Thursday, July 25, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Men's #29- Florida

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

Head Coach: Paul Spangler (2nd Season)
2012 National Finish: N/A

Key Returners from 2012
  • Mark Parrish (Sr., 14:02, 8:42 3k Steeple)
  • Jimmy Clark (Jr., 13:58, 29:08)
  • JL Hines  (Jr., 29:26)
  • Eduardo Garcia (Jr.,14th South Regional finish '12)
Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Andres Arroyo (Fr., 1:47.79, 4:04.45, 8:51.47)

Season Preview

A team that has been flying under-the-radar as a quality distance program for the last few years, is the University of Florida. Paul Spangler is a proven coach and has done a fantastic job making quality distance runners out of his recruits. With some potentially very good low-sticks up front, these Gators look ready to roll in 2013. 

Jimmy Clark and Mark Parrish are the team's leaders heading into the season and will be looked upon for leadership and also for front-running. Clark and Parrish both had outstanding track seasons, Clark setting a 20+ second PR in the 5000m and Parrish a 5 second PR in the Steeple and qualifying for the National Championships. With these two athletes pounding in the miles this summer, they could be a scary 1-2 punch in the SEC and the South Region.

JL Hines is the wildcard of the group. Having had a pretty good XC season in '12, Hines turned things up a notch in track where he set a 74 second PR in the 10000m running 29:26 at the Stanford Invite. If he can improve in cross like he has on the track, he will add to an already good 1-2 punch. 

What makes this team even more intriguing is the signing of one of the best prep distance runners in the country this past season, Andres Arroyo. Arroyo shocked the country with his 1:47 and 4:04 within two weeks of each other, so early in the season in the Spring of '13. He followed those marks up with an equally impressive 3200m PR of 8:51. The one question mark alongside Arroyo has been his inconsistency in cross country. He does have some experience running cross, having represented Puerto Rico at the World Junior Cross Country Championships, but he put together a poor race and ended up being one of the last to finish the race. 

When Arroyo reaches the point where he can roll with Hines, Garcia, Clark, and Parrish, this is a very dangerous Florida team that could be looking at an automatic birth to Nationals through the South Region. 


  1. I think their wild card is Matt Mizereck

  2. I had been told that he was not coming back to Florida....