LAKELAND – Florida Southern College will host the 2015 Sunshine State Conference Cross Country Championships this Saturday, Oct. 24, at Lakeland's Holloway Park and Nature Preserve. The men's 8K race gets underway at 7:45 a.m. with the women's 6K race at 8:30 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow. Admission to the meet is free, however Holloway Park does charge $5 for parking.
Five other Sunshine State Conference schools will join the Moccasins on Saturday – Florida Tech, Nova Southeastern, Rollins, Saint Leo, and Tampa. In the final regular season USTFCCCA regional poll, Saint Leo was ranked #2 followed by Nova Southeastern (#3), Florida Southern (#6), Florida Tech (#7), and Tampa (#8).
This is the first time since 2009 that Florida Southern has hosted the SSC Meet. That season, the race was run at San Lan Ranch, just south of Holloway Park.
Florida Southern will be led by the 1-2 punch of freshman Dean McGregor and senior Jose Perez. McGregor was the Mocs' top finisher at the UF Mountain Dew Invitational, placing 8th, and at the FSU Invitational, placing 11th, and was the second FSC finisher at the Moccasin Invitational. Perez, who won the Moccasin Invitational held at the same Holloway Park course, placed second to McGregor at the UF and FSU meets, coming in 10th and 13th, respectively. Kyle Butler was the Mocs' number three finisher in two races and fourth in another while Anthony Pollizzi was third in one meet and fourth at the other two. Rounding out the Moccasin top seven will be Jon Bryant, Cody Van Natter and Everett Wagner.
The Moccasins have captured 16 men's team championships, the last in 2013, and ran off a string of 14 consecutive championships from 1997-2010. Florida Tech has the second most team titles with five. In addition, FSC has had 13 runners take home the individual title, including current head coach Ben Martucci who captured back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. In addition to Martucci, FSC Hall of Fame member, Gary Crossan (1998 and 1999), and Tyrone Bell (2004 and 2005), have won two SSC championships. Tampa ranks second with eight individual titles.
Saint Leo ran off with all the medals last season, taking both the men's and women's team titles while Niklas Bez and Colett Rampf took home the men's and women's individual championships. It was the first time since the Moccasins in 2006 that a school swept all four championships. Florida Southern placed second to Saint Leo in the men's race last year.
Florida Southern is the only program to have posted a perfect score of 15 points in each of the men's and women's races the same year. The 1998 squads accomplished the feat with Crossan and Michelle Solan winning the individual titles that season.