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Friday, May 27, 2022
Florida's Parker Valby competes during the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville on Sept. 11
Florida's Parker Valby competes during the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville on Sept. 11

The Florida Gators men’s and women’s cross country teams stood behind the start line in Columbia, Missouri, on Friday morning accompanied by conference-only competition. 

In a field of all SEC runners, the Gators fought to stand out. 

At the SEC Championship meet on Friday morning, both the Gators men’s and women’s cross country teams left with top-10 team finishes. The women earned a sixth place team finish out of 14 schools, and the men placed seventh out of 12 schools. 

Freshman Parker Valby continued to dominate in the women’s race for the Gators. Valby continued her streak and once again crossed the finish line first for Florida Friday. The freshman notched a fourth-place finish in the 6K with a personal record of 20:11.8. 

In addition to her top-four finish and personal record, Valby also earned First Team All-SEC honors with her performance in Missouri. Her time ranks her sixth in Florida’s all-time SEC 6K history and 10th in Florida’s all-time 6K records. 

Four other women earned top-50 finishes in the race. Vasileia Spyrou took 31st place, Stephanie Ormsby finished 41st, Maria Fernandez crossed the line 46th and Jordan Shapiro rounded the group out in 50th. 

On the men’s side, Ethan Geiger finished first for the Gators in the 8K race and placed 40th with a time of 24:59.8. Three other Gators crossed the line in the top 50 for the men as well. 

Geiger’s finish for the Gators marks the third time he has placed first among his teammates this season. The other races included the Mountain Dew Invitational at the beginning of the season and the most recent Pre-Nationals meet. 

Cavan Wilson finished next at 42nd with a PR of 24:50.9. Joe Wester, who finished 44th, and Michael Fiore, who placed 47th with a PR of 25:00.7, finished out the top-50 group for the men. Fiore and Wester also earned nominations to the All-Freshman Team. 

Next for the Gators will be the NCAA South Regional Championships on Nov. 12. 

Contact Sara Kate Dyson at skatedyson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter at @sarakatedyson.

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