Friday brings the second meet for the Florida cross country team, as they travel to Tallahassee to compete in the FSU Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park. Both the men’s and women’s teams look to finish as they did last year: first.
The men come into this meet looking to improve on their third place finish at the Mountain Dew Invitational two weeks ago. At last year's FSU Invitational, the men won by a razor thin margin of only three points, ending with 34 and beating University of North Florida’s 37. Eleven of the current runners on the roster ran last year's edition, with junior Matt Clark leading the way for the Gators at third overall with a time of 24:43.0. As well as Clark, many of the runners also posted impressive times for an event so early on in the season. Two of them had a time under 25:30, with junior Trevor Foley clocking in at 25:19.0 and redshirt senior Blake Lowry finishing with a time of 25:24.4. UF will also be hoping to reach into their untapped potential by the fact that its two best finishers in the Mountain Dew Invitational, Ethan Geiger and Angel Vicioso, did not compete in Tallahassee last year.
The women are also hoping to retain their title from last year. They crushed the competition with a score of 29 and finished 34 points above their competition in FSU. Nine women who competed in last year’s 5k are on this season’s roster as senior Payton Capes-Davis looks to become the leader the team needs due to last year’s race winner in Jessica Pascoe graduating. Capes-Davis, who placed fourth, was among four Gator’s to finish in the top ten last year. She was accompanied by Imogen Barret and Pamela O’Brien, who finished in seventh and eighth, respectively. This is also the first race since junior Maria Fernandez has completed her quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sep. 11.
In terms of the other teams on the course, more competitive schools will be in attendance compared to both the Mountain Dew Invitational and the 2019 FSU XC Invitational. The three schools that were present at the Mountain Dew Invitational (FSU, Miami and Georgia Tech) will be racing as well six other schools, including SEC foes Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, LSU in the men’s 8k and Mississippi State University in the women’s 5k. Boston College and Clemson round out the teams from the ACC.
The men’s 8k is set to begin at 7:40 a.m., with the women set to follow shortly after at 8:10 a.m.
Contact Myles Herbert at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @myles_herbert.
The Gators are traveling to Tallahassee for the FSU Invitational.