After finishing in 27th with 722 points at NCAA Pre-Nationals on the men’s side, and 30th with 746 points on the women’s side, the Gators are looking to come out with a strong performance in the upcoming SEC Cross Country Championships in College Station, Texas this weekend.
At Pre-Nationals, redshirt seniors Jimmy Clark and Eddie Garcia led the pack, finishing in 58th and 80th respectively in the 8K race. Clark and Garcia became two of 10 Gators with multiple top-100 finishes at NCAA Pre-Nationals since 2002. Junior Carlos Miranda posted his best 8K time of his career, finishing his race in 173rd place overall with a time of 24:45.6.
Florida Men and Women’s Cross Country Assistant Head Coach Paul Spangler previewed the men’s team going into the SEC Championships.
“[I] saw a lot of good things in terms of the team progressing and getting to where we need to be heading into the SEC Championship and regional. Jimmy [Clark] and Eddie [Garcia] did a good job up front, Carlos Miranada was consistent, and Jack Guyton had his best race of the year.”
“You get a lot of the best teams in the country there competing. There’s also a chance for teams to compete for at-large points to qualify for nationals.”
On the women’s side, the Gators trotted out five freshmen out of six total runners. Freshman Maria Larsen finished in 21st place overall in her first collegiate level 6K race, finishing with a time of 20:29.0. Elisabeth Bergh, another freshman, had a solid day at NCAA Pre-Nationals as well, finishing in 108th place overall, making her and Larsen the first pair of UF freshmen to crack the individual top-125 at Pre-Nationals since 2004. Larsen’s performance was the fourth best by a Gator individual at NCAA Pre-Nationals since 2002.
“I’m excited to see them go out there and compete. Five freshmen and two upper classmen on the women’s side. Pretty young group, [only] Taylor [Tubbs] and Becky [Greene] are the ones coming back with SEC experience.”
For more audio, click below to listen to Florida Men and Women’s Cross Country Assistant Head Coach Paul Spangler