Spangler earns SEC coaching honor

In just his first season at the helm of the cross country program, Florida assistant track and cross country coach Paul Spangler picked up SEC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors, while seven Gator runners racked up All-SEC accolades, announced by the league office Friday.

Spangler guided the Florida women’s squad to the 2012 SEC Championship Oct. 26 in Nashville, the program’s third title in the last four years and sixth overall in UF history. UF’s six cross country SEC titles are the second-most for a conference team in league history.

For Spangler, the coaching award marks his first at Florida and the second such award in his coaching career after picking up 2009 Big South Conference Women’s Coach of the Year honors while at the Virginia Military Institute. Spangler became the first UF cross country coach to lead a Gator squad to the SEC title in his first season and his coaching accolade was Florida’s sixth ever.

Along with the women’s SEC Championship and fifth consecutive top-three finish, Florida’s men’s squad finished fifth overall for the Gators’ 16th straight top-five finish at the conference championship.

Six Gators ran lifetime best 6K marks and all five scorers turned in top-25 finishes, three in the top 15, to lead the women to the 2012 SEC Title at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, including second-place finisher Florence Ngetich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya), who clocked in at 20:27.41 for the sixth-fastest time in Florida history as the Gators’ highest finisher in the women’s field of 124 athletes.

Ngetich picked up All-SEC First Team honors after being a second-team pick last season, while junior transfer Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) picked up her first cross country All-SEC honors for her sixth-place, career-best finish. Senior Callie Cooper (St. Augustine, Fla.) checked a career-long goal off her list with All-SEC Second Team accolades to cap off a successful four-year tenure donning the Orange and Blue.

On the men’s side, junior Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) made it two-consecutive years with All-SEC First Team honors after turning in a seventh-place finish at SECs last week to score first for the fifth-place Gators.

In addition to UF’s upperclassmen, a trio of first-year Florida runners garnered SEC All-Freshman Team accolades, including women’s squad members Shelby Davidson (Melbourne, Fla.) and Julie Macedo (Wilmington, Del.), as two of the top seven freshman runners to cross the finish line in the women’s field at the league championship. On the men’s side, redshirt freshman Phil Duncan (Orlando, Fla.) was the sixth freshman runner to finish, reeling in All-Freshman honors to cap off a career-best 8K race at the meet.

The Gators will next head to Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 9 for the 2012 NCAA South Region Championships, where the top two team finishers on both the men’s and women’s sides will earn automatic bids to the 2012 NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky. Any individual and team at-large bids will be announced by the NCAA shortly after all regional competition.

2012 SEC Women’s Postseason Awards

Women’s Coach of the Year: Paul Spangler, Florida

Women’s Runner of the Year: Cally Macumber, Kentucky

Women’s Freshman Runner of the Year: Hannah Jumper, Vanderbilt

Women’s All-SEC First Team

Cally Macumber, Kentucky

Florence Ngetich, Florida

Chelsea Oswald, Kentucky

Carly Hamilton, Georgia

Grace Heymsfield, Arkansas

Agata Strausa, Florida

Hannah Jumper, Vanderbilt

Women’s All-SEC Second Team

Kristen Findley, Vanderbilt

Katie Breathitt, Ole Miss

Andrina Schlaepfer, Arkansas

Diane Robison, Arkansas

Laura Carleton, LSU

Kayla Lampe, South Carolina

Callie Cooper, Florida

Women’s SEC All-Freshman Team

Hannah Jumper, Vanderbilt

Andrina Schlaepfer, Arkansas

Kayla Lampe, South Carolina

Katelyn Greenleaf, Alabama

Shelby Davidson, Florida

Alexis Panisse, Tennessee

Julie Macedo, Florida

2012 SEC Men’s Postseason Awards

Men’s Coach of the Year: Chris Bucknam, Arkansas

Men’s Runner of the Year: Henry Lelei, Texas A&M

Men’s Freshman Runner of the Year: Cale Wallace, Arkansas

Men’s All-SEC First Team

Henry Lelei, Texas A&M

Solomon Haile, Arkansas

Eric Fernandez, Arkansas

Kemoy Campbell, Arkansas

Matt Cleaver, Georgia

Peter Okwera, Tennessee

Mark Parrish, Florida

Men’s All-SEC Second Team

Hayden Legg, Missouri

Max Storms, Missouri

Luis Orta, Kentucky

Bryant Blahnik, Missouri

Layne Nixon, Arkansas

Brandon Lord, Georgia

Cale Wallace, Arkansas

Men’s SEC All-Freshman Team

Cale Wallace, Arkansas

Joe McKenna, Missouri

Evan Chiplock, Missouri

Sid Vaughn, Georgia

Tyler Schneider, Missouri

Phil Duncan, Florida

Steven Spevacek, Georgia

Courtesy of UF Communications