CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After a strong performance at the Disney Cross Country Classic, the University of Miami cross country program is back in Central Florida for the UCF Black and Gold Invitational.
The Hurricanes have 19 student-athletes scheduled to run at the UCF Cross Country Course in Orlando, Fla., 10 in the women’s 6K and nine in the men’s 8K. Miami distance coach Damon Griffiths is looking for his runners to continue progressing as they prepare for the 2013 ACC Championships.
“I think both teams are coming around at the right time,” Griffiths said. “We had a lot of good things happen last weekend at the Disney Cross Country Classic, so going into this week we want to continue to work on little things that we feel are going to make a difference for us at the conference meet.”
Miami’s women will be led by seniors Lindsi Arrington and Alaine Tate. The duo shattered their personal-bests a week ago, with Arrington running the second-fastest 6K time in school history (17:36.23) and Tate posting the seventh-best time in Miami history (18:29.72).
While the veterans are expected to lead the Canes, Griffiths is looking for several underclassmen to step up at UCF this weekend.
“We’re looking for a couple of people to do well,” Griffiths said. “We’re going to allow Gabrielle (Hesslau) to run again this weekend. She’s been very antsy and wanting to get back out there with the team. We were without Ally (Finical) last week, as well. We are looking to hopefully have them be strong number four or five runners.”
The men will be paced by seniors JaCee Jarnagin, Sean Pezzulo and Luke Fontaine. The trio has helped Miami’s men earn a pair of Top 3 finishes this season, But Griffiths is hoping to see his other runners show improvement this weekend.
“On the men’s side, we are just looking for a high level of consistency from runners four through six,” Griffiths said. “There’s going to be a dogfight in North Carolina at the conference meet. It’s going to be the difference between moving up one or two places in the team standings. It’s going to be those runners, so they have to step into a role of expectancy of competing at a high level.”
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