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<p>UF's Eddie Garcia (157) leads the pack during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.</p>

UF's Eddie Garcia (157) leads the pack during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

"Forget the (other) teams."

With three words, Florida cross country coach Paul Spangler summarized his team’s perspective leading into this weekend’s NCAA South Regional Championships.

Cut out the white noise.

Stick to the race plan.

Run the race you’re capable of.

That last point, however, has proved contentious in the weeks building up to Friday’s meet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The talent is there, but races aren’t won on paper.

The Gators, this late into the 2015 campaign, are still seeking to tap into unfulfilled potential.

"What we didn’t have on the men’s side is production out of our 3, 4 and 5," Spangler noted.

"And certainly, that was something going into the race that we needed to have for us to be successful and achieve our goals as a team."

The women suffer from the same condition.

"I know Maddox (Patterson) did a good job as our fourth runner, but we didn’t quite have the production that we needed out of our fifth runner. We would’ve liked to have our fourth runner farther up, so those things affected our team score."

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Talent isn’t the issue — far from it.

Backing up leaders Clark and Garcia, redshirt junior Mac Reynolds, freshman Jack Guyton and redshirt senior Charles Chambers legged out collegiate personal bests.

The women’s depth runners — freshmen Elisabeth Bergh and Patterson and redshirt sophomore Becky Greene — turned in workman-like performances, with freshman duo Bergh and Patterson running collegiate best 6ks.

The team, both men and women, need to run as a unit.

It’s a problem that’s common across team sports, amplified in contests where the component of the individual factors into overall success.

Find a football team that has scored a touchdown with 11 players on 11 different pages of the playbook.

Point out a soccer team that hasn’t gotten blown out with forwards, midfielders and defensemen running different formations.

Teamwork breeds success, and for these Gators, adhering to the race plan and fulfilling their roles will prove crucial if they hope to find success at the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The skill isn’t latent — the men’s contingent has defeated all others in the region, the exception being Ole Miss.

What it boils down to is staying calm and trusting the runners behind you to do their job.

"We’ve got to do a better job of following the race plan. And we have a lot of guys can fill in that 3 4 and 5 spot, and so we’ve got to go out there and run as a team," Spangler said.

"Jimmy and Eddie are going to do their thing up front, just like they’ve always done, and then our other five guys are going to go out there and run as a team.

"That’s what we’ve got to do to be successful."

 Follow Alejandro Lopez on Twitter @ajlb95

UF's Eddie Garcia (157) leads the pack during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

While the Gators failed to qualify as a team for the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championship, fifth-year seniors ended their decorated careers on a high note and are now ready to pass the leadership torch to their younger teammates. Here's Alejandro Lopez's feature on the two seniors (

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