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<p>Jimmy Clark (1734) runs at the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 14 in Gainesville.</p>

Jimmy Clark (1734) runs at the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 14 in Gainesville.

Mark Parrish and Jimmy Clark have rewritten Florida’s record books again.

Finishing 1-2 at the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the duo led the Gators to a second-place finish, the team’s fourth consecutive top three finish at the meet.

After finishing fifth in both of his last two attempts at the regional meet, Parrish led the pack at the 8K mark and never looked back.

The senior finished the race on the Harry Pritchett Running Park with a time of 29:44.24, clinching his first regional win and crushing his personal-best 10K time from the 2011 NCAA Championships by 48.66 seconds.

“Once we were in the pack, I took a little bit of a look at the guys around me and a couple that I know are very strong runners didn’t seem to be as fresh,” Parrish said. “I decided I felt good and that I needed to go for it.”

Clark finished about five seconds later with a time of 29:49.46 – more than a minute faster than his career-best 30:51.0 set at the regional championship a year ago – to take second place.

Junior Eddie Garcia also finished in the top 10, crossing the line ninth in the 159-competitor field with a time of 30:15.78, a personal-record by 35.52 seconds.

Freshman Carlos Miranda (29th, 30:50.05) and junior JL Hines (32nd, 30:54.76) rounded out the top five runners for the Gators.

Florida topped 24 teams at the regional meet, losing by only one point to Georgia. By finishing second, Florida earned a guaranteed spot in the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

“One of our goals this year was to get them back to nationals and we accomplished that,” coach Paul Spangler said. “We beat UGA twice this year by the closest of margins and knew they would be tough and give us a run.”

McGee runs personal best as women finish fourth: Despite a strong performance from two of its top runners, the women’s cross country team fell short once again, finishing the NCAA Regional Championships in fourth place for the second year in a row. They finished behind Florida State, Vanderbilt and Alabama.

Cory McGee was the second individual to complete the race on the Harry Pritchett Running Course, finishing the 6K race with a career-best time of 20:00.19, the second-best 6K race in Florida history behind only Erin Merten’s 2001 SEC Championship run time of 19:44.04.

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“That was a huge race for Cory and I couldn’t be more proud of her,” Spangler said. “She came out today and proved why she’s one of the best runners in the country.”

Redshirt senior Agata Strausa also cracked the top 10 at the meet, finishing ninth out of 194 runners in 20:17.97.

“I’m still hungry to improve my time, especially since it’s my last season,” Strausa said. “So every race is just another chance to run even better.”

Freshman Taylor Tubbs cracked the 21 minute mark for the first time as a Gator, finishing 33rd with a time of 20:59.36.

“Early in the cross country season, before our first meet, we had a pretty good indication that she was going to be pretty good,” Spangler said of Tubbs prior to the Southeastern Conference Championships. “She’s improved so much since high school. … She’s been able to step it up with Stephanie Strasser out and Shelby Hayes being out for a little bit there.”

Sophomore Julie Macedo (54th, 21:24.34) and senior Shelby Hayes (63rd, 21:30.73) rounded out the top five scorers for Florida.

The team now has to wait until Sunday to find out if they earn one of the 13 at-large bids for next Saturday’s NCAA Championships.

“Last year we were fourth at regionals on the women’s side and earned an at-large team bid to nationals,” Spangler said. “It’s really tough to predict and we really won’t know – we’ll have to see what happens in the other regionals.”

Follow Jordan McPherson on Twitter @J_McPherson1126.

Jimmy Clark (1734) runs at the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 14 in Gainesville.

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