The race for the Sunshine State Conference cross-country title runs through St. Petersburg, where Eckerd College will be host for the event today. The men's race, a 10K run, begins at 8:30 a.m. with the women's race, a 5K run (3.1 miles), scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. start. The course is on the Eckerd campus with the start/finish area located in front of the McArthur Physical Education Center.
The men's 10K includes two laps around the perimeter of the campus with an additional .2-mile half-loop behind the gym at the end of the second lap to the finish. The women's race consists of one lap around the campus with the finish coming in front of the gym.
The Eckerd women's team, led by Kim Fagen, are looking for their first conference cross-country championship and may have the depth to capture the title.
"I think that's the best women's cross-country team the conference has ever had," said Wes Koenig, coach of the Eckerd men's team.
Fagen, a junior out of Gibbs High, has won three of four invitationals she has run in this season.
According to Koenig, the University of Tampa should be favored among the men's team although Eckerd _ the defending conference champion _ has the talent to pull an upset. The Tritons are paced by Scott Bransford, a three-time all-conference runner.
The conference meet is backed locally by District 695 and the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg, Allen Sports Center, Florida Power, Florida Progress Credit Corporation, and the Suncoast Runners Club.