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Monday November 22, 2010Gator Cross Country Concludes Strong Season at NCAA Championships

Terre Haute, Ind.

Senior Charlotte Browning (Chichester, England) turned in the top individual finish for Florida (77th), which finished 29th in the team race at the 2010 NCAA Championships on a cloudy and windy Monday at the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute. Florida’s women, the only SEC women’s team represented at the NCAA Championships, had seven competitors in the field of 253 individuals, while individual UF men’s qualifier Dumi Hlaselo (South Africa) turned in a 31:49.8 (171st) in the last race of the 2010 cross country season.

 

“We obviously wanted to do better today, but our women’s team battled through a lot this year in terms of injuries,” head track and field and cross country coach Mike Holloway said. “I’m still proud of all the women’s team accomplished this year with winning the SEC Championship. Now we’re looking forward to what they can do for us this upcoming track season.”

 

Browning, a 2009 All-American and the squad’s lone senior competing at the NCAA Championship Meet, finished an impressive career as a Gator Monday after also completing her eligibility on the track last spring with two NCAA titles. Browning captured the NCAA indoor mile and NCAA outdoor 1,500m to become the first track distance All-American since 1997. With only one graduating NCAA-qualifying senior on the women’s cross country squad in Browning, the future looks bright for the Gators.

 

“Our team has dealt with a lot of things that have gone on throughout the course of the season,” assistant track and cross country coach Todd Morgan said. “I’m still extremely proud of the team for winning the SEC and gaining an automatic NCAA Championship bid with our second-place finish at the South Region Championship. Today was not the finish that we wanted, but we’re going to regroup and put our focus towards contributing on the track this spring.”

 

Junior Rebecca Lowe (Vaucluse, Australia), a 2009 All-American who ran UF’s fastest-ever 6K last season at the NCAA Championship, crossed the finish line second for the Gators (21:43.8), while freshman Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) solidified UF’s third spot with a 21:53.1 race. Junior Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia), a mainstay in UF’s top five scorers, ran a 22:07.5 as Florida’s fourth scorer, while freshman Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) was the fifth and final points-scorer for the Orange and Blue (22:18.5). Sophomores Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Callie Cooper (St. Augustine, Fla.) rounded out Florida’s competitors in the women’s team race finishing 180th and 209th in the field with times of 22:33.3 and 23:49.4, respectively.

 

Hlaselo, the first Gator  from the UF men’s team to compete at the NCAA Championships since Jeremy Criscione in 2008, started off a strong race, but turned in a  31:49.8 to finish 171st in the field of 246 male athletes competing in Indiana. Hlaselo led the Gators all fall, finishing first for the Orange and Blue men’s squad in all four of his races leading up to NCAAs, including the Wisconsin adidas Invite, the Pre-NCAA Invitational, SECs and the NCAA South Region Championship.

 

“Dumi had a great fall overall,” Morgan added about the junior. “We wish he had a better end to it, but we’re looking forward to his contributions this track season.”

 

For the Florida women, it was their fifth consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and 11th postseason appearance in the history of the women’s cross country program.

 

Florida will kick off the 2011 indoor track and field season Jan. 15 at the Nittany Lion Challenge in State College, Penn. For all information and news related to UF track and field and cross country, visit www.GatorZone.com.

 

Women’s Top 10 Team Finishes

1.     Villanova                       120 points            

2.     Florida State                 154 points

3.     Texas Tech                   165 points

4.     Georgetown                  167 points

5.     New Mexico                  227 points

6.     Colorado                       314 points

7.     Stony Brook                  334 points

8.     Iowa State                     341 points

9.     Providence                   343 points

10. Syracuse                       347 points

29. FLORIDA                       635 points

 

Florida Women’s Individual Finishers

77.    Charlotte Browning   21:22.1

114.  Rebecca Lowe           21.43.8

129.  Cory McGee               21:53.1

147.  Genevieve LaCaze   22:07.5                                 

168.  Stephanie Strasser   22:18.5

180.  Mandy Perkins           22:33.3

209. Callie Cooper             23:49.4

 

Women’s Individual NCAA Champion (6K)

1.       Sheila Reid                 Villanova   20:06.9

 

 

Men’s Team Champion

1.       Oklahoma State         73 points

 

Florida Men’s Finisher

171.  Dumi Hlaselo             31:49.8

 

Men’s Individual NCAA Champion (10K)

1.       Samuel Chelanga     Liberty        29:22.2

 

 

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