Marshall Dillon hasn’t wasted any time making an impact for the UF men’s cross country team. In his third career race for the Gators, the redshirt freshman posted a personal-best time and 38th-place finish at the SEC Championships on Friday in Athens, Georgia.
“Marshall competed like a veteran,” assistant coach Chris Solinsky said in a release. “He ran a patient, tough race that resulted in a 40-second personal best on a tough course.”
With a time of 25:03.9, Dillon earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team and helped UF’s men’s team finish in 10th place at the conference title meet.
“He has big goals,” Solinsky said of Dillon, “and (he) is well on his way to achieve those if he keeps this up.”
Dillon wasn’t the only Gator to contribute on Friday. Florida also had help from FSU Invitational leader redshirt sophomore Jack Rogers with a time 25:08.80 and redshirt freshman Blake Lowery 33 seconds behind him in 69th. This is the fourth time the men were not able to place in the top five at the SEC Championship since 1997.
“The men did a great job of putting themselves in the heat of a deep field and battling,” Solinksy said. “That resulted in many of them running at or below their personal bests on a difficult course. Our top five ran with heart and did a great job of picking off people in the last thousand meters.”
The woman have struggled with some injuries this season, but were able to put new faces at the front of the pack today in their finish at 13th overall. Redshirt junior Morgan Hull took the lead for the women, a spot usually taken by sophomore Jessica Pascoe, who was first for the Gators in their last three meets but finished 74th today. After Hull was junior Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell in 73rd with a time of 22:15.80.
“The women have been snake bit this year with really random issues popping up and they still ran tough today,” Solinksy said. “Morgan and Caitlin made some pretty good breakthroughs.”
Solinsky will get to see more of Hull and McQuilkin-Bell in two weeks at Florida’s next meet, the NCAA South Regional Championship in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Nov. 10.
“I’m excited for them to continue to surprise themselves with what they can accomplish,” Solinksy said. “The future is bright.”
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UF runner Marshall Dillon led all Florida runners with a personal-best time of 25:03.9, good enough for 38th place and a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team.