For the fifth year in a row, the Florida men’s and women’s cross country team will travel to North Carolina to open up the season.
While in years past Florida has opted for the Western Carolina Invitational, this year the team will make the trek to Boone, North Carolina, deciding to switch things up and open the season at the Appalachian State Invitational.
“We’re gonna go out there and try to run as a group,” said cross country head coach Paul Spangler, who also made note of the need for some of the younger runners to get a shot at running with some of the team’s top-guns.
In the past four years and four season-opening meets at Western Carolina, both the gator men and women have taken home first place in every try.
Granted, the first meet of the year isn’t traditionally about competition. Last year at Western Carolina, not only did the men and women win, but both captured first, second, and third place.
With no real meaning other than a morale boost coming from a victory, the point of early meets is more about getting runners some early experience that they can look back on when it counts.
“I think right now, with the first meet of the year, we want to be a little more conservative,” Spangler said, “and save what we have for pre nationals and SECs and Notre Dame later in the year.”
Nevertheless, the Gators have brought home the W from the opening meet every year under Spangler, so come 6 P.M., the Gators likely be looking to lose.
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Taylor Tubbs races in the Southeastern Conference Championships on Nov. 1, 2013, on the Mark Bostick Golf Course.