Tampa, Fla. (September 7, 2006) - The University of Tampa cross country team will host the UT Early Bird Classic, featuring eight men’s and women’s team, beginning Friday at 6:00 pm. In addition to Tampa, Division I University of Florida and University of South Florida will also participate in the race. The other teams include Florida Southern, Saint Leo and Rollins from the Sunshine State Conference, along with Warner Southern and Webber.

The site of the race is the Sydney Dover Trails in Valrico, with the men’s 4-mile race scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm followed by the women’s 5K race at 6:40 pm. While there is no limit to the number of runners per team, the top five finishers per school will count towards the overall score of the teams.

Tampa enters the race with high expectations as the women’s team has advanced to two consecutive NCAA Championship appearances while winning three consecutive SSC titles. The Spartan women are led by junior Laura Woznicki, who led Tampa with a top time of 11:46, at the USF Cross Country Relays last weekend. Heralded freshman Paige Williams recorded a time of 12:10 in the race as the Spartans defeated USF.

The Spartan men are led by two-time first-team all-SSC runner David Forry, who was also an all-South Region runner as a sophomore last year. While winning the USF Cross Country Relays, Tampa was led by Forry (10:22) and freshman Anthony Nicolosi (10:38).

Directions to the Sydney Dover Trail Park are as follows:
Take I-75 to Brandon exit. Go east on Highway 60 where the park is located on the right. The entrance is just past Sydney Washer Road.