Knights Look To Make Big Strides In 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Heading into its second year under coach Bryan Jackson, the UCF cross country team looks to make big strides in 2019.
The Knights return all their top competitors – Victoria Jung, Charlotte Crook and Jessica Dolan – from last season, plus welcome the addition of Bethany Williams, who missed all of 2018 after a stellar freshman season in 2017.
Jackson also noted that newcomers Haley Riorden and Jamie Tomassetti could add to the depth of the cross country roster. Redshirt freshman Katie Pinnell, who made noise for the Knights during the track campaign, and sophomore Kaitlyn Soltis, who completed her first cross country season with the Knights in 2018, bring added experience into the 2019 campaign.
Last season, the Knights preached a pack mentality as they progressed through the season. This year, Coach Jackson looks to continue that trend, with a slight adjustment.
"I always want to have really small gaps between everybody, because the more spread out you are, the more people are scoring ahead of you and dividing your score up," Jackson said. "For us to make that next step, I'm going to be asking our top girls to be running with more of a front-running mentality. Then its everybody else's job to pack up behind them."
Entering year two under Coach Jackson, the squad is ahead of where they were a season ago.
"The biggest thing is that they're used to my expectations," Jackson said. "It's that and the progress (the returners) have made from the beginning of cross country season through track season."
Jung, who was UCF's top finisher in five meets, saw her times drop nearly every time out
The Knights have five in-state meets, including a second-straight year with a home meet at the UCF Softball Complex.
UCF opens the season on Friday at the sixth annual FAU Cross Country Invitational. The women's race will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, Fla.