SAINT LEO, Fla.– The Golden Suns Cross Country team traveled 46 minutes minutes outside of Tampa. To the beaches of Saint Leo, Florida, this past Saturday for the NCAA DII Pre-Nationals meet.
The Suns faced top DII competition, maintaining the trend of facing tougher competition this season than in the past.
After two one-hour flights the Golden Suns landed in the Sunshine State. Getting a taste of Floridan life and racing on the Bermuda grass of the Abbey Golf Course.
“The trip was a blast,”said Cross Country head coach Brock Hime. “The race on Saturday went really well, we were really happy with it. I told myself [after]looking at who was going to be there ‘if we got top three it would go down as a pretty successful day.’”
The Golden Suns would meet Hime’s expectations, locking down a third-place finish with 91-points averaging a 23:14 6k pace.
Sophomore Calli Beshore led the Golden pack finishing 11 overall and finishing at 22:48.
Following Beshore was Freshman Marcie Cudworth, finishing 17 at 23:11, Sophomore Ashlynn Mays in 18, three-seconds behind Cudworth. At 23:14, Junior Karina Maravillas who finished 21 in 23:18 and wrapping up the scoring five was Sophomore Mandy Sykora who finished 23:41.
Finishing out the Suns top seven were Sophomore Morganne Browning and Freshman Payton Evert who finished 27 and 32 respectively in 23:49 and 24:04.
“[Our schedule] has been tough. We have an elite season put together,” Hime said. “Getting to race against nationally known competition… It’s huge for the program.”
The Golden Suns stay local as they travel to Searcy for the Great American Conference Championships. A meet that the Suns have been looking forward to after Tech’s best finish of second place last season on Oct. 23.