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<p>Carlos Miranda races during the Southeastern Conference Championships on Nov. 1 in Gainesville. Miranda placed 29th, as the Gators finished second in the meet.</p>

Carlos Miranda races during the Southeastern Conference Championships on Nov. 1 in Gainesville. Miranda placed 29th, as the Gators finished second in the meet.

When the season started, Carlos Miranda did not expect to be a contributor on Florida’s cross country team.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know I was going to be able to be on the varsity team coming in,” Miranda said. “I wasn’t that confident because all the guys were really good here.”

But as the season progressed, the Naples freshman became a valuable asset for the Gators.

He is Florida’s only runner to score in all six meets this season.

“With freshmen coming in, consistency can be tough because the training is such a higher level than their used to,” coach Paul Spangler said.

“It’s just a matter of how their body is going to adapt, and he’s just been consistent all year.”

Miranda’s times have improved in every meet this year.

His time in 5K races improved from 15:32.14 at the Western Carolina Invitational on Aug. 30 to a 15:17.60 at the FLRunners.com Invitational four weeks later.

The first-year runner has also broken the 25-minute barrier in an 8K race twice this season, with his fastest time coming at the Southeastern Conference Championships on Nov. 1.

On UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course, Miranda ran a 24:55.40 en route to earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team.

“I was pretty happy to break 25 on our course,” the three-time SEC Freshman of the Week said.

“I wanted to run somewhere close to the 24:30s, but I’ll take a sub-25 on our course any day.”

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At the NCAA South Regional Championships on Friday, Miranda ran his first 10K race as a Gator in 30:50.05, good enough for a 29th overall finish out of 173 runners.

“For Carlos to run that well, that’s a really good thing for the program,” Mark Parrish said.

“Being a senior, I like to see some of the younger guys run fast and perform well. The 10K, that’s a hard distance for a freshman to run, so to be able to see that there is some young talent on the team is exciting.”

With the NCAA Championships approaching, Miranda doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.

“I felt unstoppable and felt like I could have kept on going,” he said about running at the regional race. “I definitely want to help out, at least try and crack the 200 spot, maybe help the team get a top-20 finish (or) top-10 finish would be nice.”

Added Parrish: “I think Carlos has a couple more seconds that he can cut off his time. It was his first 10K, so obviously it was a learning experience for him.”

Follow Jordan McPherson on Twitter @J_McPherson1126.

Carlos Miranda races during the Southeastern Conference Championships on Nov. 1 in Gainesville. Miranda placed 29th, as the Gators finished second in the meet.

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