After nearly six months, the Florida cross country team returns to the course, this time back in Gainesville.
The Gators start their season at home, racing along Mark Bostick Golf Course on Saturday in the Mountain Dew Invitational for their host event for the 2021 season. The men will run a 6K race while the women will run a 4K. The meet on Saturday marks the first time that the team will run those respective distances in this race, with the men historically competing in an 8K and the women running a 6K in 2020.
Bethune-Cookman, Daytona State College, Embry-Riddle, Flagler, Florida A&M, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Lake Sumter State College, Lynn, Pasco-Hernando State College, Saint Leo, Seminole State College, South Florida State College, Stetson, Tampa, Central Florida and Warner will also be competing in the invitational.
On the men’s side, key runners Ethan Geiger and Angel Vicioso get their respective freshman and sophomore campaigns underway. Geiger and Vicioso both led the charge for the Gators in the home Invitational last season. Geiger finished the race in third place, while Vicioso crossed the finish line eighth.
Both runners will need to finish in the top 10 individually once again in order to put the Gators on the podium like in 2020.
As for the women, Payton Capes-Davis and Emily Culley crossed the line first for the Gators. Capes-Davis placed 17th while Culley placed 21st.
Another runner to look out for on the women’s side is freshman Stephanie Ormsby. Ormsby was the Gators best finisher in the FSU Winter XC Classic in February. She placed 21st at the meet to help the Gators place 15th overall.
At last year’s Mountain Dew Invitational, Florida did not place due to a shortage of runners in the meet, a trend the Gators hope to reverse in 2021.
The men’s 6K race will begin at 7:55 a.m., and the women will begin at 8:30 a.m. Fans are allowed at the meet and encouraged to wear masks. You can find live results for the meet on Half-Mile Timing.
Contact Sara Kate Dyson at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @sarakatedyson.