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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UF picked up where it left off in 2018: The women leaving their opponents in the dust while the men still try and take that next step to catch up.

Florida’s cross country team made their 2019 season debut Friday morning at the University of North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville. The men’s team finished second to UNF while the women dominated the opening meet of the season, taking first place.

The women had a combined total time of 57:23.49 in the 3K while UNF finished with 59:16.63.

Florida had seven of the top eight finishes and were led by sophomore Imogen Barrett who finished first with a time of 11:15.26.

Payton Capes-Davis (11:21.25) finished second, Grace Blair (11:32.66) placed third and freshman Pamela O’Brien (11:35.32) came in fourth.

Redshirt senior Madison Morse (11:39) was not far behind at sixth. Finally, freshman Emily Culley (11:40.03) and redshirt freshman Sophia Piniella (11:41.70) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

Solinsky was not surprised with how the women performed.

“Women were who I knew we were,” the third-year Florida coach said in a release. “We’re starting right where we left off last year. Imogen [Barrett] ran a strong controlled race in showing signs of a big year. Payton [Capes] showed off all the hard work she has put in and is going to be a big contributor for us.”

For the men, the Gators finished with a combined total time of 1:16:30 while the Ospreys finished with 1:15:11. UNF’s Nathan Jubran finished first and the sophomore had a time of 14:50 in the 5K. The only Gator to finish within the top six was redshirt sophomore Nick Deal. Deal finished second with 14:55, a personal best.

UF freshman Hugh Brittenham secured a top-10 finish in his first meet for Florida when he placed seventh with a time of 15:11. Redshirt senior Jack Guyton rounded out the top 10 in ninth place coming in with a time of 15:22.

“The men had some good lessons today,” Solinsky said. “Nick [Deal] ran tough and competed well individually and the freshman Hugh [Brittenham] competed hard. We have to be better than today and we will.”

Florida will host the Mountain Dew Invitational on Sept. 14 in Gainesville for its next meet.

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