LAKELAND, FL – The Florida Southern men's cross-country team, in its first event under new head coach Matt Levassiur, opened the 2018 season with a winning effort, as the Moccasins grabbed the top two spots individually and finished one point ahead of Saint Leo at the Holloway Park Preseason Festival. It was a resounding win for the Moccasins, who were No. 5 in the USTFCCCA South Region preseason rankings, while the Lions were No. 3.
Sophomore Mason Jones was the individual champion, claiming the first win of his college career, by crossing the finish line in 26:17.0 to set a new meet record. It marks the second year in a row that a Moccasin runner has won the Holloway Park Preseason Festival after Bobby Ormsby did so last September when it was a 5K event. Jones also had a top-10 finish in that one by placing sixth.
This time the Moccasins also had the runner-up in sophomore Josh Wagner, who crossed in 27:08.5, and sophomore Mitchell Kozik had a top-10 finish as well. Freshmen Michael Balseca and Thomas Gardner completed the scoring for Florida Southern, which was without two of its top five runners, Dean McGregor and Warran Grajalez, making the win even more impressive.
The Moccasins will be off from competition next weekend before returning to action on Saturday, September 15 at the Embry-Riddle Classic in Daytona Beach.
COMPLETE FSC RESULTS (Places are for Division II runners):
1.) Mason Jones, 26:17.0 (finished 1st overall)
2.) Josh Wagner, 27:08.5 (finished 2nd overall)
4.) Mitchell Kozik, 27:48.5 (finished 6th overall)
9.) Michael Balseca, 28:30.7 (finished 13th overall)
12.) Thomas Gardner, 30:15.5 (finished 23rd overall)
13.) Brian Martin, 30:32.8 (finished 26th overall)
14.) Brandon Williams, 30:38.7 (finished 27th overall)
17.) Michael Papa, 34:22.8 (finished 53rd overall)