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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Gators’ cross country record book has three new entries after the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Saturday.

Senior Mark Parrish led the men’s team in Madison, finishing 11th in the 8K race on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course with a time of 23:34, one second faster than the school record set by Jeremy Criscione at the SEC Championships in Starkville, Miss., on Nov. 3, 2008.

“A school record and 11th in that field was impressive.” coach Paul Spangler said of the Tampa native.

Junior Jimmy Clark, who finished second for the Gators and 30th overall this weekend, ran the tenth-fasted 8K race in school history with a time of 23:52.

Rounding out the top five for the men were junior Eddie Garcia (24:12), freshman Carlos Miranda (24:59) and redshirt freshman Mac Reynolds (25:41), who crossed the finish line 74th, 198th, and 229th, respectively. All three of them ran personal best races.

Paving the way for the women for the third time this season, redshirt senior Agata Strausa finished 26th overall in Wisconsin. By clocking a career-best time of 20:18 Saturday, the Latvia native now holds Florida’s fifth-fastest 6K time.

“This is only my second cross country season, and it has been going way better than my first,” Strausa said.

Redshirt junior Cory McGee (20:49) finished second for Florida and 66th overall in her first cross country meet in two years, followed by freshman Taylor Tubbs (21:15), sophomore Julie Macedo (21:16) and senior Shelby Hayes (22:26), who crossed the finish line 124th, 127th and 234th, respectively. Tubbs and Macedo both ran personal best races.

Even though both teams finished 22nd overall at Wisconsin, Spangler is impressed with the progress the teams have made as the Southeastern Conference Championships draw closer.

“We made some good steps forward on both sides towards getting the women’s team back to nationals and the men’s team to nationals for the first time since 2011,” he said. “For the women, we’re a different team with Shelby (Hayes) fit and on the men’s side, we’re a different team with JL (Hines) in the lineup and we’ll hope to have him back for the championship races in the next couple of weeks.”

The teams have two weeks to prepare for the SEC Championships on Nov. 1, which will be raced on the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville for the first time since 2002.

“When the opportunity came up for us to host, we jumped on it immediately,” Spangler said. “It’s something we’ve got to take advantage of and I know we’re excited moving forward to it in two weeks.”

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Added Macedo: “I think it’s a huge benefit (to race at home). We work out on the golf course at least once a week. It’s our home. We know it better than anyone else. We know the hills. We’re ready for the grass. You underestimate it, but it’s not easy to run on grass.“

Follow Jordan McPherson on Twitter @J_McPherson1126.

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