University of South Florida senior Aimee Lund ran a lifetime best and set a course record to win the Metro Conference women's cross country race and lead the Bulls to a co-championship with defending league champion North Carolina-Charlotte at New Orleans on Saturday.
Each team finished with 37 points.
"Aimee ran phenomenally," coach Bob Braman said.
The former Gulf High star ran the 5-kilometer course in 17:15.23 to make up for a disappointing conference meet last season, when Lund chased Louisville's Michelle Borgert for much of the race before fading to sixth.
Braman said the Bulls, ranked No. 23 nationally, now are poised to make a run at the national championship. The NCAA District III meet is Nov. 12 in Greenville, S.C.
"We ran really well," he said. "We should have won (outright), but we let them dictate the pace. This just makes us really, really motivated for the districts."
Seniors Sarah Erickson and Clare Tomkinson finished sixth and seventh, respectively, while freshman Jessie Schra and senior Keisha Wilson were 10th and 11th, respectively, each running personal bests. Freshmen Gina Bawden (15th) and Tami Heckman (18th) also ran lifetime-best times.
The USF women were third in the Metro last year. This is the team's third conference title in eight years of existence.
Meanwhile, the USF men saw their six-year run at the top end with a second-place finish to national powerhouse Virginia Tech, 31-39. The Bulls were led by seniors Muchapiwa Mazano and Gray Mavhera, who finished 1-2 in the 5-mile race. Both broke the old course record, with Mazano nipping his teammate, 23:51.59 to 23:51.85.
Senior Bob Malseed was seventh, junior Lennox Ellis 14th, junior Mike Anderson 15th, freshman Brian Good 21st and freshman Scott Levell 32nd for USF.
"We lost our string, but we know we ran hard," Braman said. I'm pleased with the effort. The guys did about as well as they could and lost to what looks like a sure-fire national qualifier."
Florida's women's team finished fourth and the men fifth at the SEC championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Kim Fisher led the Gator women, placing eighth overall, and Randy Hollinger finished 12th to lead the men. FSU's men finished in ninth place and the women finished in eighth at the ACC championships in Atlanta. Tampa's Jeff Sargent finished third at the Sunshine State Conference meet. North Florida won the men's and women's titles. UT was second for the men, Eckerd second for the women.