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Friday, January 28, 2022

Gators cross country collects top-eight finishes at NCAA South Regional

Parker Valby earned a second-place overall finish to lead the women’s team into a top-five finish in Alabama on Friday

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 Gators lined up on the start line at John Hunt Park in Huntsville, Alabama, among the other runners from the southeastern region of the country with the end of the season looming just ahead. 

Before the NCAA Championship meet next week, however, the Gators focused their efforts on the NCAA South Regional competition. 

Both the women’s and men’s cross country teams secured top-ten finishes in Friday’s meet just two weeks after they accomplished the same feat at the SEC Championships. The women finished fifth in the 6K competition, while the men placed eighth in the 10K race. 

Freshman Parker Valby continued to dominate the field, finishing the race second overall. With the second-place finish, Valby continued her season-long streak of crossing first for the Gators. Her final time of 19:41.38 also earned her an All-Region honor. 

Freshman Stephanie Ormsby joined Valby on the All-Region team. Ormsby had a stellar race, finishing in 16th place with a time of 20:18.03. Pamela O’Brien, Vasileia Spyrou and Imogen Barrett rounded out the finishes on the women’s side, placing 36th, 37th and 47th respectively. 

The Gators only finished behind Ole Miss, Florida State, Alabama and Tennessee.

On the men’s side, all six Gators competing in the race collected personal records in the first 10K race of the season. 

Freshman Ethan Geiger led the charge for the Gators for the fourth time this season. Geiger placed 38th with a PR time of 31:00.75, and Joe Wester finished 43rd with a time of 31:10.09 as the second Gator across the finish line. 

Matt Mule’ finished 55th, Cavan Wilson placed 58th and Michael Fiore earned 60th place to complete the men’s team for the Gators. 

The seven men’s teams that placed higher than the Gators were Ole Miss, Alabama, Florida State, Lipscomb, North Florida, Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee. 

The Gators hit the course next on Saturday, Nov. 20, in Tallahassee, Florida, for the NCAA Championship meet. 

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

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