Embry-Riddle opened its DII cross country Saturday, hosting the Asics Embry-Riddle Classic. Along with a handful of Division I schools and some fellow Sunshine State Conference rivals, the newly-formed cross country team of Daytona State joined in the meet, setting up quite the unique situation.
Josie Gray, the Eagles' junior distance runner, faced off against Daytona State freshman Kris Gray in the women's 5K. Kris just happens to be Josie's mother.
How about this story for a #FeatureFriday - @ERAUXCTF’s Josie Gray will compete against her mother tomorrow at the ASICS Embry-Riddle Classic. Men at 7:20 am, women at 7:50 am. Live Results at https://t.co/FJm30TjkfG #GoERAU pic.twitter.com/9yuTHRwXZj— Embry-Riddle Eagles (@ERAUAthletics) September 14, 2018
Josie is a decorated athlete for the Eagles. She was a member of the 2017 SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in cross country and earned All-Academic Peach Belt Conference honors in track and field. She's clearly a seasoned veteran ready for any challenge.
Well, almost any challenge.
Her mother Kris graduated high school in 1988 and was quite the distance runner in her day, clocking a 5:06 mile in competition in Wisconsin. Her career path took her down the road of firefighting, and now she finds herself back in college, competing against student-athletes 30 years younger than her.
That doesn't seem to affect Kris too much. She made program history, being the first woman to cross the finish line for the new Falcons cross country team.
"It was exciting making history running our first race as DSC women's cross country. We started on a real, true cross country course with mud and lots of twists and turns," Gray said after her race.
Seems like a daunting task. Kris ran against Division I and II distance runners who have been training for the season opener all summer. But the bragging rights at Thanksgiving dinner seems to be the top priority this weekend in Daytona, Florida.
UPDATE: Josie was able to win the first mother-daughter showdown. She placed 33rd with a time of 21:37.91. It wasn't by much, as Kris placed 44th a mere 17.34 seconds off her daughter's time.