Conference USA Championship Awaits UCF Cross Country

Oct. 26, 2012

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By Erica Winston

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF cross country team has its mind set on one mantra: So far the Knights have all been running for themselves, but now it is time that they all come together and run as a team, for the team.

Monday morning after a challenging practice, coach Paul Brown handed out a single LEGO to each runner. The LEGO, for Brown, was more than just a child's toy; it was meant to represent something greater. It was to be their representation of unity.

"The LEGO is symbolic of two things," Brown said. "First, that we make sure we connect to the moment which is conference and second, I gave them the LEGO to be a symbol of togetherness and connection with each other."

On Oct. 29, eight Knights will be headed to Hattiesburg, Miss., for the Conference USA Championship hosted by Southern Miss at the Pine Belt National Golf Course.

This will be senior Jessica Pachay's last conference meet with the Knights, and she hopes to finish off the season with a win. She will be joined by sophomores Shelby Blaes, Amelia Williams, and Teresa Huff, who are all hungry for a win this season after last year's finish of 10th place.

"It is important for us to have a quality effort, and if we're able to execute, we should be able to achieve our goal of finishing in the top five," Brown said.

With standout freshman Anne-Marie Blaney, the team's goal is well within reach. The team has not finished top five in six years and has only won conference twice (1995 and 1999), but with Blaney leading the way the along with teammate Caroline Pauls, who has exceeded the expectations this season, the Knights could return to the top.

Brown will also be connecting the LEGO pieces of freshmen Rachel Petrik and Heather Classe to the mix.

"I've been encouraged by how we've been working and the level of commitment form everyone," Brown said.

Just like a LEGO, the team is ready to join together and finish the season off with a well-deserved performance.