Sophomores Mason Jones and Josh Wagner both finished inside the top-25 to help the men’s team qualify for the national meet.
Jones finished fifth overall while Wagner finished 15th at the at the NCAA South Region Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Holloway Park in Lakeland, Fla.
“It was amazing seeing Mason finish top 5,” teammate Josh Paez said. “He (Jones) has two more years, so eventually seeing him win regionals is not that far fetched.”
Finishing just outside of the top-25 were Warren Grajalez and Dean McGregor who finished 26th and 27th respectively.
For Wagner, his top-25 finish was a major improvement from last years regional race. In last years regional, he finished 48th overall.
“Since I’m sort of a new runner (started running his senior year of high school), I don’t have a lot of racing experience at a high level so I just go into it thinking I can compete with the best of the best,” Wagner said. “All the hard work from the beginning of the summer paid off.”
Wagner believes a top-100 individual finish is possible for him at nationals in Pittsburgh, while a top-20 finish as a team is also a realistic goal.
“This season our main goal was to stay as healthy as possible and still compete at a high level,” Wagner said. “Since we have a small team there was no room for mistakes.
For Jones, the expectations in Pittsburgh are very similar, showing a unified game plan as a team.
“I know that we are all fit an capable of earning that 20th spot in the nation,” Jones said. “As an individual my goal is to place top-40 and become the first Florida Southern Cross Country All-American.”
Jones credits his success this season to his ability to persevere through a long and painful season.
“I think that the determination to keep pushing myself is one mindset that doesn’t change,” Jones said.
Nationals will take place Dec. 1 in Pittsburgh PA, updates can be found on fscmocs.com
Addison Cantor and Hannah Flemming finished 10th and 11th to lead Florida Southern to a fourth place finish.
The fourth place finish was the highest the team has placed since the 2007 season.
Cantor finished in 10th place with a time of 22:18.72, 1 minute behind winner Sarah Edins from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Cantor’s 22:18.72 was the seventh best time for a Moccasin competing in a NCAA Regional Meet. Her time is also the fastest time for a Moc since Carolyne Kwambai’s 22:21 in 2009.
Hannah Flemming finished in 11th place with a time of 22:26.78. Flemming’s time is now the 10th fastest Florida Southern time in a NCAA Regional Competition.
Sarah Zamot finished in 36th place with a time of 23:29.48 while Hannah Nelson and Ysabella Guerra rounded out the top five for the Mocs in 38th and 39th place. They finished with a time of 23:32.35 and 23:33.20.
After the race, Cantor and Flemming were named to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division II Cross Country All-Region Team. The All-Region team is comprised of the top-25 runners from each of the eight regions.
This is the first time Cantor and Flemming have received All-Region honors and the first time for Florida Southern since 2009 where Kwambai received the honor.