UCF Travels to Gainesville to Run at Mountain Dew Invitational

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By Pat Salvas

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - A week after winning the Black & Gold Challenge, the UCF cross country team will run in its second meet of 2010 when it heads to the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville on Saturday morning. The Knights posted eight of the top 10 finishes, including a first-place showing by Ocean Cohen, in the season's opening meet at the UCF Cross Country Course.

The race marked the first win in Cohen's collegiate career as she crossed the line in 20:04. Sierra Soluan was the first of seven consecutive UCF harriers to cross the line, finishing fourth overall in 21:07 in her college debut. Carley Dart finished just back of Soluan, posting a time of 21:09, good for fifth.

Mason Gardberg finished sixth overall in 21:33. That time was 24 seconds faster than her previous 5K personal record. Alyssa Franks was the fifth UCF runner to finish, scoring seven points for her team with a time of 21:44.

Freshmen Danielle Scaffidi (21:56, 8th) and Ne'Ausha Logan (22:22, 9th) both finished in the scoring for the Knights in their first collegiate race. They will now face larger field of competition this weekend than they saw in the Black & Gold Challenge, which featured Rollins in a dual-meet format.

The meet, hosted by the University of Florida, has traditionally featured teams from UCF, Miami, Tampa, USF and Jacksonville. Last season, the Knights ran to a fifth-place finish in a field of 23 teams.

"This is a meet that the program has traditionally done well at," said cross country coach Paul Brown. "It is a flat course and I am excited about the possibility of posting some fast times.

"I want to really push the team from now on. I expect good effort every week from everyone and that should translate into some good times and personal bests," Brown added.

UCF will compete in the first race of the day on the 5K course. The women's intercollegiate race is set for an 8 a.m. start with the men's 8K to follow at 8:30 a.m.