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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Editor’s Note: Quotes from assistant coach Chris Solinsky were received via text message from the team’s SID Carroll Rich on Friday after the meet.

 

The Florida cross country season may be just about over.

Both the men’s and women’s teams came in eighth place at the NCAA South Regional Championships in Tallahassee on Friday in what was the last opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships later this month.

Since both teams did not finish in the top two, neither Florida squad qualified for NCAAs on Nov. 23 outright. The 13 “at-large” spots left for the NCAAs will be decided at a later time. All Florida can do now is wait.

UF assistant coach Chris Solinsky had high expectations for his team and was disappointed in the meet. However, he is looking forward to what lies ahead for the program.

“Today was a culmination of a tough year of growth for our men’s and women’s team,” Solinsky said. “We had a lot of good things happen this year that show great things in the future.”

The UF women’s cross country team was coming off of a season-low 11th-place finish at the SEC Championships two weeks ago and did everything it could to replicate last year’s success by placing in the top two in Tallahassee. It wasn’t meant to be, however.

Senior Jessica Pascoe (20:14.2) continued to lead Florida and finished second behind only Auburn junior Joyce Kimeli (19:59.5).

Kimeli’s efforts weren’t enough for the Tigers, who finished ninth.

Behind Pascoe for the Gators was sophomore Imogen Barrett (21:04.1) at 31st followed by redshirt senior Elisabeth Bergh (21:05.0) at 33rd.

“It was good to see Imogen and Elisabeth look more like themselves after having a rough season with sickness,” Solinsky said. “We had a young and inexperienced team that really learned a lot this year which makes me excited for track and field next season.”

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The rest of the Gators on the women’s team finished outside of the top 50.

The hosting No. 12 Florida State Seminoles won the women’s 6K with No. 27 Ole Miss coming in second.

On the men’s side, redshirt junior Colin Schaefer set a personal record in the 10K when he finished 22nd with a time of 31:00.3. Redshirt senior Jack Guyton (31:31.4) finished 41st overall followed by redshirt sophomore Nick Deal (31:36.0) at 45th to round out the top three for Florida.

“The men did a good job today,” Solinsky said. “Colin is growing with experience and confidence. He ran a great race and he is just getting started with what he is capable of.”

No. 11 Ole Miss won the men’s 10K with No. 15 Middle Tennessee State University coming in second.

Florida’s fate has yet to be decided but one thing is for sure: Pascoe will be heading to Terre Haute, Indiana, for NCAAs.

Four of the top runners at a regional meet who are on a team that did not qualify for the NCAAs will still be invited to compete as an individual. Whether it is part of the women’s team or as a lone runner, Pascoe’s UF cross country career isn’t over just yet.

“Jess got the job done today,” Solinsky said. “She did a great job of running what she needed for the team and herself without leaving it all on the course. She will be ready to really compete for another All-American spot and high finish next weekend.”

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

 

 

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