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Cross Country Sweeps Opening Races of Season

Cross Country Sweeps Opening Races of Season

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes cross country team opened its season in impressive fashion at the FAU Invitational on Wednesday night, sweeping the men’s and women’s races.

Despite a handful of lightning delays that nearly cancelled both events, cross country coach Cody Halsey was encouraged with the performances of her two young squads.

“It was really cool to see every single one of them completely composed as we were starting to warm up,” Halsey said. “Warmups were cut down about 75 percent due to weather, but no one panicked. No one imploded. They were all excited, all wanted to get out there and give 100 percent of what they had.”

Halsey’s women captured the top three individual finishes on the night, while the men’s team enjoyed several impressive performances of its own at South County Regional Park en route to victory.

“Winning on both the men’s and women’s side is pretty exciting for such a young group, and to be led by two true freshmen is pretty impressive,” Halsey said. “It’s great momentum for a kickstart into our season.  I’m really looking forward to seeing them all progress

“Our women ran in a huge pack, you could see them competing and doing it together, which is what cross country is all about. Our men’s team is really young. I think they are only going to continue to get better. I was really impressed with how the young athletes – especially our freshmen – raced today. Overall, I was excited that everybody responded really well to the situation. I felt like I was coaching a bunch of vets.”

In addition to host FAU, the race included teams from Bethune- Cookman, Florida A&M, FGCU, FIU, Stetson, UCF and others. Halsey said, despite being two months out, the focus of her teams will always be towards the ACC Cross Country Championships in late October.

“The first race is really just a benchmark for where you’re at and what we need to do over the next two months,” Halsey said. “We did just that. The goal was to leave it all out there, don’t be afraid to take chances, and I think everyone did that.”

On the men’s side, Halsey was encouraged by the performance of Austen Cannon (15:42), who finished in second place overall. Colin Wilson also delivered a strong first performance for the Hurricanes, taking fourth (15:47).

“Austen ran amazing,” Halsey said. “He has been fully training for only six days, so I was really, really excited about where he’s starting. Colin also had a really great race today. He’s starting to come into his own.”

Miami took the top three spots in the women’s event: Elle Mezzio (18:18.72) was first, Daphnee Lavassas (18:21.70) finished second while Natalie Varela (18:35.42) took third.

“Elle is incredibly talented. I’m really looking forward to her trajectory this year,” Halsey said. “Our girls are really confident running together, which is exciting. The team is so young…they’re only going to continue to get better together.”