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Perzanowski named to Atlantic Sun’s All-Decade Team for cross

Kelly Perzanowski remembers it well. But, she also can’t believe it’s been almost a decade.

Such is life for former prep and collegiate athletes who look back on their careers.

The St. Clairsville High School alumni recently took a trip down memory lane, thinking about her highly successful and memorable running career at Florida Gulf Coast University.

What conjured up those memories was that Perzanowski was recently named to the Atlantic Sun Conference’s All-Decade Team for cross country.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I found out I made the All-Decade team,” Perzanowski said. “It always feels good to be able to represent Florida Gulf Coast University.”

Some of the initial thoughts Perzanowski looked back on weren’t any of her numerous accolades and honors she rang up during her four-year career.

“Ironically, I miss the 6 a.m. practices with my teammates,” Perzanowski admitted.

Who can blame her, though, especially when you consider those early morning workouts included runs on the beach?

“Those would be our long runs and then we would do hill repeats on the bridge,” Perzanowski said.

Those workouts certainly paid off when you consider Perzanowski was twice named All-Conference and was named the Atlantic Sun’s Conference Runner of the Year as a senior in 2013. She also was named to the NCAA’s South All-Region team.

Perzanowski, who was a multiple-time all-Ohioan at St. John Central before finishing her career at St. C., still has her presence felt on the Florida Gulf Coast program to this day. Her times of 17:21.20 and 20:38.86 still stand as the school’s best times ever recorded in the 5K and 6K, respectively.

Three times, Perzanowski was recognized for her performances in the Atlantic Sun’s conference meet. She was First-Team All-Conference as a senior, second-team as a junior and was named to the All-Freshman Team.

“The thing I loved the most about running at FGCU was the feeling of being a part of something special,” Perzanowski said. “Moving on (from that) was difficult, but my life seemed to fall into place a couple of years after I graduated.”

Perzanowski, 28, still lives in Fort Myers and works as a fifth-grade teacher at Harlem Heights Community Charter School.

She actually interned at The Heights Center during her college years and that dovetailed into the aforementioned charter school.

“The school is for at-risk students and their mission is what I am all about,” Perzanowski said. “Coach (Cassandra) Goodson-Harbin had such a positive influence on me and now I am trying to pass the lessons I learned from her on to my students.”

As the collegiate running chapter of her life fades further away, Perzanowski only would change one thing about her career.

“I would have ran faster,” Perzanowski joked.

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