UCF Cross Country Finishes 18th at NCAA South Region Championships


Nov. 15, 2008

Final Stats

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On a cold, rainy morning in Knoxville, Tenn., the UCF cross country team put together a strong performance to finish 18th at the NCAA South Region Championships. The 6K meet concludes a successful 2008 season for the Knights.

"I was proud of them," said cross country coach Tyangela Sanders. "They ran really well on a hard course. There were hills, it was cold and the rain was coming down. Overall they ran really well and I am proud of them. I am very excited about next season as well. Everyone ran very well. Coach Kozub and I are very proud. Even though we did finish quite as high as we wanted, it was still a good day and performance."

Florida State took four of the top nine spots to win the team title by 23 points over Florida. Auburn's Hollie Knight ran the course in 20:29.67 to earn the top honors for individuals. UCF finished in 18th out of 23 teams with 438 points.

For the second-straight meet and fifth time in 2008, UCF was led by senior Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who finished the course in 60th place with a time of 23:00.65. She was followed in 84th place by junior Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J.) and in 85th by fellow senior Allison Palmer (Oviedo, Fla.). It was the last cross country meet of both Blackburn and Palmer's careers.

Ocean Cohen (Sarasota, Fla.) and Shannon Kelly (Tampa, Fla.) rounded out the top five for the Knights, finishing in 94th and 125th respectively.

"All in all, it was a good day for our cross country team in Knoxville, Tenn.," said head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "They were able to overcome adverse conditions runs personal bests, which is what we are looking for with this program."

The team had an impressive season, finishing in the top five in five of its meets. The Knights have two wins on the year, claiming the titles at both the Black & Gold Invitational and the FLRunners.com Invitational.

On the season, seven of the Knights have set new personal bests. Blackburn and Palmer won the FLRunners.com Invitational and the Black & Gold Invitational respectively.

"It has been a challenging but good season," said Smith Gilbert. "Despite injuries to Jamie Rzepecki, Kelly McNeil and Jaclyn Johnson, the team was still able to do well at regionals. I thought the mental aspects of their performance were better at regionals than at conference. As a cross country team, we are still looking to continue to improve by working hard and also bringing other talented runners into the program. This season was a good prelude for our distance runners to indoor and outdoor track and field."

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