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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Gators cross country prepares for the SEC Championships meet

The Florida Gators men’s and women’s cross country teams head to Missouri for the SEC Championships meet

Florida's Stephanie Ormsby competes during the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville on Sept. 11.
Florida's Stephanie Ormsby competes during the Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville on Sept. 11.

Exactly two weeks after its last meet in Tallahassee, the Gators cross country team hit the road once again, this time for the SEC Championship meet. 

The Gators travel to Columbia, Missouri, for this year’s conference championship to compete on the Gans Creek Cross Country Course on Oct. 29. The men are slated to compete in an 8K race, while the women will compete in a 6K. 

The all-SEC competition looks set to be one of the toughest yet for both Gators squads. Five teams at the meet are ranked, two on the men’s side and three on the women’s side. Arkansas’s men enter the competition ranked No. 6 and Alabama’s slot No. 22. For the women, Florida will face No. 5 Alabama, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 15 Arkansas. 

The Gators send 20 total athletes to the meet on Friday, 10 women and 10 men. 

The list of runners for the women include: Imogen Barrett, Emily Culley, Maria Fernandez, Gianna Forte, Pamela O’Brien, Stephanie Ormsby, Jordan Shapiro, Vasileia Spyrou, Parker Valby and Liina Winborn. 

Valby is definitely one to look out for during Friday’s meet. The freshmen crossed the finish line first for the Gators in every meet she competed in this season. At Pre-Nationals on Oct. 15, Valby ran for a 6K PR of 20:19.9, the eighth-best time in the SEC.

The men running for the Gators on Friday include: Nick Deal, Michael Fiore, Ethan Geiger, Reed Legg, Matt Mule’, Josh Stern, Javi Vento, Angel Vicioso, Joe Wester and Cavan Wilson. 

Geiger, Legg, Vicioso and Wilson will all compete in their second SEC Championships meet after they ran last season. Vicioso and Geiger both earned top-50 finishes the last time they ran in the meet. 

Additionally, Geiger finished first for the Gators in two of the three meets he competed in, while Mule’ also crossed first for the Gators at the Joe Piane Invitational in South Bend, Indiana on Oct. 1. 

The men will kick off the meet with an 8K at 11:08 a.m., followed by the women’s 6K at 11:50 a.m.

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

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