BOCA RATON, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's and women's cross country teams will compete at the 2017 Sunshine State Conference Championships. The event will take place on Saturday, October 21st at South County Regional Park in Boca Raton, Florida.
The annual championship will be hosted by Nova Southeastern University. The men's 8K is scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m., followed by the women's 5K at 8:45 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow the races.
Tampa's men competed in five regular-season races, enjoying a first-place finish at the Florida State Invitational. Head coach Dror Vaknin's squad was also second at the Valdosta State Invitational and third at the UF Mountain Dew Invitational. Senior Nick Morfesi has been UT's top finisher in two races as Michael Wilson, Brent Turner and James Dooley have each led the Spartans on one occasion. Tampa is looking for its second SSc Championship, with the first title coming in 2011.
The Spartan women have also raced in five events, winning the Valdosta State Invitational, UF Mountain Dew Invitational and the Florida State Invitational. Head coach Jarrett Slaven has relied on a strong freshman class, led by Zoe Jarvis. She has been UT's top runner in all five races, twice finishing in the top five as she was in the top-10 on three occasions. The Spartans have won a total of 13 SSC Championships, with the last championship coming in 2015.
In the 2016 race, Saint Leo University claimed its third consecutive SSC men's championship. The Lions went on to finish second at the regional, highest of all SSC finishers. SLU, along with the Moccasins of Florida Southern College, represented the conference at the national championship meet. Just like the men, Saint Leo women won the SSC championship and took second in the regional meet. The Lions represented the conference at the national championship meet.
Following the SSC Championships, Florida Southern College will host the NCAA Regional competition on Saturday, November 4 at Holloway Park in Lakeland, Fla. The NCAA Championships will be held Saturday, November 18 at Angel Mounds in Evansville, Ind. Southern Indiana University and the Evansville Sports Commission are co-hosts for the championship.