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UF's men's XC squad finished second at the South Region Championships and advanced to 2013 Nationals.

Friday November 15, 2013Gator Men's XC Nationals Bound Behind Parrish's Championship Performance; Women Fourth at Regionals

UF's men's XC squad finished second at the South Region Championships and advanced to 2013 Nationals.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Florida senior Mark Parrish shattered his personal best 10K mark (29.44.24) en route to being UF’s second-ever NCAA South Region Cross Country Champion – the first since 2004 – as the Gator men’s team secured a ticket to nationals for the second time in three years behind the one-two punch of Parrish, junior Jimmy Clark and a second-place team finish (73) at the 2013 NCAA South Regionals Friday. Junior Eddie Garcia scored third for the Gators and ninth overall as the Parrish, Clark, Garcia trio picked up USTFCCCA All-South Region honors.

 

On the women’s side, redshirt junior Cory McGee led the charge for the fourth-place Gators (153) at Harry Pritchett Running Park in Tuscaloosa with a second-place overall finish, as McGee clocked a personal-best 6K (20:00.19) – the second-fastest 6K in Florida history and fastest 6K at regionals, while senior Agata Strausa was close behind in ninth (20:17.97) and just two-tenths of a second off her career-best mark. Both McGee and Strausa earned USTFCCCA All-South Region honors for the Gator women’s squad, as the team will await any potential at-large bids from the NCAA Saturday. McGee’s second-place finish was the highest for the Orange and Blue since Rebecca Lowe won regionals for UF in 2009.

 

NCAA SOUTH REGION CHAMPIONSHIP NOTABLES

·         Senior Mark Parrish became UF’s second-ever NCAA South Region Champion, as Steve Zieminski picked up the men’s regional victory in 2004 (29:35.86) for the Gators. Parrish’s mark shattered his previous PR, set at 2011 nationals (30:32.90)

·         UF’s men advance to nationals as a team for the second time in the last three seasons (2011, 2013), but will have representation at the NCAA Championship for the fourth consecutive season, as UF had individual at-large competitors in both 2010 and 2012 (Parrish/Clark)

·         With UF’s fourth-place finish on the women’s side, the Gators fell shy of an automatic team bid to nationals, but will await one of 13 potential at-large team bids or several individual at-large spots, announced on the NCAA website Saturday

·         UF’s men clocked a top-five regionals finish for the 17th consecutive year and were top three for the fourth straight season

·         On the women’s side, the Gators were top-five at the South Region Championships for the eighth straight year

·         Four of UF’s seven men’s competitors ran personal-best marks, including Mark Parrish, Jimmy Clark, Eddie Garcia and JL Hines. Freshman Carlos Miranda and redshirt freshman Mac Reynolds each ran the first 10K races of their careers donning the Orange and Blue

·         Likewise, four Florida women’s runners clocked personal-best marks Friday at the South Region Championships: Cory McGee, Taylor Tubbs, Macy Huskey and Brittany Koziara

·         McGee, running just her third XC meet since 2011, shattered her previous best PR (20:35.7) set at 2010 regionals, clocking a 20:00.19 and finishing second – the highest finish for a Gator women’s runner at regionals since 2009 when Rebecca Lowe won the event

·         McGee’s 20:00.19 was the second-fastest 6K ever run by a Gator and the fastest ever run at the NCAA South Region Championships

·         Parrish and Clark earned USTFCCCA All-South Region honors for the third-straight season, while Garcia earned his second All-Region nod (2012, 2013)

·         Senior Agata Strausa earned her first All-South Region accolade after finishing 35th overall at last year’s regional championship, and McGee was an All-South Region selection for the third time (2010, 2011, 2013)

 

SPANGLER SPEAKS
Florida assistant track and cross country coach Paul Spangler

On the men’s race and qualifying for nationals Friday:

“I thought the men did a really good job. One of our goals this year was to get them back to nationals and we accomplished that. Obviously we wanted to win. We beat UGA twice this year by the closest of margins and knew they would be tough and give us a run. Hats off to them, they were the better team today. I am happy for our guys to be able to get back to the NCAA Championships.”

 

On Mark Parrish’s victory and the strategic race he ran:

“Mark threw down a move with about a mile and a half to go in the race and that was a really great move in a difficult point of the race. He took a risk, made a move and it paid off. I’m really happy with how he did today. He won his senior year – he’s been up in the mix for a couple years now and to come out with a victory at regionals his senior year is a great accomplishment. With Jimmy (Clark) finishing second and Florida going one-two – we couldn’t have asked for more. Eddie (Garcia) also had a solid effort today to continue his break-through season. Those guys did a really great job up front.”

 

On Cory McGee’s second-place performance on the women’s side:

“That was a huge race for Cory and I couldn’t be more proud of her. With about a mile to go, she broke away from the pack, but was passed about 30 meters before the finish line. For her, the last couple of races haven’t been up to her standards or what she’s capable of. She came out today and proved why she’s one of the best runners in the country. We’re very proud of what she did today.”

 

On the women’s team finish:

“Last year we were fourth at regionals on the women’s side and earned an at-large team bid to nationals. It’s really tough to predict and we really won’t know – we’ll have to see what happens in the other regionals. Certainly we needed to do better on the women’s side, but we’ll wait to see (Sunday) if the women secure an at-large berth.”

 

2013 NCAA South Region Champion Mark Parrish

On his 10K win at the South Region Championship:

“The regionals race is the national qualifier, so it’s usually a little more conservative – a lot of individuals that can run fast are focused on their teams and tend to go slower to make sure the entire team is on pace. That held true through about 5K. At the 5K point, there was a little bit of a split where some of the fastest guys – about a pack of eight or nine – split off in the lead fleet. Once we were in the pack, I took a little bit of a look at the guys around me and a couple that I know are very strong runners didn’t seem to be as fresh. I decided I felt good and that I needed to go for it. I felt good when I took the move and I felt confident I could do it and maintain successfully – I kept checking myself to make sure I didn’t slow down or let any pain creep in. I really had fun and enjoyed the race.”

 

On winning the Regional Championship his senior season:

“I am really happy about it. I’ve been close to being the winner a couple of times. Our region is very talented and I’m just really excited. The other thing that was cool – I’m a track athlete and my events are the 3K steeplechase and the 5K, I’m not generally a 10K person. It was nice to be able to go out there and run a 10K in cross. I have been doing well in the 8K, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate this year in 10K. To be able to represent the Gators and my family here was really exciting – and to do it as the men’s team qualified for nationals – it was a great experience to be able to win and show up for the Gators.”

 

UP NEXT
The Orange and Blue will now set its sights on the 2013 NCAA Championships, slated for Sat., Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind., at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. For everything leading up to nationals, stay posted to www.GatorZone.com/crosscountry.

 

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Facebook & Twitter: @GatorZoneXCntry, @GZTrackField

 

GATORS RESULTS

Gator Men (Complete Results)

1. Mark Parrish, 29:44.24 * – USTFCCCA All-South Region

2. Jimmy Clark, 29:49.46 * – USTFCCCA All-South Region

9. Eddie Garcia, 30:15.78 * – USTFCCC All-South Region

29. Carlos Miranda, 30:50.05 *

32. JL Hines, 30:54.76 *

52. Mac Reynolds, 31:24.70 *

138. Harsha Torke, 33:34.36

 

Gator Women (Complete Results)

2. Cory McGee, 20:00.19 * – USTFCCCA All-South Region

9. Agata Strausa, 20:17.97 – USTFCCCA All-South Region

33. Taylor Tubbs, 20:59.36 *

54. Julie Macedo, 21:24.34

63. Shelby Hayes, 21:30.73

86. Macy Huskey, 21:51.58 *

117. Brittany Koziara, 22:15.93 *

 

NCAA SOUTH REGION TOP-10 MEN’S TEAM FINISHERS

1.     Georgia, 72

2.     Florida, 73

3.     Florida State, 101

4.     Auburn, 117

5.     Tennessee, 181

6.     Lipscomb, 199

7.     Mississippi State, 242

8.     Belmont, 253

9.     Ole Miss, 255

10.   Georgia Tech, 263

 

NCAA SOUTH REGION TOP-10 WOMEN’S TEAM FINISHERS

1.     Florida State, 35

2.     Vanderbilt, 116

3.     Alabama, 143

4.     Florida, 153

5.     Ole Miss, 169

6.     Georgia, 175

7.     Mississippi State, 198

8.     Lipscomb, 223

9.     Tennessee, 231

10.   Auburn, 303

 

 

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