Cross Country Headline
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida assistant track and cross country coach Paul Spangler met with the media Monday to preview the Gators’ season-opening race at the Western Carolina Invite August 30.
For the third consecutive season, the Orange and Blue will kick off the campaign at the Western Carolina Invitational in Cullowhee, N.C. The women will race at 6:30 p.m. ET (two mile), while the men’s race will get under way at 6:50 p.m. ET (5K). Visit www.GatorZone.com for a recap and results following the evening’s races or follow the Gators on Twitter @GatorZoneXCntry & @GZTrackField.
Florida’s 2013 men’s and women’s cross country squads were both predicted to finish second at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Cross Country Championships, as decided by vote of the league’s head coaches and released the second week in August in the annual SEC Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll.
In the annual USTFCCCA Preseason Regional Polls, released Monday by the organization, UF’s men checked in at No. 1 in the South Region, while the women were a preseason No. 4 in the region. The USTFCCCA Preseason National Poll is due out Tuesday.
2013 Mountain Dew Invitational
Following its season-opening run in Cullowhee, N.C., at the Western Carolina Invitational, Florida will return home to host the 25th Annual Mountain Dew Invitational September 14 at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course. The men’s collegiate 8K will kick things off at 7:55 a.m., while the women’s collegiate 6K will start at 8:30 a.m., with varsity and junior varsity boys and girls races to follow. For more info, visit the Mountain Dew Invitational information box on the bottom right-hand side of the page at www.GatorZone.com/crosscountry.
UF to Host 2013 SEC XC Championships
For the first time since 2002, the University of Florida will play host to the SEC Cross Country Championships, slated this year for Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course. UF has previously hosted the event four times (’73, ’81, ’90, ’02).
The University of Florida has won three of the last four women’s team titles (2009, 2010, 2012) and will have a shot at its seventh in Gator history on its home course, while Arkansas won three straight from 2006-2008 and Vanderbilt claimed the Commodores’ first SEC title in 2011. On the men’s side, Arkansas has won 20 of the last 22 SEC Championship titles, with Alabama breaking up the streak with back-to-back championships in 2008 and 2009.
Recapping the 2012 Campaign
The Gator cross country squads each turned in stellar 2012 campaigns, highlighted by the women’s team capturing the 2012 SEC Championship under the tutelage of distance track and cross country coach Paul Spangler, who was tabbed the 2012 SEC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm of the XC teams. UF’s women were crowned league champs for the third time in a span of four years and now own six SEC titles, second-most for any team in the SEC. The ladies squad went on to pick up an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Championships, sending the Gators to nationals for the six time in seven seasons as a team. UF turned in a 23rd-place finish, its second-best performance in its last six trips to nationals (2009, 7th). Five Gator women were named All-SEC selections: two first team (Florence Ngetich, Agata Strausa), one second team (Callie Cooper) and two All-Freshman honorees (Shelby Davidson, Julie Macedo). Cooper and Ngetich represented the Gators on the USTFCCCA All-South Region squad as Florida made it eight straight years with a top-five regionals finish (4th).
The UF men’s squad earned two individual at-large bids to nationals (Mark Parrish, Jimmy Clark), as the Gators had representation at NCAAs for the third consecutive season. Parrish crossed first for UF at NCAAs and also recorded the fourth-fastest 8K in men’s program history at Pre-Nationals Oct. 13. Florida turned in a third-place finish at the South Region Championship in Tallahassee, its third straight top-three finish on the men’s side. Five Gators picked up USTFCCCA All-South Region accolades (Jimmy Clark, Eddie Garcia, JL Hines, Matt Mizereck, Mark Parrish), as UF placed all five scorers in the top 25. Florida posted a fifth-place showing at the 2012 SEC Championship in Nashville, the program’s 16th straight top-five finish. Two athletes were All-SEC selections (Mark Parrish, first team; Phil Duncan, All-Freshman).