NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the third time in the last four years, the No. 30 Gators brought the SEC title back to Gainesville. After winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, the Orange and Blue struck again this year for its sixth SEC title (’84, ’96, ’97, ’09, ’10, ’12) in program history, the second-most for any SEC women’s cross country squad.
Six Gators ran career-best 6K marks and all five scorers turned in top 25 finishes to lead the women to the title at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. Second-place finisher Florence Ngetich clocked in at 20:27.41 for the sixth-fastest time in Florida history in a field of 124 athletes.
The Gators turned in a score of 61 points, while No. 12 Arkansas (70) and No. 28 Vanderbilt (119) rounded out the top three women’s team scores.
Seven different Gator runners picked up All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman honors. Both Ngetich and junior Agata Strausa led the way on the women’s All-SEC First Team. Senior Callie Cooper earned All-SEC Second Team accolades, while Shelby Davidson and Julie Macedo earned their first All-SEC accolades as members of the SEC All-Freshman squads.
Florida assistant track and field and cross country coach Paul Spangler became the first coach at the helm of the cross country program to lead the women’s team to a Southeastern Conference Championship in his first season. The Gators racked up the program’s fifth consecutive top-three finish at the league meet, three of those coming in championship form.
“The women came in with a belief they could win and they worked as a team, went out there, trusted their training and believed in themselves,” head coach Paul Spangler said. “Florence did a great job trying to make a move in the last mile to pull away, but Macumber did a great job catching her in the last 100 meters – she did a phenomenal job leading the team. Agata and Callie did a great job to earn all-conference honors themselves and Shelby Hayes did a great job over last 800 meters. It was really a total team effort and it was great to send the seniors out with a team win and All-Conference honors.”