Tampa, Fla. (Cross Country) – The Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) men's and women's cross country teams competed at the University of South Florida (USF) Cross Country Invite on Friday morning. The men posted an eighth-place team finish while the women finished 11th as a team.
Conditions at the Claw Golf Course proved to have an impact on the runners at a very humid 87 degrees with some soft and muddy parts. The team's course times averaged about 1-2 minutes slower than last week's times at Florida State University, but the team persevered and performed very well.
The men raced first. Sophomore Colton Berquist was tactically astute and led the Lakehawk pack throughout the race. At 26:08.9, his second-best time, Berquist placed third out of 144 athletes and second within the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) runners behind Daytona State's Christian Ruocco who was the individual champion.
Head coach Cristy Snellgroves on Berquist, Krug and Rojas, "These three athletes all were all only 30-40 seconds off last week's performance at FSU. I believe their steady performance, despite difficult conditions, comes down to true heart and commitment."
The conditions of the course did prove to take a toll on several Lakehawk runners, two unable to complete the race due to injury. Caleb Melendez and Santos Aguilar both stopped to assist fellow athletes that had fallen during the race, sacrificing their own goals to offer help.
The women ran after the men. Lily Novac once again led the team coming in 19th of NJCAA runners with a time of 23:50.1 She was followed by Meridith Richemond (25:38.7), Katelyn Lopez (25:54.3), and Anna Delena (26:44.1) who placed 25-28th of NJCAA runners.
Next up for the Lakehawks
The LSSC Cross Country teams look forward to a two week block to prepare for the NJCAA Region 8 Meet in Tallahassee on Friday, Oct. 28.