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Cross Country Headline

Photo by Cheryl Treworgy,

Saturday November 12, 2011Men's XC Secures NCAA Automatic Bid With Second-Place Regional Finish; Women Third at NCAA South Regional

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Photo by Cheryl Treworgy,

For the first time since 2006, UF’s men’s cross country team will compete at the NCAA Championships as a team after recording a second-place, NCAA automatic-qualifying finish at the 2011 South Regional Championship Saturday at the Harry Pritchett Cross Country Course in Tuscaloosa. UF tallied 68 points as a team and Sunshine State rival FSU took first in men’s action (40 points) as both teams earned automatic NCAA bids ahead of third-place Georgia (94 points). UF’s women engaged in a tight battle, leading the South Regional field for a majority of the race, but fell just shy of a top-two finish after a strong final push from eventual winner FSU (34 points), while SEC opponent Vandy finished second (54 points), just eight points ahead of third-place Florida (62 points). The UF women’s team will now await any potential at-large bids, announced by the NCAA Nov. 13.


“We’re really proud of the guys and the way they came out and competed today,” assistant track and field and cross country coach Todd Morgan said. “This is a young group; a lot of them were racing a 10K for the first time and they really raced tough. Mark (Parrish), Matt (Mizereck), Jimmy (Clark) and Josh (Izewski) grouped up and really stayed focused throughout the race. It was huge day for Eduardo Garcia – he’s come in and worked really hard and it was good to see him come in fifth to close out the scoring for us. All of our guys really believed in the plan that myself and Coach Holloway put in place for them, went out there and executed.”


A total of nine Florida runners picked up All-South Region honors after finishing among the top-25 athletes in each of the South Regional race fields, with four men standing out, not only in the top-25, but in the top-13 of the 159-athlete men’s field, while five women’s runners donning the Orange and Blue recorded top-25 finishes in the race consisting of 191 female student-athletes.


“On the women’s side, we came in trying to swing for a home run. We knew Vandy and FSU are two really good teams. Gen (LaCaze), Cory (McGee) and Florence (N’Getich) all went in looking to start us off as well as possible in the scoring. They were really aggressive and went for it; I’m really proud of those women,” Morgan continued. “Steph (Strasser) has been a really solid player for us and that showed today. Mandy (Perkins) had a big break through today and had her best cross country meet ever. We really needed Mandy to step up for us because Callie (Cooper) was knocked down at the start of the race. She got up, didn’t quit and worked her way back into the mix; that’s sports and I’m proud of the way she handled herself.”


Four Florida men recorded top-15 finishes, led by sophomore Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) who crossed fifth overall with a career-best 31:05.2 finish and UF’s second-highest individual regional finish in the last seven years. Sophomore Matt Mizereck (Tallahassee, Fla.) and freshman Jimmy Clark (St. John’s, Fla.) teamed up for ninth (31:25.9) and tenth (31:26.4) as Clark – the 2011 SEC Men’s Freshman of the Year – competed in his first 10K donning a Gator uniform. Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) left it all on the course his senior season, leading the entire South Regional field half-way through the race before his teammates joined the leading pack to rally for the Orange and Blue. Izewski scored fourth for UF with a 13th-place finish (31:32) and career-best outing in his final Regional meet as a Gator.


Freshman Eduardo Garcia (Jacksonville, Fla.) stepped it up to cross the finish line 31st (32:14.9) overall as Florida’s fifth scorer, while classmate JL Hines (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore Tyler Davidson (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) finished 40th (32:32.9) and 48th (32:50.8), respectively, each of them running their initial 10Ks in Gator uniforms to round out UF’s sixth and seventh competitors.


Florida’s men’s team last finished second at the NCAA South Region Championship in 2004, when they went on to finish 27th at the NCAA Championship and the Gators last competed at NCAAs as a team in 2006, earning a 22nd-place overall finish. This year’s NCAA automatic appearance will mark the men’s ninth NCAA showing as a team all time after having individual representation three of the last four years.


The Gator women made a strong case for a potential NCAA birth, with senior Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia), sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) and junior Florence N’Getich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya) in front of the pack for a majority of the race. N’Getich took a significant lead mid-way through, then it was McGee that moved into the top spot, but a thriving FSU squad made an aggressive push at the end to claim the top three individual spots. Student-athletes from FSU, SEC Champion Vandy and Florida saturated the top-25, as the final results indicated an extremely close race to the end.


It was LaCaze who recorded Florida’s top finish in fourth place (20:41.2), with McGee in sixth (20:42.2) and N’Getich in ninth (20:46.9). Sophomore Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) and junior Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) crossed as UF’s fourth and fifth scorers in 22nd (21:24.5) and 25th (21:29.7), respectively. Junior Callie Cooper (St. Augustine, Fla.) came in 34th (21:45.2) and freshman Grace VanDeGrift (Durant, Fla.) finished 43rd (21:56) as the Gators’ sixth and seventh runners.


Strasser and Perkins both clocked career-best 6K races, as LaCaze, McGee, N’Getich, Strasser and Perkins all picked up USTFCCCA All-South Region honors as top-25 finishers of the 191-athlete field. LaCaze recorded Florida’s top South Region finish with her fourth-place final standing since 2009 when Rebecca Lowe won the individual title. Florida made it seven-consecutive years with a top-five Regional finish and six-straight with a top-three overall finish at the South Regional. The Gators will await any potential NCAA at-large bids and will hope for a sixth-straight team appearance at the NCAA Championship, which would mark UF’s 12th all-time showing if the Gators are selected.


The 2011 NCAA Championships will be hosted by Indiana State this year in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday, Nov. 21. For all NCAA-related information regarding the Gators, including race times and a meet preview, visit in the next week and follow Florida on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry and @GZTrackField.



2011 NCAA South Regional Top 10 Men’s Team Finishes

1. Florida State, 40

2. Florida, 68

3. Georgia, 94

4. Auburn, 194

5. MTSU, 200

6. Georgia Tech, 232

7. Kennesaw State, 258

8. Ole Miss, 258

9. Chattanooga, 263

10. Belmont, 281


Florida Men’s Finishers (10K)

5. Mark Parrish, 31:05.2*

9. Matt Mizereck, 31:25.9

10. Jimmy Clark, 31:26.4*

13. Josh Izewski, 31:32.0*

31. Eduardo Garcia, 32:14.9*

40. JL Hines, 32:32.9*

48. Tyler Davidson, 32:50.8*

* - denotes career best


Men’s Race Winner

1. David Forrester, FSU, 30:43.3


Florida Men’s USTFCCCA All-South Region Selections (Top 25 Finishers)

1. Mark Parrish (5th)

2. Matt Mizereck (9th)

3. Jimmy Clark (10th)

4. Josh Izewski (13th)



2011 NCAA South Regional Top 10 Women’s Team Finishes

1. FSU, 34

2. Vanderbilt, 54

3. Florida, 62

4. Ole Miss, 185

5. Georgia, 208

6. Alabama, 217

7. Libscomb, 258

8. Mississippi State, 283

9. North Florida, 284

10. Belmont, 303


Florida Women’s Finishers (6K)

4. Genevieve LaCaze, 20:41.2

6. Cory McGee, 20:42.2

9. Florence N’Getich, 20:46.9

22. Stephanie Strasser, 21:24.5*

25. Mandy Perkins, 21:29.7*

34. Callie Cooper, 21:45.2

43. Grace VanDeGrift, 21:56.0

* - denotes career best


Women’s Race Winner

1. Amanda Winslow, FSU, 20:33.4


Florida Women’s USTFCCCA All-South Region Selections (Top 25 Finishers)

1. Genevieve LaCaze (4th)

2. Cory McGee (6th)

3. Florence N’Getich (9th)

4. Stephanie Strassser (22nd)

5. Mandy Perkins (25th)




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