Running with confidence

Mark Gibson

FAU cross country senior runner Friederike Feil set a school record on June 30 when she ran a time of 9:52.77 in the 3,000 meter. This was Feil’s fourth school record in cross country and track, and is one of the reasons the cross country team is confident it is a contender for the conference title in 2010.

Last season saw the team place fourth in women’s, and seventh in men’s in the Sun Belt Championship meet. With seniors Feil and Taylor Reeves returning to lead their respective teams this year, the Owls could have a standout season.

“We should be the strongest team we’ve ever had,” said Feil, “We are really looking forward to returning to the conference meet.”

Western Kentucky University will be the runners to look out for this season. It was the women’s team which claimed the 2009 Sun Belt Conference title. But FAU’s Head Coach Alex Smolka is confident that his group of women will prove to be competition for WKU.

Strong runners, like freshman Lisa-Maria Leutner who comes from Vienna, Austria, have been training over the summer with Feil.

“We have a very strong group of women runners,” said Smolka. “Last year was a little disappointing that we didn’t do better than we did. This year, however, should prove to be a different story.”

On the men’s side, Reeves will lead a group of young runners that consists of freshmen like Ryan Davis, who was named the 2009 runner of the year by both the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.

“This season we have a good core group of new guys like Ryan Toledo, Ryan Davis, and Michael Neel,” said Reeves.

Aside from the Sun Belt Conference meet, the Owls are looking forward to the Wide World of Disney Classic at Lake Buena Vista on October 9. Last season the team did well, with the men placing third and the women in fourth.

“The Disney classic is always fun,” said Reeves. “It’s a good fun race leading up to the conference championship which is where the real test is.”

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