UCF Cross Country to Host Knight Attack Invitational Friday

Sept. 23, 2010

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By Pat Salvas

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - For the second time in the season's first three weeks, the UCF Cross Country Course will host a home meet Friday. The annual Knight Attack Invitational on Friday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. comes just two weeks after UCF hosted the Black & Gold Challenge to open the 2010 schedule.

The 2010 Knight Attack will feature UCF running against Flagler, Rollins, Warner Southern and Webber on the women's 5K course. Following the conclusion of the women's race, the four visiting schools' men's teams will compete on the 8K course.

Rollins has already run on the UCF Cross Country Course once this season, competing in the Black & Gold Challenge on Sept. 10. The Tars finished second with 38 points and an average time of finish of 24:10.20, more than three minutes behind UCF.

"I'm looking forward to defending our turf," said cross country coach Paul Brown. "We need to have a blue collar work ethic and go out with positive attitudes. If we can do that, we will continue to see the results that we expect to see."

The Knights' lone meet away from Orlando this season came last weekend at the Mountain Dew Invitational hosted by Florida. UCF ran to a 13th-place finish with 329 team points. The field of 22 teams in Gainesville featured many of the state's premier cross country programs, including the hosts from Florida as well as Jacksonville and USF.

Every UCF runner at the Florida meet improved their time from the first week. Four Knights set personal-best times in the 5K race, with Erica Winston improving her best finish in the event by more than three minutes.

Senior Ocean Cohen continues to be the team's best runner through two races. After placing first overall in the Black & Gold Challenge, Cohen was the Knights' top runner at the Mountain Dew Invitational, placing 35th overall in 19:01.46.

Freshman Sierra Solaun was one of the four Knights to set a new personal best on Saturday morning. The first-year runner posted a time of 19:48.63 to finish 60th overall. The previous week, Solaun crossed the line in the Black & Gold Challenge in 21:09, marking an improvement of 1:21 in her second collegiate race.

Senior Carley Dart was the third UCF runner to cross the finish line at Florida. Her time of 19:49.57 was good for 63rd overall in a field of nearly 210 runners.

The Knights' average time of finish (19:57.83) was more than 15 seconds faster than the 14th-place team from Florida Tech. Although 13th overall, UCF improved its average time of finish from the previous week (21:07.40) by more than a minute, a trend the team will look to continue as the season progresses.

After running with just eight athletes last week, the Knights will field an entire team on Friday evening.

In last season's Knight Attack, UCF finished first of four teams with an impressive 17 team points. Seniors Jamie Rzepecki and Erica Weitz finished first and second, respectively, while Cohen was third overall. Alyssa Franks will look to improve on her fifth-place finish from a year ago as will Dart who crossed the line in 10th place.