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Monday, December 04, 2023

Gators cross country hits the road for the NCAA South Regional Championships

The Gators will send 16 runners to compete in this year’s competition in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday morning

Runners start the women's race during the 2021 Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 11, 2021
Runners start the women's race during the 2021 Mountain Dew Invitational in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 11, 2021

After earning top-10 finishes at the SEC Championships two weeks ago, both Florida’s men’s and women’s cross country teams seek similar results Friday. 

Both teams travel to Huntsville, Alabama, to compete in the NCAA South Regional Championships meet on Friday morning. The meet, hosted by the University of North Alabama, will take place at John Hunt Park. 

Sixteen Gators runners are slated to compete in the regional meet. The women will start the day, this time around with a 6K race starting at 9:30 a.m. 

At the SEC Championships on Oct. 29, freshman Parker Valby dominated again for the Gators, placing fourth overall and earning a nomination to the First Team All-SEC and the SEC All-Freshman Team. 

Valby led the Gators to a sixth place team finish in Columbia, Missouri, which elevated their United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranking up one spot to No. 6 for the upcoming regional meet. As the first Gator to cross the finish line in every meet she has competed in, Valby should be a threat on Friday. 

The other women competing for the Gators on Friday include: Imogen Barrett, Emily Culley, Maria Fernandez, Pamela O’Brien, Stephanie Ormsby, Jordan Shapiro and Vasileia Spyrou. 

The men follow with a 10K set to begin at 10:30 a.m. The meet marks the first time the men have competed in a 10K race this season. 

Ethan Geiger led the charge for the Gators at the SEC Championship 8K meet. Geiger placed 40th overall, marking his third time finishing first in four meets for the Gators this season. The men remain ranked No. 9 in the USTFCCCA rankings after their seventh place finish in Columbia. 

Joining Geiger on the course for the men are Michael Fiore, Reed Legg, Matt Mule’, Javi Vento, Angel Vicioso, Joe Wester and Cavan Wilson. 

The Gators face some familiar foes on Friday with conference opponents Ole Miss, Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Georgia on the competition roster for the regional. 

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

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