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Monday, June 24, 2024

While UF and Auburn face off in The Swamp this weekend, the Gators cross country teams will be heading into Tigers territory for their first road trip of the season.

Both the women and the men head into the Auburn Invitational coming off first-place finishes in their home opener, the Mountain Dew Invitational, on Sept. 7.

The women?s team is No. 30 in the nation, while the men?s team looks to break into the rankings for the first time this season.

The Gators will be led by seniors Enoch Nadler and Lindsay Sundell, who will compete for the first time since being named the Southeastern Conference Male and Female Athletes of The Week on Sept. 11.

The women will face slightly stiffer competition than the men, as No. 14 Iowa is the only other ranked team in either field.

The Hawkeyes also boast All-America runners in seniors Racheal Marchand and Diane Nukuri.

The Gators aren?t daunted by the challenge, instead viewing the competition as a way to measure their own talent.

BThe team?s going to do really well,C junior Kathryn Kramer said. BWe?re really, really strong this year.C

Redshirt senior Jeremy Miller is eager to help lead the men?s squad after coming back from an injury and redshirting last season.

BRight now I feel 100 percent,C he said. BI?m just feeling strong and ready to run fast and compete again. A top-10 finish should be pretty reasonable for myself.C

Having experienced leaders on each team is a plus for the Gators and will no doubt help them on the road.

BThe leadership we have now is really good compared to what we?ve had in the past,C UF coach Jeff Pigg said. BWe?re all pretty close knit.C

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The Gators view the road trip as a way to prepare for the Pre-NCAA Invitational on Oct. 13, so the teams must take this opportunity to improve if they want to compete with the best.

BWe want to go in and race good people and see where we stack up,C Pigg said. BWe?re anxious to do that right now because we know it?s going to be good.C

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