By Morgan Swem

Florida Southern College hosted the 2016 Moccasin Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Holloway Park in Lakeland. This is the second year in a row that Florida Southern has hosted the event.

The Moccasin Invitational was originally held around Lake Hollingsworth from 1981-1983 but in 1997 the race was moved to the San Lan Ranch and was held there for four years. In 2001, the race was then moved to Geroge Jenkins High School. The race took a year off and Florida Southern returned to hosting the event in 2003 at the Circle B Bar Ranch. After taking another few years off again, Florida Southern did not host again until 2010. Florida Southern showed their excitement of hosting the race again this year by dominating in the event.

Both the men’s and women’s team cleaned up in this past weekends race. The men’s cross country team finished with the top five spots, with FSCs own Festus Kemboi winning the race. It was his first home race win of his career. From the beginning of the race to the very end, Kemboi led the way in the men’s 8k. He finished with a time of 26:35.20, which was almost two minutes ahead of FSC’s own Bobby Ormsby and Evan Quinines. Both finished with a time of 28:09.50. Ormsby was awarded second place after looking at the finish line photo.

Quinones came in third, Dean McGregor finished in fourth place with a time of 28:09.70 and Cody Van Natter finished in fifth place for the Mocs with a time of 28:15.30.

On top of having the top five runners be from FSC, Warren Grajalez finished in ninth place with a time of 29:03.90, giving FSC six of the top-10  finishers.  Altogether, the men’s team finished with a total 15 points. Florida Southern’s rival, Southeastern, finished in second place with 49 points and Warner finished in third place with a score of 71 points.

The lady Mocs had an equally fantastic weekend, as they took home six of the top-10 finishers as well. Florida Southern freshman, Allison Wright took home third place for the lady Mocs with a time of 20:32.70. Hannah Nelson came in fifth place with a time of 20:47.20.  Jolene Vergauwen, Molly Price, Amanda Slattery and Anna Brooke Opalinski came in sixth, seventh, eighth and 10th place for the lady Mocs. The lady Mocs scored a grand total of 29 points to finish in second place.

They were just one point behind from Southeastern who came in first place by winning three of the top four spots in the race. Southeastern finished with a total of 28 points. South Florida State College finished in third place, well behind Florida Southern, with a total of 83 points. Lynn came in fourth place with a total of 103 points, and Warner finished in fifth place with a total of 142 points.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country team will compete again on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the University of Florida Mountain Dew Invitational.

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