Courtesy of UF Sports Information Department

Gators Men’s Cross Country Team First at FSU Invitational, Women Second

Two and a half hours northwest of Gainesville, you don’t see much orange and blue. That’s because in Tallahassee, they bleed garnet and gold. But on Friday, the Gators cross country team dominated in the FSU Invitational, showing whose colors reign superior.

The men’s team claimed first place in an 8K race, while the UF women’s team came in second in the 5k race. Embry-Riddle and Florida Southern came in second and third, respectively, for the men to round out the top three. LSU took home the women’s title with FIU coming in third.

Redshirt junior Ethan Geiger finished first overall for the men’s race with a time of 24:42. Sophomore Lucinda Rourke  led the women’s team by placing fourth overall with a time of 17:24.

Two other Gators finished in the top 10 of the men’s race: Joe Wester and Aiden Villasuso, who placed third and ninth, respectively. Liina Winborn and Sayla Donnelley placed seventh and eighth in the women’s race, respectively.

Winner’s Mentality

“We executed the race plan very well and I’m just really happy that we got a bunch of guys up there,” Geiger said after claiming his first win at the collegiate level.

During his last outing, the Mountain Dew Invitational, Geiger placed 13th and said that race was tough for him. He had an exam the night before the race, so the stressful week of school threw off his focus. Heading into Friday’s race, he had a different approach.

“Let’s get the school work done ahead of time, let’s make sure we make time to prepare and relax,” he said.

The biggest theme from Geiger’s race was staying patient.

“There were moments in the race where my coach was yelling ‘Stay right here, just be patient,'” he said.

“He made a pretty immediate impact to this team overall,” Geiger said of first-year coach Will Palmer. “It’s great having a coach help us chase each percent along the way.”

Next up

The Gators will travel to Madison to compete in the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational at the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 13.

About Shelby Hickman

Shelby Hickman is a student at the University of Florida studying journalism with a specialization in sports and media.

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