The 21st-ranked UF women’s cross country team finished its season on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin, racing to a 16th-place finish out of 31 teams in the NCAA Championships.
The team, which finished 22nd in the region last season, qualified for its first trip to the NCAA Championships since 2012 last weekend after placing second in the region this time around.
UF assistant coach Chris Solinsky spoke about the team’s improvement this season after the race.
“Today, the University of Florida women’s distance program took a big step forward,” Solinsky said in a release. “We just went from 22nd in the region to 16th in the country. We are just scratching the surface of what this group is capable of.”
Junior Jessica Pascoe paced UF with a 32nd-place finish behind a time of 20:31.7 in the 6k. Pascoe has been Florida’s frontrunner all season, earning All-American status in the process. The Australian becomes the first UF women’s cross country runner since 2013 to earn the honor.
“(Jessica) really took another step forward in her career, earning her first All-American honor,” Solinsky said. “Obviously proud with what she has been able to do in a year.”
Redshirt senior Morgan Hull made a statement in her final cross country race as a Gator, finishing in 70th place with a time of 20:52.1.
The next three Gators stayed inside the top 200, starting with redshirt junior Elisabeth Bergh. The Norwegian was the third Florida runner to cross the finish line, coming in at 123rd after a time of 21:16.3. Senior Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell finished in 154th place (21:28.4), while freshman Imogen Barrett placed 183rd (21:44.3).
The future looks bright as Florida’s women bring back plenty of talent heading into next year’s cross country season.
Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak or contact him at [email protected].