SPARTAN GLORY: Cross Country Runs to Regional Title


Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams reached new highs last week at the regional championships in Huntsville, Ala.

The women’s team finished first to capture the regional title, while the men placed second to qualify for their first national competition. The women last won the regional competition in 2004.

“It’s a great accomplishment because we’ve been practicing very hard,” said Paige Williams. “It was one of our goals, and we did it. I’m very proud of my teammates.”

Laura Woznicki once again paced the Spartans, coming in second place overall. Jessica Forrester finished fifth and Williams ended up seventh to put three Tampa runners in the top 10. Julia Vola was the 12th runner to cross the finish line and Alysha Duffy was 14th.

“Laura is a beast,” said Williams.

Dara Fox finished 27th and Michelle Gabrielle rounded out the top seven for Tampa with a 37th place finish out of 155 runners.

“We went into the season not thinking this was a goal,” said Fox. “Once we realized it was achievable, we used it as motivation.”

Harding University placed second overall with a score of 55. Conference rival Florida Southern put up 148 points to finish fourth.

Woznicki, Forrester, Williams, Vola and Duffy were all named to the All-Region team, which consisted of only 15 members total. Coach Jarrett Slaven earned the South Region Coach of the Year award.

“It’s incredible,” said Fox. “Last year we had two [Woznicki and Williams] on the All-Region team, and now we have five.”

On the men’s team, David Forry cracked the top 15 with a time of 32:59.9. Jeremy Lautzenheiser finished 23rd and Chris Catanach crossed the finish line 35th.

As a team, the men finished second and qualified for their first national championship meet.

“That’s so cool,” said Williams about the men’s success. “It’s their first in school history. All of them looked so strong.”

Florida Southern posted 61 points to win the men’s meet and Tampa tied the host University of Alabama, Huntsville with 103.

“They went in ranked fourth and finished second,” said Fox. “Actually, coach thought they finished third when he added up the scores, but then the scores came in and they found out they were tied for second. It was just amazing.”

Both teams will compete in the national championship meet on Nov. 17 in Joplin, Mo.

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