the development of Shantile Blackburn, a runner who specialized in the 800-meter run and the 4x400 relay. She helped Blackburn break the school record in the indoor 800m. McNeill, junior Jamie Rzepecki, and senior Allison Palmer each set PRs in the 5,000-meter run.

Cathey joined UCF from Duke, where she helped guide the Blue Devils to a 10th place finish at the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships and a 12th place finish at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Eight of her student-athletes received All-America honors and two qualified for the 2007 Pan-American Games, while Shannon Rowbury won the NCAA title in the indoor mile in 2007.

In addition to her experience at Duke, Cathey completed an internship at USATF during the summer of 2006 and worked as track and field and cross country coach at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla., guiding the team a state championship in 2005. She was also a graduate assistant at the University of Florida, teaching sports and fitness classes.

A four-year member of the UF cross country and track and field teams, Cathey helped the Gators win the Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championship during her final three seasons. She also traveled to Europe with the USATF Junior National Team in 2001.

Cathey received a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science and a master's degree in applied physiology and kinesiology from UF. She is a USATF Level II certified coach.

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