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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

UF’s cross country teams traveled to Tallahassee on Friday to compete in a race. FSU turned it into a training session.

“They didn’t run hard,” UF coach Todd Morgan said. “It’s bizarre. I really don’t know a way to describe it, but it’s what they chose to do.”

Morgan predicted earlier in the week that the Seminoles, like the Gators, would rest the top half of their runners for next week’s Pre-National race in Terre Haute, Ind. The runners who did race would then be able to use the FSU Invitational as a springboard for a spot in the conference meet.

Instead, FSU chose to run more than 50 runners compared to the five women and five men UF brought to the meet. But those Gators runners led the No. 30 men’s team to a second-place finish and the No. 27 women’s team to a fifth-place finish.

Only a few Seminoles runners in the women’s 5K and men’s 8K races chose to compete at a high level, Morgan said. The rest used the race as a practice session, cruising along the Apalachee Regional Park.

In the men’s division, those that did compete were a welcome challenge to the eventual race winner, UF sophomore Alex Schanen, who broke FSU’s course record with a 24:45.3 run.

“It was interesting,” Schanen said. “But it’s not a big deal. We’ll see them again at Regionals. So we’ll be ready for them then.”

After a slow, conservative start over the first two miles of the race, Schanen said he began to move to the front of the pack, where a small selection of runners were collecting. He paced himself with that group until a quarter of a mile remained and then “took off,” leaving second- and third-place finishers, Ben Martucci (Florida Southern) and unattached racer Seth Proctor, behind him.

The win was Schanen’s first as a collegian after redshirting last year with an injured hip.

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