Muggy weather welcomed the scores of runners at the 23rd annual Mountain Dew Invitational Saturday morning. But before the sun finally broke through the gloomy fall sky, the Gators already found themselves standing in the spotlight.
Florida’s No. 25 women’s runners won their seventh-straight MDI title, while the No. 28 men’s team was edged by just four points behind Michigan to claim second place.
Although the streak of six consecutive wins for both the men’s and women’s cross country teams at their lone home meet was snapped, as the UF men fell short of first place for the first time all year, coach Todd Morgan was still impressed with both teams’ performance against a tougher field.
“The competition level was a little different this year and we knew that going in, so I was happy with both teams,” Morgan said. “I was happy the way they competed.”
The Gators have hosted the invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in each year of its existence and usually just compete against other schools from around the state. However, this year, Florida reached out to North Carolina and Michigan.
This newfound early competition for the Gators at their home meet only drove them to push harder for faster results.
Matt Mizereck (24:38.50) finished second overall and first among his teammates and accredited his performance to the out-of-state runners.
“Without that kind of pace to go out on, I probably would not have ran as fast as I did today,” he said. “And to be honest, if they weren’t here, I probably would not be as happy with my race. I’m glad they came down.”
In the women’s 5k race, senior Genevieve LaCaze, junior Florence N’Getich and sophomore Cory McGee had no trouble as they dominated throughout the race to capture the top three overall spots respectively and yet another first place trophy.