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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Florida will compete in the Arturo Barrios Invitational in College Station, Texas, on Saturday at 9 a.m., hosted by the Texas A&M Aggies. It will be UF’s final meet before the SEC Championship.

The Gators are coming off their second sweep of the season after visiting FSU on Oct. 11. For the first time in a while, the team is optimistic after dealing with sickness and multiple setbacks.

One runner who has appeared to be impervious to the distractions of the season thus far is Jessica Pascoe.

The senior has done everything she can for the Gators in the last three meets, placing first in all of them. Pascoe was recognized after the FSU Invitational by the USTFCCCA on Monday as the NCAA Division I Women’s National Athlete of the Week.

Assistant coach Chris Solinsky has been able to depend on her while some of his best runners have been plagued by sickness. 

Junior Payton Capes-Davis has stepped up for the women as well. The transfer from Bucknell University has been the second Gator to cross the finish line in every meet so far this season.

“This is the most mentally comfortable I’ve ever been with racing and running in my life,” Capes-Davis said.

The New York native said that she’s often struggled with anxiety and nervousness before races in the past but feels like this is the best she has ever been in her career.

The men’s team, on the other hand, has been up and down this year, as it is coming off a first-place finish at FSU as well, but before that placed ninth at the Virginia Invitational — a low point of the year.

In addition, the Gators will be missing two key runners over the weekend.

Florida will be without redshirt seniors Elisabeth Bergh and Jack Guyton when they travel to College Station because they will both be on a travel-abroad trip for school.

Solinsky has often preached to his team that it needs to be aggressive and confident in situations like this. The Gators will get that chance come Saturday.

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Follow Joseph Salvador on Twitter @JSalvadorSports. Contact him at jsalvador@alligator.org

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