UCF20231028Women_1645 (1)UCF20231028Women_1645 (1)

Knights Impress in Final Race of the Season at NCAA Regionals

by Alex Clough

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The UCF cross country wrapped up its inaugural Big 12 campaign with a strong performance at the NCAA South Regional Championship Friday morning. Multiple Knights stood out amidst a strong field at the Mark Bostick Golf Course. While the course was deemed short, coming in at 5.8k instead of the expected 6k, Isabella Richardson led the way with an 80th-place finish.

"I can't say enough about Charlotte and Ali," said coach Bryan Harmon. "It was probably both their best XC races of their college careers so it's always nice to see the seniors who have invested so much into the program and both of them specifically who have battled a lot of injuries in their careers get through the season healthy and perform at a high level."

Among five ranked programs in the south region, including No. 6 Florida, the field was a true indication of how far the Knights have come.

At the mile mark, Rodriguez and Richardson each featured among the top 50, as Rodriguez slotted in at 40 with a time of 5:23.9. Penelope Sosa wasn’t far behind in 58th.

By just over the half-way mark of 3020M, the trio each stayed in the midst of one of the leading packs, as the Texas native stayed on pace with a time of 10:21.2 in 47th, while Richardson was strides behind in 53rd with a time of 10:27.2. Sosa remained in the top-70, clocking in after the third split at 10:32.2.

At the finish line, Richardson led the way for the Black and Gold, securing an 80th-place finish and a time of 20:38.9. The sophomore has had an outstanding second season in Orlando, as she'll now set her sights on breaking plenty of more records during track season.

Charlotte Crook picked up the pace in the final half of the race as she crossed the finish line in 88th with a time of 20:47.0. The performance matches her exact finish in her first NCAA South Regional back in 2020 as the England native completed her final cross-country race for the Knights.

Junior Ali Del Re has had a breakout season, and she continued her great form with a 91st-place finish to round out the Knights trio in the top 100. Her time of 20:48.9 marked the best performance of the season for the Florida native.

Sosa and Rodriguez crossed the line back-to-back in 121st and 122nd. Sosa ran a strong time of 21:08.5, while Rodriguez clocked in at 21:09.5.

As Lillian Holtery ran a 21:40.3 and secured a 153rd-place finish, freshman Abby Clements wasn’t far behind as she capped off the Knights’ efforts with a 162nd-place finish and a time of 21:51.4.