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Saturday, May 18, 2024
<p>Junior Jessica Pascoe (middle) and senior Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell (right) compete in the Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in 2017 alongside former-Gator Lauren Perry.</p>

Junior Jessica Pascoe (middle) and senior Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell (right) compete in the Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in 2017 alongside former-Gator Lauren Perry.

For the fourth-consecutive year, the Florida women’s cross country team finished in first place in their only home meet of the season at the Mountain Dew Invitational this Saturday. Three runners were able to finish in the top 15, while the men’s team placed third in the event overall.

Both the men’s and women’s team had three runners place within the top 25.

“We’re starting to see packs of runners,” assistant coach Chris Solinsky said. “They’re starting to learn how to work together, and that's exciting as a coach to see them work together and gain confidence together.”

Leading the pack on the women’s side during the 5k race was sophomore Jessica Pascoe, who placed fourth in the event with a time of 17:48.60.

“It was another step forward for us as a team,” Pascoe said. “UNF was kind of sprung on us two weeks ago and today we were a little more prepared. It's just great to get out there and have some fun in a good environment and atmosphere with everyone out supporting. We’ll just keep progressing.”

Saturday’s meet marked the first appearance of redshirt juniors Morgan Hull and Lauren Perry, who put up an impressive front in the women’s top 15. Perry was able to make a ninth-place finish at 18:17.50 with Hull ending the race just three places after her at 18:24.10.

The men's team saw success in its underclassmen, whose individual times within the top 25 pulled the pack up to third place in the event.

Redshirt freshman Blake Lowery was a large contributor to the men’s team’s strong finish. He showed his ability as a runner competing in his first 8k by placing highest on the men’s team with a time of 26:08.80.

“(I was) a little bit slower than I wanted to be, but I don’t know if there’s such (a) thing as a perfect race,” Lowery said. “I was really happy with how I did, (and) with how everybody else did. We were all working really hard, all finished there close together so it could have been anybody that was first on our team, which I really like about our squad.”

Just .2 seconds behind Lowery was redshirt sophomore Mac Macoy with a time of 26:10.40. Redshirt freshman Dominic Williams’ finish in the 25th slot marked the end of the men’s team in the top 25.

“Biggest takeaway I think is just building momentum,” Solinsky said. “It’ll kind of be the theme of the year and you might get bored of me saying it, but today they did a really good job of continuing to build momentum that we started at North Florida.”

The Gators will compete next in Tallahassee for the Florida State Invitational on Oct. 6.

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You can follow Alana Gomez on Twitter @alanaa_gomez, and contact her at agomez@alligator.org.

Junior Jessica Pascoe (middle) and senior Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell (right) compete in the Mountain Dew Invitational on Saturday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in 2017 alongside former-Gator Lauren Perry.

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