Friday September 23, 2011Florida Cross Country Plays Host to 23rd Annual Mountain Dew Invitational Saturday
Gator cross country fans in Gainesville will be in for a treat Saturday as UF’s nationally-ranked cross country teams take to UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course for the 23rd Annual Mountain Dew Invitational. The collegiate races kick off at 8 a.m. with the men’s 8K, followed by the women’s 5K at 8:30 a.m. The high school varsity and junior varsity boys and girls races will follow.
Admission is free to the event and fans are encouraged to arrive early and park at the Campus Church of Christ on SW 2nd Avenue across from the golf course. Florida students that are registered as Rowdy Reptiles can earn 10 valuable Rowdy Reptile Points by bringing their Gator1 I.D. to the marketing table outside the Proshop at the golf course.
Normally the Gators’ first meet of the season, this year’s Mountain Dew Invitational will offer a bit more of a competitive field in addition to the normal Sunshine State competition, as the men’s cross country squad from Michigan and both the men’s and women’s squads from North Carolina will travel to compete in the Gators’ lone home event of the season, adding potential NCAA qualifying implications later in the 2011 season. In the USTFCCCA National Poll, most recently released Sept. 20, UNC checked in at No. 15 in the women’s rankings and No. 30 in the men’s, while the Gators stand at No. 25 and No. 28, respectively, in the women’s and men’s polls.
Both Florida squads are ranked No. 2 in the USTFCCCA South Region rankings behind in-state rival FSU, while Michigan’s men are sixth in the Great Lakes Region and North Carolina’s men and women are ranked fourth and second, respectively, in the Southeast Region rankings. Also competing Saturday at the Mountain Dew Invite is the women’s squad from Jacksonville, the No. 12 team in the South Region rankings this week.
This year’s races will kick off with the men’s collegiate/open 8K at 8 a.m., followed by the women’s collegiate/open 5K at 8:30 a.m. The boys and girls high school races (5K) will be at 9:05 a.m. and 9:35 a.m., respectively, while the high school JV races (5K) will take place at 10:05 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. for the boys and girls JV runners.
For the past six years, Florida’s squads have come out on top at their home event each season, and the Gators will look to continue the tradition in 2011. Last year, then-junior cross country runners Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) and Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia) turned in Florida’s top finishes, Izewski with a then career-best 8K for the first-place win, while LaCaze took second in women’s collegiate action. Both Izewski and LaCaze return this year to lead the Orange and Blue.
The Gators have had a successful start to the 2011 season, with several new faces contributing behind the leadership of the Gator veterans. A total of four Florida freshmen have picked up conference weekly accolades in just two weeks of competition, including Jimmy Clark (St. Johns, Fla.), Grace VanDeGrift (Durant, Fla.), Tenley Godfrey (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Phil Duncan (Orlando, Fla.). UF chalked up season-opening wins at the Western Carolina Invitational Sept. 2 and continued on at the USF Invite Sept. 9, where the men took first and the women placed fourth.
For a complete list of all high school and college/university teams and individual participants, visit Half-Mile Timing’s website. Results from Saturday’s races will be available in the Mountain Dew Invitational event box on the bottom right-hand side of www.GatorZone.com/crosscountry and will also be posted on Half-Mile Timing’s website here. A complete recap and photo gallery will also be available on www.GatorZone.com following competition Saturday.
Following Saturday’s races, fans and participants are encouraged to exit the golf course by 12 p.m., as tee times for afternoon golfers will start shortly thereafter.
23rd ANNUAL MOUNTAIN DEW INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Saturday, September 24, 2011
UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course; Gainesville, Fla.
7:50am National Anthem
8:00am College Men 8K
8:30am College Women 5K
9:05am High School Boys 5K
9:30am College Awards Ceremony
9:35am High School Girls 5K
10:05am High School JV Boys 5K
10:35am High School JV Girls 5K
11:00am High School Awards Ceremony