Jessica Pascoe waited nine months to run with the Gators women’s cross country team again. This was abnormal for a UF runner, as they usually compete not only with cross country in the fall but the indoor and outdoor track and field in the spring as well. But when a tightness started to aggravate her foot, the Australia native knew she would not be able to make a return to the course anytime soon.
“It was hard to miss out on track and just being with the team a lot,” Pascoe said. “But in the long run, I think it's gonna benefit me cause I was able to take that time to fully recover, get some good training in and feel strong coming into this season.”
Pascoe was able to run a full season with the cross country team last year, but after competing in the NCAA South Regional Championship in November, the discomfort in her foot was too much to continue on running through the spring. She had just begun to build her reputation as a freshman, placing 32nd overall at the SEC Championship and NCAA South Region Championship, and landing a spot on the 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team. Eventually, Pascoe would spend the rest of her spring semester and summer treating tendon inflammation and tendonitis in her foot.
“Towards the end, the injury started affecting her more and more,” assitant coach Chris Solinsky said. “It took a long time to recover from it throughout the indoor and outdoor track season. This summer has been pretty successful and she had a really good three or four weeks of training here.”
By the time the 2017 cross country season started back up again, Pascoe was ready to test her limits and make an impact on the women’s team. She has proved her resilience by placing first for the Gators in all three meets this fall. This includes finishing second overall in the women’s 5K at the UNF Invitational and fourth at both the Mountain Dew Invitational and FSU Invitational.
“It's in the back of my mind all the time,” Pascoe said. “I had my first workout on the track not too long ago (and) I was very anxious for that, but coach was good about it. I just have to keep on top of it. Doing the little things, stretching and getting treatment and just doing everything right for your body.”
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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.