Cross country wraps up 2011 at NCAAs

The Florida Gators Cross Country team traveled to Terre Haute, Ind., to compete in the NCAA Championship on Monday. Sophomore Mark Parrish and senior Genevieve LaCaze were the top Gators’ finishers for the men and women, respectively. Wisconsin won the NCAA Championship for the men and Georgetown won the women’s title.

Parrish completed the men’s 10K race 68th overall and with a career-best time of 30:32.9. LaCaze wrapped up her last cross country season with a career-best 42nd place, two places short of top-40 All-American status. Florida assistant track and field and cross country coach Todd Morgan was proud of his four-time All-SEC and All-South Region senior.

“Genevieve wanted to end her career on a good note in her last cross country meet as a Gator,” Morgan said. “It was her highest finish at the NCAA meet and it was a tough pill to swallow for her being two spots out of (top 40) All-American honors in 42nd. We are really proud of what she did today – and as a senior, for everything she’s done for the cross country program and representing the Gators.”

The men competed in the championship meet for the first time as a team since 2006 and finished 30th overall. Freshman Jimmy Clark made his NCAA Championship debut by finishing second for the Gators and 191st overall.

“We have a really young group of guys and they had a really good season,” Morgan said. “Obviously today was not the finish we wanted, but our men’s team had a strong year, made it here to the NCAA Championship and saw what they need to do to get better and to be here again in the future. We’re really proud of Mark, he had a great race in his first NCAA Championship meet and we’re really proud of what he did today.”

With cross country behind them, the runners will turn their focus to the 2012 indoor track and field season, which is set to begin in January.

Gator Country reporter Darby Underwood can be reached at You can also follow her on Twitter at