The news came about 10 minutes after the last runner had crossed the finish line.
Track and field coach Caryl Smith Gilbert’s fists shot toward the sunset sky. Volunteer coach Karen Kozub’s smile stretched from ear to ear as she immediately pulled out her cell phone to deliver the news to Coach Paul Brown, who was riding in the pace cart for the men’s 8K race.
The UCF cross country team won its first event of the season at the “UKNIGHT in Pink” Black and Gold Challenge on Friday evening. The Knights bested 15 teams with 88 total points in its first 6K event of the year to take the crown.
“I couldn’t believe it but concurrently, I was thinking, what a great way to go into conference,” Brown said. “I think this was a huge confidence booster for our team. They worked really hard. I was excited to say the least.”
Jacksonville also scored 88 points, but UCF won the tie breaker as it came down to the sixth man. The Dolphins did not have a sixth runner in the race, so the Knights’ depth sealed the victory.
Freshman Jamie Perzanowski continued her stellar freshman campaign with her best finish of the season at third place. Her time of 22:30.12 paced the Knights yet again.
Freshman Teresa Huff just missed the top 10, placing 11th for her best finish of the season with a time of 23:32.62. Sophomore Jessica Pachay clocked a time of 23:32.62 for her best placing of the season at 16th.
Freshman Cody Castillo recorded a time of 24:03.84 for 24th place while Danielle Scaffidi crossed the line at 24:31.01. Amelia Williams rounded out the Knights’ top six with a time of 24:49.35.
“It was a great event. I was ecstatic with all the people we had here,” Brown said. “Our other track and field teammates wore black and pink and were here to support us. I think all that played a role in how we performed.”
The Knights will face their biggest test of the season on Oct. 31 when they travel to Houston for the Conference USA Championships.