Seven runners finished in the women's top 10 during the North Florida Invitational, including Imogen Barrett, who won the event.

This weekend will mark the first and last home meet of the season for UF’s cross country team. The Gators will host the Mountain Dew Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course on Saturday morning, where they hope to impress a home crowd. More than 30 programs will compete against Florida.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Complacency is the enemy

There is no question that the men’s team was left disappointed after its season debut. It fell short of expectations after just two Gators finished in the top 10, one of them being freshman Hugh Brittenham, who finished seventh.

Despite placing in the top 10 in his collegiate debut, Brittenham was disappointed in himself and the team, citing failure to execute and even complacency.

“If you start second-guessing yourself or start just getting complacent mid-race, you know, you’ve just shot off your legs and shot off your teammates legs,” Brittenham said.

Assistant coach Chris Solinsky wants the men to enter the Mountain Dew Invitational better rested and more competitive, even quoting his father, saying “[the] hungry dog hunts harder.”

Women poised to dominate

Florida senior Jessica Pascoe will be making her season debut Saturday after skipping the UNF Invitational to train. Her participation will only help the already impressive squad.

Pascoe has placed in the top five in all three of her previous appearances at the Mountain Dew Invitational and will look for the sweep in her final season with Florida.

The women’s team has impressed Solinsky, but he wants everyone competing to not hold anything back.

“I definitely want them to suffer a little bit,” Solinksy said. “[I want them to] leave their running on the course, not thinking they have a lot left.” 

Info on the meet

The men will run the 8K at 7:55 a.m. while the women’s team will run the 5K at 8:30 a.m. 

All of Florida’s cross country runners are expected to compete. However, some runners will be racing “unattached,” meaning they will not be officially participating in the race or wear an official jersey. Florida has done this in past Mountain Dew Invitationals in order to give everyone the opportunity to compete and see where they stand. Admission is free, and parking will be available at the UF Levin College of Law and the Gainesville Woman’s Club.

Follow Joseph Salvador on Twitter @JSalvadorSports. Contact him at [email protected].

Joseph Salvador is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida and was previously Sports Editor for Broward College's newspaper The Observer. He has been with the Alligator since Summer 2019.