Jennell Retamar, Staff Writer
The Women’s Cross Country team is ranked No. 9 in the region for the start of this season. They finished last season in fourth place at last year’s Sunshine State Conference Championships and finished in 10th at the NCAA Davison II South Regionals. The Moccasins are eight-time defending South Regional champions against Tampa ranked No. 1 while Saint Leo and Nova Southeastern are ranked No. 2 and No. 10 respectively.
“We were excited and motivated to have a good season,” freshman Kassidy Watkins stated.
The Tampa invitational on Sept. 4 at the Sydney Dover Horse Trails in Brandon was the first opportunity for the Mocs to prove their rank. The race had gone underway but around the two-mile mark, heavy rain hit, forcing the 5k race to finish early.
“It was exciting, especially because it was my first collegiate meet. I had a feeling the race was going to get cancelled before we ran. The weather wasn’t looking very good; I do wish we could’ve finished the race. I’m excited for our next meet,” Watkins said.
Junior Ashley Montano paced the Moccasins with a time of 12:12.8 over the 1.8-mile course to finish in 45th place out of the 109 runners. Freshman Haley Blem was close behind, placing 47th at 12:13.9 in her inaugural event while fellow freshman Kassidy Watkins came in with a time of 12:26.6 to finish in 60th place.
Graduate student Marissa Senzamici (12:44.0), Senior Ashley Dudman (12:45.0), and junior Emilie Flament (12:45.8) finished in 72nd, 73rd, and 74th places, respectively. Other FSC runners included freshmen Summer Hepp (88th, 13:07.6) and Ryann Cale (92nd, 13:10.7), and junior Alexa Strejeck (100th, 13:57.1).
The Moccasins had a score of 220 and placed eighth out of the nine teams. Although the team placed in the bottom half, a third of the competition represented Division I schools.
Both the women’s and men’s cross country teams will run next at the University of Florida Mountain Dew Invitational, Saturday, September 19 at the UF Golf Course in Gainesville.