The UF cross country teams took advantage of their home-field advantage Saturday morning. Well, their home-course advantage.
The Mark Bostick Golf Course played host to the 2018 Mountain Dew Invitational. Both the men and the women teams posted top-3 finishes as the Gators continued the momentum the earned from their top-3 finishes in their first meets.
UF women win fifth consecutive home tourney
Florida’s women continued their recent dominance of the home event, coming in first place over North Florida (2nd) and Florida State (3rd) in the field of 27 teams.
Individually, four Gators finished in the top 20 out of 270 runners. Junior Jessica Pascoe once again led the way for the team, finishing in first (16:13.87) and picking up her second individual title of the season. It was the native Australian’s personal best in a 5K by 58 seconds.
"I love the home meet,” Pascoe said. “It's so much fun having all the track team out and to have all the other sports out to support you and see what we do every morning. It's so much fun that everyone performed well today.”
Redshirt junior Elisabeth Bergh also stood out for the Gators. She crossed the finish line just over 16 seconds after Pascoe (16:56.99). She and senior Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell (16:57.64) finished nearly simultaneously.
The last of the top-20 finishers for UF, freshman Grace Blair, managed to come in 17th Saturday morning with a time of 17:47.44.
Coach Chris Solinsky said he was pleased with the results, but that he preached patience to his runners afterward.
“Let's be patient the first lap,” Solinsky said, “make sure we are establishing position and just going through the motions like we do in practice."
Florida men finish in third place
The UF men settled for a third-place finish Saturday behind first-place Florida A&M and runner-up Tennessee Tech. The Gators did, however, produce positive results individually with five top-25 runners.
Sophomore Colin Schaefer led the way for Florida. He finished in fourth with a personal-best 8K time of 24:29.96.
"I'm super happy I got to perform well at the home course," Schaefer said. "I was really happy our whole team came together and performed really well because it's not all about me."
Redshirt junior Jack Guyton (24:54.17) narrowly missed a top-10 finish, coming in 11th for the Gators. His teammate, redshirt freshman Nick Deal (25:17.08), just missed a top-15 finish.
Redshirt junior Magnus Pettersen (25:21.45) and redshirt sophomore Jesse Millson (25:37.56) rounded out Florida’s top-25 performers.
"The men did a good job of responding to two pretty darn good teams," Solinsky said. "I think where we are in training, we can put ourselves in a position to be competitive with those teams when it matters at the regional meet (on Nov. 9)."
The teams will compete next in a few weeks at the FSU Invitational in Tallahassee on Oct. 12 and the Arturo Barrios Invitational in College Station, Texas, on Oct. 13.
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UF's women's cross country team won its fifth straight Mountain Dew Invitational Saturday morning in Gainesville.