In her nine seasons at the helm, head coach Cassandra Goodson has taken the FGCU men’s and women’s cross country teams from their humble beginnings to a competitive D-I program. Highlighted by five consecutive finishes in the top half of the ASUN Conference and six trips to the NCAA South Region Championships, Goodson’s leadership has taken the Green and Blue to the next level.
The success of the program under Goodson's direction is evident with a glance at the Eagles’ all-time record book as the top 10 all-time marks for the women’s 5K and 6K and men’s 8K and 10K were established by runners from the Goodson era.
Two of those notable runners are Kelly Perzanowski and Argeo Cruz, both of whom Goodson recruited and coached to the an elite level. Cruz now serves as an assistant coach on Goodson's staff.
• Improved her 5K time from 18:38 to 17:20
• University of Florida Invitational champion, besting every runner from SEC teams UF, Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina
• 2010 ASUN All-Freshman Team
• 2012 ASUN Second Team
• 2013 ASUN Conference Champion
• Placed 14th in the Southeast Region in 2013 to earn All-Region honors (first time in school history)
• Improved his 5K time from 15:36 to 14:31
• 2010 ASUN All-Freshman Team
• 2011 ASUN Second Team
• 2013 ASUN First Team
• Placed in the top 25 in the Southeast Region in 2013 to earn All-Region honors (first time in school history)
Goodson's success goes beyond individual accolades as her teams have posted several firsts over the past few years, including:
• Women's team ranked 12th in the region in 2015, achieving the program's first and highest regional ranking.
• Men’s team ranked 14th in the region in 2012 for the first time in program history, and boosted its program-best ranking to 13th during the 2016 season.
• Men’s team ranked 3rd in the nation among school with only cross country.
• Women’s team ranked 2nd in the nation (Northwestern) among schools with only cross country programs.
In addition to team and individual successes, Goodson's clubs have also achieved at a high level in the classroom, as noted below:
• Maintained an overall team GPA of above 3.0 every year as a head coach.
• USTFCCCA Team All-Academic Award from 2014-16.
• 80 ASUN All-Academic honorees.
Goodson guided the men’s team to its best season in program history in 2016, when it won a trio of races and matched program best finishes at both the ASUN and NCAA South Region Championships, where the Eagles finished third and 17th, respectively. Led by two-time ASUN Runner of the Week Luka Ndungu and fellow ASUN Runner of the Week Ronny Greenup, the Green and Blue went where no other FGCU team has gone both individually and collectively. Ndungu, who became the first FGCU runner to win a pair of races in the same season, and Greenup not only matched the program’s previous total with three weekly awards, but also became the first duo to earn First Team All-Conference recognition in the same season. Ndungu’s third place finish at the conference meet was the best ever by an Eagle while Greenup’s seventh place mark was third all time. Joined by freshman Carlin Berryhill, who finished 13th and earned Second Team and All Freshman Team honors, it was the most individuals to earn ASUN All-Conference recognition in program history. The Eagles capped off the season at the NCAA South Region Championships, where they placed four runners in the top-100 for the first time in program history. Ndungu’s 58th place finish in 32:15.7 were both good for fifth best all time, while Berryhill turned in the best ever finish by a freshman as he crossed 83rd overall.
During the 2015 season, the Green and Blue posted program records with a pair of third-place finishes at the ASUN Conference Championships. The women tied their mark from 2014 while the men bested theirs by one position. Additionally, the women finished in a program-best 13th place at the NCAA South Region Championships, improving 11 places from their finish at the season-ending meet a year ago. Individually, Lauren Tarovisky finished eighth in the race on the women's side and earned second team all-conference recognition, while Troy Clark and Nathan Kandie finished 10th and 11th, respectively, and also earned second team all-conference recognition. Tarovisky went on to finish 37th at the NCAA meet, good for the second-best mark at the meet in program history. Earlier in the season, she earned the program's third ever ASUN Runner of the Week honor after a fourth-place individual finish and first-place team finish at the USF Invitational. Collectively, the Eagles set 13 personal records throughout the season and entered the FGCU All-Time Records list on nine occasions.
In 2014, Goodson's programs continued their record-breaking success, culminating at the ASUN Championships where the women took third place, the program's first-ever mark inside the top three, while the men claimed fourth for the third-consecutive year. During the regular season, the women finished inside the top 10 in all five races, posted a third-place finish and won the Stetson Invitational to begin the year. On the men's side, the team won the South Florida Invitational in its second meet of the year, closed in third place in the Stetson Invitational and posted two fourth-place finishes in the regular season.
During the 2013 season, Goodson led the men’s team to five top-five finishes, a first-place finish at the Westminster Academy Invite, wins over Miami, LSU and Vanderbilt, a fourth-place finish at conference championships and the program’s second trip to NCAA Southeast Regional Championships. The women also placed first at the Westminster Academy Invite and finished two meets in the top-five. A total 36 personal-bests and 20 individual top-10 finishes were recorded this season.
Under Goodson’s training seniors Argeo Cruz and Kelly Perzanowski ended 2013 solidifying their titles as the most prolific runners in FGCU history. Finishing first in three races this season, including the A-Sun Championship race, Perzanowski was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Female Runner of the Year, named to the NCAA South All-Region Team and the Atlantic Sun Conference First Team. She reset the FGCU all-time record in both the women’s 5k and 6k, twice. Cruz was named to the NCAA South All-Region Team and to the ASUN Conference First Team while resetting the FGCU all-time record in the both the men’s 8k and 10k. Together Cruz and Perzanowski own every school record, all of which were posted during the 2013 season, as well as 44 of the top 60 times. Both Cruz and Perzanowski left FGCU running faster than when they entered as freshmen. After four years with Goodson Perzanowski’s personal best 5k time improved from an 18:36 to a 17:21, while Cruz went from a 15:36 to a 14:31.
In 2012, Goodson guided the men to five top-five finishes, a program-best fourth place finish at conference championships and the team’s first trip to NCAA South Regionals. On Oct. 29, the men were ranked 14th in the South Region poll conducted by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and ended the season listed third in the rankings of NCAA D-I cross country only schools. The women saw a similar success finishing in the top five four times and sending a pair to NCAA Regionals. Cruz, Perzanowski and Barrie Cohen continued to break records and prove the program’s ability to compete on a higher level.
During the 2011 campaign Goodson led the men’s team to three top-five finishes, including a season-opening first place finish at the FGCU Invitational, and top 10 finishes in all six competitions. The women’s team saw equal success under her guidance, with top 10 finishes in every meet and three top five finishes. Four women’s runners established new personal-best 5K times, while nine men’s runners set new personal-bests in 8K events this season. Supplying top finishes for the Eagles all season, sophomore Argeo Cruz and junior Barrie Cohen each earned the programs’ first-ever Atlantic Sun Runner of Week awards after their performances at the Walt Disney World Classic, running to season-best times at the event. At the ASUN Conference Championship the Green and Blue ran to a seventh place finish in the women’s 5K while the men took eighth overall in the 8K race. Additionally, Goodson coached a pair of men’s and women’s runners at the NCAA South Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. in the Eagles’ first year of eligibility.
In her first three seasons with the Green and Blue, Goodson was constantly moving forward while achieving a slew of program firsts including three overall meet wins and three members named to the ASUN All-Freshmen teams. Her athletes continually broke program records and posted personal bests. In her inaugural season Goodson paced Megan Thies to a new program record and Kyle Brunette to improve his personal record by almost two minutes.
Goodson joined FGCU from the University of Southern Mississippi where she served as the head cross country and assistant track and field coach from 2006-2008. In her two years at Southern Miss Goodson’s coaching efforts produced three track and field program records and an NCAA Regional Qualifier. Under Goodson’s direction former Southern Miss track athlete Vincent Tanui improved his 5000m time from a 14:58 to a 14:11 qualifying for NCAA Regionals.
Prior to coaching at Southern Miss, Goodson competed professionally throughout the United States in sanctioned USA Track and Field road races. Goodson was a two-year letterwinner with the cross country and track & field programs for the Golden Eagles. She owns two school indoor records in the running events - the 3,000 meter with a time of 10:16.55 and the 5,000 meter with a time of 17:52.65. She also holds the school record in the outdoor 5,000 meters with a time of 17:31.81 and the 10,000 meters with a time of 37:01.65.
Goodson helped the Southern Miss team to a second-place finish in 2005 with two fourth-place finishes in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Goodson competed in track and field and cross country for two seasons at Diablo Valley College in Concord, Calif., where she was the most valuable member of her cross country team. She was the NorCal 10,000-meter champion and finished fifth in the state in the same event. She was a four-year letterwinner at Chaminade College Prep, where she was an All-Conference selection for four years.
The Chatsworth, Calif., native received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Southern Miss in 2005 and is the daughter of James and of the late Marina Goodson. Goodson and her husband Terrell Harbin welcomed their daughter, Anastasia, in March 2015.
She currently serves on an executive committee representing the ASUN for the USTFCCCA and served as the coaches chair from 2013-15.