The Daytona State Falcons Women's Cross Country team, now in their second season, head to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to compete in the Embry Riddle Invitational. The men's 8k race goes off at 7:20am and the women's 5k race starts at 7:50am. Many area teams will be competing, including several teams from Region 8. " We will get another chance to see how we are measuring up against our Region 8 foes, and also teams from all levels, NCAA Divison 1,2,3 and NAIA teams. These races are large in number of runners in the field and do present certain challenges at the start line. You wouldn't think that cross country is a contact sport until you see the start line at the Embry Riddle Invitational!' Wilson said. On the women's side, the Falcons will look to top runners Trina Spinelli, in her first year of cross country ever, and Kristine Gray, a sophomore who lead the team all of the 2018 season to place as high as possible in the field. Other crucial runners for the team are newcomer Hannah Offenback and returning runner Kylie Dedeo. DeLand High School standout Sara Mott has been improving every week and Wilson is excited to see her develop throughout the season. "We are focusing on just getting a little better every time we go out there. Each race is a learning experience, and we are in that phase with this group." Wilson commented.
On the men's side, the team will be without two top runners, Andrew Guillory and Jesse Barral, both in their sophomore year. "Andrew and Jesse both have minor issues that we want to get healed up before we go into October. September is a time to be smart, and October and November is really when you can chance it a little more with people. We want these two to be healthy when it matters." Wilson said. The team will look to Andy Martinez, freshman from Viera High School in Melbourne, Tyler Gilbert from Mainland High School and no stranger to the Embry Riddle course, AJ Williams of DeLand High School, Adam Mastrobuono from Hagerty High School and the team's lead runner last weekend to pull in good performances. Tyler Baker and David Phillips round out the team and they will be looking for consistency over the 8k course. "This is a young team, and moving up to 8k from the 5k high school distance is always a challenge. But the process is the same for everyone. You go out and work hard in practice, and then you have to show up mentally on race day." Wilson commented.