Knights Post Solid Home Showing

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Lining up along the water, the UCF cross country team jumped out to a strong start and raced to a second place finish at the UCF Knights Invitational. For the second straight meet, the Black and Gold showed improvement, using the support of its home crowd to post personal bests on Saturday morning.

“We competed really well,“ UCF assistant coach Bryan Jackson said. “We took a huge step forward from two weeks ago. (UCF President) Dr. Whittaker was out here. It was a great day to run in front of the athletic department and Knight Nation.”

The Knights finished ahead of Florida Atlantic and Miami after coming in behind the two programs in their season-opening 5K race at FAU on Aug. 31. UCF's 37 team points were just three away from the top squad, FIU.

Running as a pack in the front, UCF placed three runners in the top 10 and five in the top 15. All of UCF’s competitors finished in the top 35.

For the second consecutive meet, Victoria Jung was the first Knight to cross the finish line. She improved her collegiate 5K time once again, finishing in 18:43.7. Jung was the second collegiate finisher and took third overall.

“I was really happy with how I performed,” Jung said. “I stayed with the girls in the front – that was my ultimate goal through the whole race. Everyone loved the course and we were all really happy with how we did.”

Charlotte Crook, one day after celebrating her birthday, made her collegiate debut with a time of 18:54.6. The freshman finished sixth overall, and fifth among collegiate competitors.

“I’m really happy with my first cross country race,” Crook said. “I think we really utilized what Coach was saying to us. Having the track team on the field, supporting us, really helped. We did really well as a team. It was a nice birthday treat.”

Jessica Dolan joined the pair in the top 10, finishing ninth overall with a time of 19:19.6.

Kaitlyn Soltis improved her 5K mark, finishing 11th overall with a time of 19:27.8. Shayla Sanders dropped her collegiate 5K personal best to 19:36.1 for a 13th overall finish. Posting a new collegiate best, Kayla McGowan crossed the line in 21:18.7 for 29th overall. Shiree Hinds improved her season-best 5K time to 21:36.9 for 32nd overall.

The Knights return to action on Sept. 22, at the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville.

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