Saturday September 15, 2012Gator Cross Country Squads Celebrate Team Victories at UF's Mountain Dew Invitational Saturday
Both University of Florida cross country teams took advantage of a sunny Gainesville morning, a race on their home turf and hundreds of Orange and Blue-clad fans at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course Saturday as the Gators secured team victories at Florida’s 24th Annual Mountain Dew Invitational on both the men’s and women’s sides. Florida’s women turned in a perfect 15-point team score, claiming the top five finishes in the collegiate women’s/open race, while the Gator men’s team packed five scorers into the top 10 for the men’s overall title (28 points).
The women made it eight consecutive Mountain Dew Invite team titles, while the men took their seventh team victory in the last eight years at the home-hosted invitational. Following both collegiate/open races, nearly 50 local high school varsity and junior varsity squads took to the course for the boys and girls 5K events.
“It’s always great having the opportunity to compete at home,” assistant track and cross country coach Paul Spangler said. “It’s a chance for parents to come to Gainesville, for all fans to come out and support the Gators – and it’s also a chance for the Gators to show what we can do and what we’re capable of, while showcasing the high school races at the event as well. I have to thank Brian Barton, Andy Klock, Frank Caraway, Scott Hampton and their staffs for helping make today a success. Big thanks also to the Florida track and field staff, our student-athletes that came out for support, the officials and all staffers that collaborated to put on a first-class event.”
MOUNTAIN DEW INVITATIONAL RESULTS
“I’m extremely pleased with both the men’s and women’s performances today – our top five scorers on the men’s side were about 18 seconds faster than our top five at the Mountain Dew Invitational last year; on the women’s side, we were around eight seconds faster,” Spangler evaluated. “Our fifth scorer on the women’s side was about 30 seconds faster than our fifth scorer last year and that’s critical for us because it shows our depth.”
Both Gator squads ran their respective race distances in competition format for the first time this season, the men an 8K and the women a 5K event. Both teams impressed at the meet, as a total of 16 Florida runners clocked collegiate-best marks, including eight women’s college-best 5K races and eight career-best men’s 8K performances.
“Mark (Parrish) and Josh (Izewski) were roughly 30 seconds faster than last year’s Mountain Dew performances, while JL (Hines) and Eddie (Garcia) were over a minute faster – very pleased with the men’s performances,” Spangler said. “On the women’s side, Callie Cooper did a great job for us, despite being sick today. Steph (Strasser) really battled through the last half of the race for us to secure our perfect team score – she passed a runner down the stretch to get that fifth spot.”
Junior newcomer Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) (17:13.32), senior Florence Ngetich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya) (17:29.80), freshman Julie Macedo (Wilmington, Del.) (17:32.01), senior Callie Cooper (St. Augustine, Fla.) (17:38.81) and junior Steph Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) (17:43.52) swept first through fifth for the Orange and Blue on the ladies side, turning in a pack spread of just over 20 seconds.
Juniors Shelby Hayes (Winter Park, Fla.) (18:14.19), Sarah Davis (Jacksonville, Fla.) (18:23.65) and Brittany Koziara (Orlando, Fla.) (18:48.39) finished 14th, 16th and 22nd, respectively, for the Gators and sophomore Macy Huskey (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (20:23.76) checked in 79th in the 157-woman field Saturday.
A duo of Gators in first-year Shelby Davidson (Melbourne, Fla.) and senior Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.), running unattached in today’s competition, turned in top-10 finishes, placing sixth (17:47.21) and eighth (17:52.80), respectively.
In men’s action, which kicked off the Mountain Dew Invitational at 7:55 a.m., junior Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) and senior Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) led the charge for Florida amid a competitive field that featured former Gator All-American Jeremy Criscione – running unattached – and senior Embry-Riddle standout Evans Kirwa. Criscione and Kirwa were the first two men to cross the finish line, while Parrish finished third in the field (24:29.34), Izewski fourth (24:33.89).
Sophomore Jimmy Clark (St. Johns, Fla.), the 2011 SEC Male Freshman of the Year, scored third for UF in seventh place (24:50.63), while sophomore classmates JL Hines (Orlando, Fla.) and Eddie Garcia (Jacksonville, Fla.) stepped up to score fourth and fifth for the Gators. Hines and Garcia finished ninth and 10th overall in the field, while the pack of Florida scorers turned in a spread just over 41 seconds.
Junior Matt Mizereck (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Phil Duncan (Orlando, Fla.) rounded out UF’s returners with 13th (25:34.85) and 21st-place (26:01.86) finishes, respectively.
A quartet of Florida men embarked on their first collegiate 8K races Saturday, freshmen Harsha Torke (Viera, Fla.) and Elliot Clemente (Miami, Fla.) donning the Orange and Blue, while first years Mac Reynolds (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) and Mark Mutz (Lakeland, Fla.) ran unattached in the Mountain Dew Invite.
The Gators will next be in action October 5 at the Seminole Invitational in Tallahassee, Fla., before heading to Louisville, Ky., for the first big test of the season at Pre-Nationals October 13. For all the latest on Florida cross country, visit www.GatorZone.com/crosscountry and follow the Gators on Facebook and Twitter (@GatorZoneXCntry/@GZTrackField).
FLORIDA MEN’S 8K FINISHERS
3. Mark Parrish, 24:29.34
4. Josh Izewski, 24:33.89 *
7. Jimmy Clark, 24:50.63
9. JL Hines, 25:04.87 *
10. Eddie Garcia, 25:10.92 *
13. Matt Mizereck, 25:34.85
21. Phil Duncan, 26:01.86 *
30. Mac Reynolds, 26:12.56 * – UNATTACHED
38. Harsha Torke, 26:27.54 *
42. Mark Mutz, 26:34.01 * – UNATTACHED
59. Elliot Clemente, 27:04.93 *
* - collegiate best 8K time
MEN’S TOP-10 TEAM FINISHES
1. FLORIDA, 28
2. North Florida, 108
3. Embry-Riddle, 113
4. FAMU, 129
5. FGCU, 144
6. Northern Kentucky, 149
7. Augusta State, 207
8. Florida Southern, 255
9. Miami, 261
10. Morehouse, 267
FLORIDA WOMEN’S 5K FINISHERS
1. Agata Strausa, 17:13.32 *
2. Florence Ngetich, 17:29.80
3. Julie Macedo, 17:32.01 *
4. Callie Cooper, 17:38.81 *
5. Steph Strasser, 17:43.52 *
6. Shelby Davidson, 17:47.21 * – UNATTACHED
8. Mandy Perkins, 17:52.80 – UNATTACHED
14. Shelby Hayes, 18:14.19 *
16. Sarah Davis, 18:23.65 *
22. Brittany Koziara, 18:48.39 *
79. Macy Huskey, 20:32.76
* - collegiate best 5K time
WOMEN’S TOP-10 TEAM FINISHES
1. FLORIDA, 15
2. North Florida, 63
3. UCF, 116
4. Tampa, 129
5. FGCU, 199
6. Embry-Riddle, 209
7. Northern Kentucky, 236
8. FAU, 270
9. Flagler, 276
10. Palm Beach Atlantic, 279