Cory McGee shines in first XC race

The Florida women’s cross country team finished in first place in its only home meet of 2011 with the Mountain Dew Invitational at the University of Florida golf course Saturday morning

The top three finishers out of the 208 runners were Gators, one of them being sophomore Cory McGee, who finished third in the 5K with an official time of 17:28.48.

Although it was her first race of the season, she came in prepared.

“The race went really well. I kind of had an idea of what I was supposed to do going into it,” she said. “This is a lot better than I thought I was going to feel today. I felt really good the last three quarters of a mile.”

Despite finishing well, she says she’s got plenty of room for improvement.

“As it went along, I definitely hit some tough spots,” she said. “Not really comfortable racing yet, I guess.”

McGee said one aspect that did help her in the race was running tight with teammates Genevieve LaCaze and Florence N’Getich, who respectively finished in first and second.

“I feel comfortable running with them,” she said. “Having Florence right beside me for the first part of the race and Gen coming up really helped out.”

Moving forward in the season, the sophomore has a plan for success.

“Continuing to train the way I’ve been training,” she said. “Running with Gen and Florence is just going to set me up better each time as I just put the weeks behind me and really build up towards nationals and SEC’s especially.”

Head Coach Todd Morgan was pleased with his third place finisher on Saturday. Although she trained with the track team as a distance runner for a majority of the summer, Morgan said he’s been impressed with her transition from track to cross country.

“She’s really continued momentum off what happened last year on the track,” he said. “She’s still learning how to run cross country.”

She may not have the keys to perform at her best just yet, but she’s off to a stellar start in 2011 and Morgan knows it.

“Saw some things we can build on with her. She’s a great competitor and a great runner.”

McGee believes she’s in the right situation heading into the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational Madison, Wis. on Oct. 14.

“I think I’m going to be right where Coach Morgan wants me to be and right where I feel comfortable.”