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<p>Carlos Miranda runs during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.</p>

Carlos Miranda runs during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

In front of a home crowd, Florida’s seniors had possibly the best performances of their careers on Saturday.

Carlos Miranda had the first first-place finish of his career and ended the race with the best time among all Division I racers, while Mac Reynolds tied for his second-best finish.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams placed first in the Mountain Dew Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course. It marked the third-consecutive year the women’s squad won the event and the first time the men took home the win since 2013.

All 10 of the runners of Florida’s men’s team finished within the top 25, with five finishing in the top 10.

With Miranda and fifth-place finisher Mac Reynolds taking part in their final home meet of their careers, emotions were high.

“It was a little bit surreal, it being my last meet here at the home course,” Reynolds said. “But it’s a kickoff to getting the season going.”

The younger runners also had a large impact on the end result. When asked who impressed him the most during the race for the men, Florida coach Paul Spangler didn’t hesitate.

“Colin Schaefer,” he said. “He’s a true freshman, and for him to step up into that spot and finish where he did, that’s impressive.”

Schaefer finished third, beating out many runners much older than him, including other Gators. No other freshman finished in the top 10.

Sophomore Magnus Pettersen saw his first action of the season, taking fourth overall.

“It shows we’re up there,” Pettersen said. “We haven’t won this race in two years … it gives us confidence going into the next race.”

The women had just as much success, including highlight performances from multiple runners.

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Eight of the 10 runners placed within the top 25, with four of them cracking the top 10.

Freshman Jessica Pascoe had an impressive debut, finishing second overall and five seconds ahead of third place. Hannah Brookover continued an impressive start to her freshman campaign, finishing 11th. Brookover had an eighth-place finish at the Covered Bridge Open in UF’s opening meet on Sept. 2

Senior Taylor Tubbs, who was racing in her final home meet as well, grabbed the fourth-place finish. While her performance was solid, Tubbs still knows that future matches will be even more intense.

“I think this meet, so early in the season, was more of a relaxed meet,” Tubbs said. “Later on, it’ll be important to keep people relaxed and still focused on the goal.”

The Gators will compete in meets the for three consecutive weekends, starting with the Paul Short Run on Oct. 1 in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, which the team hasn’t competed in since 2014.

And despite the win, Florida had already shifted their focus toward its next meet.

“We’re doing the small things to get better,” Pettersen said. “We need to take the confidence we get out of this, and use it for the next race.”

 Contact Skyler Lebron at Slebron@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @Skylerlebron

Carlos Miranda runs during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

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