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Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty.com

Sunday November 13, 2011Women's XC: LaCaze, McGee & N'Getich Earn NCAA Championship At-Large Bids

Gainesville, Fla.

Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty.com

After a third-place finish at Saturday’s NCAA South Regional Championship, three Florida cross country women’s team members were awarded NCAA individual at-large bids Sunday evening: senior Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia), junior Florence N’Getich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya) and sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.).

 

After falling just shy of a top-two South Regional finish – which would have solidified the Gators a NCAA automatic team qualification – Florida will have representation at the NCAA Championship meet for the sixth consecutive year after qualifying as a team from 2006-10.

 

The three Gators recorded top-10 finishes at the South Regional in Tuscaloosa Saturday as the trio ran 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, earning the eventual regional title, while SEC rival Vandy finished second, with the Gators in third.  

 

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). LaCaze, McGee, N’Getich, sophomore Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) and junior Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) 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.

 

LaCaze and McGee both competed at last year’s NCAA Championship, with McGee crossing as UF’s third scorer in 129th and LaCaze crossing fourth for the Gators in 147th.  The 2011 NCAA Championship race will mark LaCaze’s fourth-straight postseason finale, as she finished 75th her freshman year in 2008 and 96th her sophomore season in 2009 when the Gators finished seventh as a team for UF’s first-ever top-10 finish.

 

The highest an individual Gator women’s runner has ever placed at the NCAA Championships is second when former All-American Shelly Steely accomplished the feat in 1984, topping her ninth-place showing in 1981.

 

The trio will head to Terre Haute, Ind., for NCAAs with UF’s men’s squad – which will be competing at the NCAA Championships as a team for the first time since 2006 – after the Gators received an automatic team bid after their second-place finish at the South Regional. A Gator men’s team last finished second at the NCAA South Region Championship in 2004, when that squad went on to finish 27th at the NCAA Championship. In UF’s last NCAA Championship appearance as a team in 2006, Florida earned 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.

 

Indiana State will host the Championships, Nov. 21, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s race will begin at approximately 12:08 p.m. ET, followed by the women’s race at approximately 12:58 p.m. A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 21, on NCAA.com.  In addition, highlights from the championships will be included as part of the CBS NCAA Fall Seasonal Show scheduled to air on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. ET on CBS HD. For more information as NCAAs approach, stay tuned to www.GatorZone.com/crosscountry and follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry and @GZTrackField.

 

For the complete cross country NCAA Championship field, read the announcement.

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