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Cross Country Headline

Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty.com

Monday October 31, 2011Florida Men's Cross Country Takes Second at SEC Championships; Women Finish Third

Maryville, Tenn.

Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty.com

Both Florida cross country squads turned in top-three finishes Monday at the 2011 SEC Championship, hosted by Tennessee at the Lambert Acres Golf Club, as UF’s men rallied for a second-place team finish, their highest since 2007. The two-time defending Gator women made it eight-straight years of top-five finishes with a third-place overall team finale. Arkansas claimed the men’s title (33), with Florida (66) and Georgia (68) in second and third, respectively. Vanderbilt won its first league title on the women’s side (30) and Arkansas placed second (61), followed by the Gators in third (62) for the top three team scores on each side.

 

“I thought the teams came out and competed really hard. We knew it was going to be a tight battle with the top three teams on both the men’s and women’s sides. We gave it as good a shot as we had today and I’m proud of the whole team,” Florida assistant track and cross country coach Todd Morgan said. “I’m happy with how they regrouped (after Wisconsin) and ran really hard today. Mark Parrish and Matt Mizereck really came through for us on the guys’ side and we knew Jimmy Clark was a big-time guy and he proved that today.”

 

Six Gators clocked top-10 finishes at the league meet and a total of nine runners picked up First Team, Second Team or Freshman All-SEC honors as UF’s men tallied their 15th straight top-five finish and the women earned their fourth-straight top three and eighth consecutive top-five finish Monday.

 

“On the women’s side, Genevieve LaCaze had an unbelievable SEC run. She hasn’t finished lower than eighth in her career and she has had phenomenal consistency at this meet,” Morgan continued. “It was a big day for Cory (McGee) and Florence (N’Getich); Stephanie (Strasser) and Callie (Cooper) also had the best SEC meet of their careers. It was good all the way around. Congratulations to Arkansas and Vanderbilt; they came out, ran hard and won the meet. We just tried to put the pressure on and see if we could make something happen. We gave it our best shot today and I’m pleased with that.”

 

Sophomore Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) clocked a career-best 24:23.69 third-place 8K finish in his first SEC meet as a Gator to pace UF’s men. Classmate Matt Mizereck (Tallahassee, Fla.) was close behind in fourth overall with a 24:28.14 – clocking a career-best mark and improving upon his 15th-place finish at last year’s event ,and freshman Jimmy Clark (St. Johns, Fla.) placed seventh overall as the top freshman finisher with a personal-best 24:30.79.

 

“We started the race decently slow, which is tactical in championship races like SECs. The race started conservatively for about three miles and that’s when the attack started coming from (Eric) Fernandez from Arkansas,” Parrish recalled.  “We covered it well and stayed on the attack until Fernandez pulled ahead a little bit about four miles into the race. The last mile was a pretty hard mile for me. I got into no-man’s land and had to keep pushing. At the end, I was out-sprinted (for second place), but I’m happy with my finish.”

 

Parrish, Mizereck and Clark all picked up All-SEC first team honors, while a total of three Gators, led by Clark, were named to the SEC All-Freshman team. Freshmen Eduardo Garcia (Jacksonville, Fla.) and JL Hines (Orlando, Fla.) turned in 40th (25:35.56) and 48th-place (25:43.80) marks to join Clark as SEC All-Freshman honorees, awarded to the top seven freshman finishers.

 

Senior Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) and sophomore Tyler Davidson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) were UF’s sixth and seventh scorers on the men’s side, Izewski in 25th (25:04.79) and Davidson in 27th with a career-best mark (25:05.80).

 

“As a team, we did amazing. We had an off-week at Wisconsin a couple weeks ago. Everybody stayed focused; no one panicked,” Parrish continued to reflect. “Everyone did really well in the race today. I have to give props to (freshman) Jimmy Clark. He did amazingly well for a freshman and I think everyone’s individual focus and contributions made it possible. We believed that we could do this at this (SEC) race. It’s a finish we deserve because we worked really hard, we’re really fit and we are looking forward to big things as the national series comes as we try to qualify for nationals.”

 

Florida’s women rallied for third, fifth and 10th-place finishes from senior Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia), sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) and junior Florence N’Getich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya).

 

After placing sixth at SECs as a freshman, seventh in 2009 and eighth in 2010, LaCaze led the Gators with a third-place effort in her final conference meet donning the Orange and Blue with a 20:32.98 mark, followed by McGee in 20:38.84 (5th) and N’Getich in 20:52.20 (10th) with a career-best effort. LaCaze and McGee were named to the First Team All-SEC squad, while N’Getich was an All-SEC second team selection. McGee went from 17th at SECs her freshman year in 2010 to fifth this season.

 

“Obviously we are a little disappointed with the team finish,” LaCaze said. “I know on another day, we are better that, but I also know every girl went out there and worked as hard as they could today. I’m so proud to be on this team and finish where I did my senior year.”

 

Junior Callie Cooper (St. Augustine, Fla.) and sophomore Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) rounded out UF’s top five scorers, Cooper in 20th and Strasser in 24th, improving from their 43rd and 26th-place finishes from the 2010 SEC meet. Cooper turned in a career-best 21:25.14 and Strasser clocked a 21:28.53. Freshman Grace VanDeGrift (Durant, Fla.) picked up SEC All-Freshman team honors as one of the top seven first-year finishers, crossing in 35th with a personal-best 21:51.28. Junior Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was UF’s seventh scorer in 50th (22:12.14).

 

The Gators will continue training for the 2011 NCAA South Regional Championship Nov. 12 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The top two team finishers at Regionals earn an automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Championship in Terre Haute, Ind.

 

2011 SEC Women’s Team Finishes

1. Vanderbilt, 30

2. Arkansas, 61

3. Florida, 62

4. Georgia, 124

5. Ole Miss, 158

6. Alabama, 181

7. Tennessee, 184

8. Kentucky, 214

9. Mississippi State, 233

10. Auburn, 247

11. South Carolina, 295

12. LSU, 337

 

Florida Women’s Finishers (6K)

3. Genevieve LaCaze, 20:32.98

5. Cory McGee, 20:38.84

10. Florence N’Getich, 20:52.20*

20. Callie Cooper, 21:25.14*

24. Stephanie Strasser, 21:28.53

35. Grace VanDeGrift, 21:51.28*

50. Mandy Perkins, 22:12.14

80. Tenley Godfrey, 23:14.22*

85. Shelby Hayes, 23:21.94*

* - denotes career best

 

Women’s Race Winner

1. Kristen Gillespie, Arkansas, 20:19.84

 

Women's First-Team All-SEC

Kristen Gillespie, Arkansas

Alexa Rogers, Vanderbilt

Genevieve LaCaze, Florida

Liz Anderson, Vanderbilt

Cory McGee, Florida

Kristie Krueger, Georgia

Jordan White, Vanderbilt

 

Women's Second-Team All-SEC

Louise Hannallah, Vanderbilt

Kristen Smith, Vanderbilt

Florence N'Getich, Florida

Logan Waites, Ole Miss

Brittany Sheffey, Tennessee

Kaitlin Flattman, Arkansas

Jessica Jackson, Arkansas

 

Women's All-SEC Freshman Team

Kaitlin Flattmann, Arkansas

Jessica Jackson, Arkansas

Grace Orders, Vanderbilt

Amira Joseph, Vanderbilt

Anna Bowles, Georgia

Rebecca Chandler, Vanderbilt

Grace VanDeGrift, Florida

 

 

2011 SEC Men’s Team Finishes

1. Arkansas, 33

2. Florida, 66

3. Georgia, 68

4. Kentucky, 126

5. Tennessee, 169

5. Alabama, 169

7. Ole Miss, 179

8. Auburn, 183

9. Mississippi State, 234

10. LSU, 235

11. Vanderbilt, 300

 

Florida Men’s Finishers (8K)

3. Mark Parrish, 24:23.69*

4. Matt Mizereck, 24:28.14*

7. Jimmy Clark, 24:30.79*

25. Josh Izewski, 25:04.79

27. Tyler Davidson, 25:05.80*

40. Eduardo Garcia, 25:35.56*

48. JL Hines, 25:43.80*

54. Alex Izewski, 25:55.92*

58. Alex Schanen, 26:04.88

* - denotes career best

 

Men’s Race Winner

1. Eric Fernandez, Arkansas, 24:10.60

 

Men's First-Team All-SEC

Eric Fernandez, Arkansas

Duncan Phillips, Arkansas

Mark Parrish, Florida

Matt Mizereck, Florida

Luis Orta, Kentucky

Rick Elliott, Arkansas

Jimmy Clark, Florida

 

Men's Second-Team All-SEC

Matt Cleaver, Georgia

Martin Kirui, Ole Miss

Brandon Lord, Georgia

Dey Tuach, Arkansas

Carrison Kemei, Alabama

Patrick Rono, Arkansas

Kane Grimster, Auburn

 

Men's All-SEC Freshman Team

Jimmy Clark, Florida

Patrick Rono, Arkansas

Kane Grimster, Auburn

Austin Whitelaw, Tennessee

Eduardo Garcia, Florida

Brendan Hoban, Georgia

John-Logan Hines, Florida

 

 

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