The Florida men and women’s cross country teams competed in the Southeastern Conference Championship at the University of Arkansas’ Agri Park on Friday.
Despite sharp performances from young runners on the day, both teams finished eighth, marking only the third time since 2005 that the women have finished outside the top five and only the third time the men have failed to reach the top five since 1997.
Entering the season, both teams were projected by the SEC Coaches Preseason Poll to finish within the conference’s top five, with the men projected fifth of thirteen teams and the women fourth of fourteen teams.
Sophomore Elisabeth Bergh ran in only her third meet of the season. A year ago, Bergh finished 21st overall and took SEC All-Freshman Team honors. This year the Norwegian finished sixth overall and became the first Gator since Agata Strausa in 2013 to take home All-SEC First Team honors.
Freshman Jessica Pascoe captured 32nd place as well as SEC All-Freshman distinctions. The Aussie finished seventh among freshmen, giving her the last spot on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
On the men’s side Colin Schaefer also finished on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Schaefer took 54th overall, good for fourth on the team but placing him sixth among freshman runners.
In addition, three Gator athletes competed in their last SEC Championship on Friday.
Redshirt-senior Mac Reynolds finished at the top of the list for the Gator men, finishing 19th overall. It was Reynolds’ best finish since the Mountain Dew Invitational hosted by Florida in September, and Reynolds improved thirty spots compared to his 49th place finish at the SEC Championship last season.
For seniors Carlos Miranda and Taylor Tubbs, Friday’s race in Fayetteville proved more disappointing. Both Miranda and Tubbs entered as the top athletes for their respective teams, but toth seniors finished outside the top 25, with Miranda taking 50th overall for the men and Tubbs placing 37th for the women.
The Gator cross country teams next travel to Tallahassee on Nov. 11 to compete in the NCAA South Regional Championship.
Carlos Miranda runs during the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.