Knights Debut In Regional Rankings

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings

ORLANDO – A dominant start to the season has led to regional recognition for the UCF cross country team. The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) moved the Knights into the regional rankings on Monday.

The Knights, who have earned a pair of runner-up team finishes in the opening two weeks of the season, landed at No. 13 in the South region.
"Sometimes in the sport, it's hard to quantify your teams growth from year to year," UCF assistant coach Bryan Jackson said. "I'm excited for the women to get some recognition for their hard work. As a team, we are very growth-driven. I'm excited for the next few weeks and how much more growth we can accomplish."

UCF opened the season with a second-place finish at the FAU Invitational on Sept. 1. UCF had five members of its squad finish in the top 15 and all 12 competitors finished in the top 50 at the South County Park. Just over 30 seconds separated UCF's top five finishers and the quintet posted an average time of 18:57.68.

Valerie Lastra made her season debuts at the Mountain Dew Invitational with a school-record 4K performance. The Miami native led the Knights with a top five finish. Kambry Smith was the second member of the Black and Gold to cross the finish line, taking 11th. Charlotte Crook and Alexandra Del Re made their season debuts with top 20 finishes in Gainesville.

The Knights moved into the regional rankings for the first time since Sept. 19, 2016. The Black and Gold debuted as the No. 13 squad on Sept. 12, 2016 and moved to No. 14 in the Sept. 19 poll. The No. 13 ranking marks UCF's highest since the Knights were No. 12 in the Nov. 3, 2014 poll.

UCF is one of four teams from the American Athletic Conference in the latest regional rankings. SMU and Tulsa are tied for fifth in the South Central region, while Houston ranks eighth in the South Central region.

The Knights have a bye from competition and return to action on Oct. 1 to host the UCF Invite at the UCF Softball Complex.
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