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<p><span>Lauren Perry runs during the 2016 Mountain Dew Gator Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at Mark Bostick Golf Course.</span></p>

Lauren Perry runs during the 2016 Mountain Dew Gator Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at Mark Bostick Golf Course.

The Florida men’s and women’s cross country teams will return to regular season action on Saturday at the Mountain Dew Invitational, hosted at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville.

“We got a little break due to Irma, but I think it’s recharged them both mentally and physically,” assistant coach Chris Solinsky said. “We’re at a point where we are really excited to test ourselves again. That was definitely a good starting point, it’s always good to get that first race out of the way and work the cobwebs out. It’s a stepping stone.”

The teams are coming off strong showing at the North Florida Invitational on Sept. 7, with five women’s runners and four men’s runners placing in the top 10. Sophomore Jessica Pascoe, who placed second on the women’s side, is excited to perform at the Gators’ only home meet of the season.

“Last year, the home meet was my first meet as a college athlete so it’s just a great environment, with everybody out supporting and cheering your name,” Pascoe said. “(It’s something) you’re not gonna really get in a race with 400 people in different parts of the country, where you don’t know anyone.”

Pascoe is one of many who Solinsky is looking forward to seeing make an impact this weekend. Others include redshirt sophomores Autumn Bartlett and Emily Chapman, who placed behind Pascoe in the women’s 5K at UNF.

“We’ll (also) be seeing Lauren Perry for the first time in uniform this season and I’m really excited to see what she can do,” Solinsky said. “On the guys side I think (Marshall Dillon’s) been doing a really good job. It’s hard to actually pinpoint one guy, because they’ve all been working really well together. So overall just looking to see where the pack is and how much they can improve as a pack.”

This meet will mark the first 8K of the season for the men’s team.

“I’m really looking forward to how me, as well as (a) bunch of the guys, can work together and accomplish something really cool,” redshirt Dillon said. “It’s really our only home meet of the season, so it’s our only shot to show the home fans, family and friends what we can accomplish.”

Regardless of the meet’s results, both teams can look forward to performing alongside a supportive home crowd this weekend. The men’s 8K will begin at 7:55 a.m. and the women’s 5K at 8:30 a.m.

“It’s just fun because you all share that feeling and love for cross country,” Dillon said. “It’s a really good time to have so many people cheering for you, and also the fact that it’s (at) home. I know (for) me, and I’ll speak for a lot of the guys, it’s something that we actually have fun with.”

You can follow Alana Gomez on Twitter @alanaa_gomez, and contact her at

Lauren Perry runs during the 2016 Mountain Dew Gator Invitational on Sept. 24, 2016, at Mark Bostick Golf Course.

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