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USF runs to 1 goal: conference crown

To the USF men's cross-country team, less turned out to be a whole lot more.

USF entered Saturday's Conference USA title meet concentrating less on individual placement and more on a solid team showing. Still, the Bulls placed four runners in the top 10 to capture the team crown.

Paced by Jeremy Arndt's third-place finish of 25 minutes, 34 seconds, USF had runners finish sixth, seventh and 10th to dominate the 8K event and outdistance second-place Marquette by 40 points. USF freshmen Russ Gerbers (25:46) and Kyle Fenton (25:48) were sixth and seventh, respectively, and sophomore Matt Whaley rounded out the top 10 at 25:54.

In USF's team-first strategy, teammates ran conservatively to pace each other. And rather than pushing themselves for great times, the Bulls simply tried to outrun their opponents, decreasing the chance of burning out.

"We had a plan and team-wise, we did excellent," said Arndt, a junior whose team placed seventh in C-USA last year. "This turnaround from last year is great for us. We decided to run for the team, and we did that pretty well.

"I was getting pretty tired at the end, but third place for me isn't too shabby."

Tulane's Amos Kipyegon led the field from start to finish in 24:50. The Green Wave placed fourth, behind Marquette and 1996 champion Cincinnati, which had two runners in the top 10.

The USF women placed a close second behind Marquette. The Golden Eagles had four top 10 finishers, and USF had three.

Marquette's Amy Erickson completed the 5K in 17:43 to top Minna Rasimus' 18:08 second-place mark for USF. USF's Maria Otto was sixth at 18:28; teammate Laura Karpalisto was eighth at 18:45.

The Bulls might have won, but No. 2 runner Adrea Dempsey did not finish, passing out with a quarter-mile remaining.

Still, both USF squads advanced to the NCAA South District tournament Nov. 15 at Birmingham, Ala. The event, which will have more than 40 schools, will produce two men's and women's teams for the national meet.

MORE CROSS COUNTRY: Florida's women won consecutive SEC titles in Fort Jackson, S.C., placing four runners in the top 10. The Gators placed third in the men's competition, which Arkansas won for the seventh straight year.

Gators All-American Becki Wells finished second in the 5K in 17:08, missing out on her fourth individual title. Stephen Smeyak led Florida's men, placing 12th in 25:06 in the 8K.

SOCCER: Michael Wells scored off a defender with 57 seconds remaining in overtime to give Florida Tech the 2-1 Sunshine State Conference victory over Saint Leo (12-4). Eckerd's men's team (3-14) fell 1-0 to Embry-Riddle. The women (6-9) defeated Webber 4-0. The Tritons outshot Webber 24-3.

VOLLEYBALL: Tampa (25-1) beat visiting Rollins 15-11, 15-1, 15-6. Ten Spartans had at least one kill, and their hitting percentage was .326. Barry beat Saint Leo 15-5, 15-2, 15-8.

BASKETBALL: Florida State beat the Around the World All-Stars 87-50 in Tallahassee. Corey Louis led FSU with 13 points.

VOLLEYBALL: Host FSU (21-5) beat North Carolina State 3-1. TENNIS: USF's Silviu Nistor reached the consolation final at the LSU Fall Showcase by beating Derrick Keating of Southwestern Louisiana 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. USF's Boris Babic lost in the quarterfinals. Babic and Nistors lost in doubles.

_ Information from other sources was used in this report.