DAYTONA BEACH Fla. - The University of Tampa men's and women's cross country teams will begin postseason action on Saturday at the 2018 Sunshine State Conference Cross Country Championships.
Rollins College will host the championships. The event will take place on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. Competition will begin with the men's 8,000 meter race at 7:45 a.m. The women's 6,000 meter race will follow at 8:45 a.m. Admission and parking for the event are free.
The Spartan men enter the race following a regular season where they took team titles at three races, including the Valdosta State Border Clash, the Florida Tech Invitational and the Florida Runners Invitational. UT is tabbed No. 8 in the USTFCCCA South region rankings. SSC opponents Embry Riddle (3rd), Saint Leo (5th) and Florida Southern (6th) are also listed in the regional rankings while Lynn (9th) trails the Spartans. Head coach Dror Vaknin is looking to lead the Spartans to the men's second SSC title after previously winning in 2011.
Tampa's women also won three regular-season meets, in the Valdosta State Border Clash, Florida Tech Invitational and the UF Mountain Dew Invitational. The Spartans are second in the South Region according to the USTFCCCA rankings, trailing only Lee University (Tenn.). SSC opponents Embry-Riddle (4th), Florida Southern (5th), Saint Leo (7th) and Lynn (10th) are also ranked. The Spartans have captured 13 SSC titles since 1988, including 12 under head coach Jarrett Slaven, beginning in 2002. UT is searching for its first league title since 2015.
Last season, Florida Southern College claimed its 17th SSC men's championship and first since 2013. The Moccasins went on to finish second of six SSC squads at the regional, fourth overall. Saint Leo University, the highest of all SSC finishers, advanced to nationals where they finished 30th.
Embry-Riddle is looking for its second straight women's championship, as the Eagles claimed the 2017 title in their first season as a league member. The title also marked the first SSC championship for the University. Eagle runners finished No. 2, No. 4, No. 10, No. 14, and No. 14 to score 43 points.
Following the SSC Championships, Florida Southern College will host the NCAA South Regional on Saturday, November 17th at Holloway Park in Lakeland, Fla. The 2018 NCAA Championships will be held Saturday, December 1st at Cooper's Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, Pa.