Saturday September 24, 2011Florida Women Claim Mountain Dew Invitational Title; Men Take Second Amid Competitive Field Saturday
The Florida women’s cross country squad made it seven straight Mountain Dew Invitational titles Saturday, claiming the overall team victory at UF’s only home event of the 2011 season (30 points), while the Gator men’s team was edged by just four points in the team race by the squad from Michigan, 42-46, to place second overall. Senior Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia), junior Florence N’Getich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya) and sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) rallied for the top three spots in the women’s race, while sophomore Matt Mizereck (Tallahassee, Fla.) claimed UF’s highest finish in the men’s race, turning in a second-place 24:38.50 8K.
With a significantly more competitive field this season – including the men’s and women’s squads from North Carolina and the men’s team from Michigan to compliment the Sunshine State colleges and universities – the Gators were forced to battle through until the finish line of each race. In the women’s team competition, North Carolina (35) and USF (105) claimed second and third behind the Gators (30), while Michigan (42), Florida (46) and North Carolina (47) were the top three men’s team finishers. In the women’s field, 14 of the first 20 individual finishers represented either Florida or North Carolina, making for a competitive 5K race from start to finish. Twenty-four of the top 25 men’s finishers represented Florida, Michigan and North Carolina.
LaCaze ran the fastest cross country 5K mark of her career at Florida thus far for the victory – a 17:05.09 – marking a new Mountain Dew Invite record, a new Florida record for a Gator in a 5K race at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course, the previous being 17:14.7 in 1990, and the third-fastest 5K ever run by a runner from any team at the Gators’ golf course.
“It was a good start to the women’s season,” UF distance coach Todd Morgan said. “The women came out and competed hard against a quality team in North Carolina. We’re really happy with where we’re starting the competitive portion of the season. We did see some things today that we need to work on and some things that we’ll improve upon as the season progresses.”
“In the men’s race, it was a tight three-way battle with three evenly matched teams,” Morgan continued. “The guys had to win some head-to-head battles in some crucial spots and they did that today. We’re looking forward to the next three weeks to train hard and get ready for Wisconsin (adidas Invitational).”
In women’s action, after UF’s first three finishers crossed the finish line to sweep first through third, four of the next five runners donned Carolina blue, but sophomore Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) beat out Jacque Taylor from UNC for ninth-place (17:59.22) as UF’s fourth finisher. Junior Callie Cooper (St. Augustine, Fla.), freshman Grace VanDeGrift (Durant, Fla.) and junior Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) rounded out UF’s seven scorers as Cooper, VanDeGrift and Perkins placed a clutch 15th, 16th and 18th, respectively.
McGee, Strasser and VanDeGrift all turned in personal-best 5K marks at Saturday’s morning race. Rounding out UF’s competitors, freshman Tenley Godfrey (Chattanooga, Tenn.), sophomore Shelby Hayes (Winter Park, Fla.) and freshman Macy Huskey (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) placed 36th, 43 and 46th in the field of over 200 female athletes.
In the men’s 8K race, it was Mizereck who led the Orange and Blue with his second-place 24:38.50 race, finishing just three seconds behind Michigan’s Craig Forys, who clocked a 24:35.55 victory for the Wolverines. Forys became just the third non-Florida athlete to win the men’s race at UF’s Mountain Dew Invitational in the last eight years.
Mizereck’s mark was just six seconds shy of a career-best mark of 24:32.6. Sophomore Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) was UF’s second finisher in seventh place, followed by freshman Jimmy Clark (St. Johns, Fla.), who sprinted out the finale to pass UNC’s Scott Morgan down the final stretch. Senior Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) – last year’s Mountain Dew winner – crossed Finish in 10th place. Sophomore Tyler Davidson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), junior Alex Schanen (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) and freshman Eduardo Garcia (Jacksonville, Fla.) completed the Gators’ scoring lineup in 18th, 23rd and 26th, respectively, for 18, 21 and 22 points towards Florida’s overall team score.
Davidson was just a second shy of a career-best 8K from the 2010 season and Garcia was just three second off his inaugural collegiate 8K mark from the South Florida Invitational Sept. 9. Freshmen JL Hines (Orlando, Fla.) and Alex Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) crossed in 41st and 49th, respectively, to complete the Florida men’s runners Saturday.
Complete results for all races at the 2011 Mountain Dew Invitational can be found at Half-Mile Timing's website or on www.GatorZone.com/crosscountry in the Mountain Dew Invitational information box in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
The Gators will continue the 2011 campaign with a three-week training period before heading to the ultra-competitive Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis., Oct. 14. Last year, both UF’s men’s and women’s squads rallied for seventh-place team finishes in Madison at an event that featured a field packed with top-25 talent. Then-senior Charlotte Browning paced the women’s field with a first-place victory.
Follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry and @GZTrackField for all news and updates through the rest of the season.
2011 MOUNTAIN DEW INVITATIONAL
Men’s Top 10 Team Finishes (8K)
1. Michigan, 42
2. FLORIDA, 46
3. North Carolina, 47
4. Florida Track Club, 165
5. Miami, 188
6. Embry-Riddle, 192
7. FIU, 227
8. USF, 252
9. FGCU, 256
10. Running Center Elite, 288
Florida Men’s Individual Finishes
2. Matt Mizereck, 24:38.50
7. Mark Parrish, 25:03.14
8. Jimmy Clark, 25:04.91
11. Josh Izewski, 25:08.83
18. Tyler Davidson, 25:39.91
23. Alex Schanen, 26:08.71
26. Eduardo Garcia, 26:14.30
41. JL Hines, 26:54.03
49. Alex Izewski, 27:13.07
Men’s 8K Winner
1. Craig Forys, Michigan, 24:35.55
Women’s Top 10 Team Finishes (5K)
1. FLORIDA, 30
2. North Carolina, 35
3. USF, 105
4. Jacksonville, 139
5. FAU, 196
6. Embry-Riddle, 221
7. Miami, 239
8. Nova Southeastern, 249
9. Florida Gulf Coast, 263
10. UCF, 268
Florida Women’s Individual Finishes
1. Genevieve LaCaze, 17:05.09
2. Florence N’Getich, 17:11.96
3. Cory McGee, 17:28.48
9. Stephanie Strasser, 17:59.22
15. Callie Cooper, 18:18.40
16. Grace VanDeGrift, 18:19.43
18. Mandy Perkins, 18:22.60
36. Tenley Godfrey, 19:13.41
43. Shelby Hayes, 19:30.32
46. Macy Huskey, 19:36.84
Women’s 5K Winner
1. Genevieve LaCaze, Florida, 17:05.09