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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Florida will travel to Alabama to compete in the Blazer Classic for its last meet of the regular season Friday. This is the first time in program history that Florida will run in this meet hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

There will be many familiar faces vying for first place on Friday, as UF will be joined by Florida State and Georgia Tech for the third and final time this season. The Gators will also run against Mississippi State in the women’s race for the second time this season.

This meet will serve as a scouting opportunity for the SEC championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in two weeks. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky round out SEC teams present on Friday, with Middle Tennessee State also making an appearance. 

Like every other NCAA sport, the 2020 cross country season has and continues to be shaped by COVID-19. Prior to the Mountain Dew Invitational, Gators coach Chris Solinski said that he was unsure which teams were competing in the meet because of the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. All the competition at the Blazer Classic has made it into an important race in this season’s calendar. 

So, all things considered, Solinsky is excited for the race this week.

“The Blazer Classic has turned into arguably the biggest meet of the year and our men and women are ready to show people what we’re made of,” Solinsky said in a release. “Both groups are fit and ready to run tough as a team. ”

Breaking from previous meets this season, the women’s race will start the morning. Their 6k will start at 8:45 a.m. EST. The men’s 8k will begin 30 minutes after, at 9:15 a.m. EST.

Contact Myles Herbert at mherbert@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @myles_herbert.

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