The Florida men\'s and women\'s cross country teams both had outstanding performances Saturday at the Ninth Annual Disney Cross Country Classic. The women won their 5K race with 32 points while the Florida men also took first in their 8K race with 45 points at the meet held at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Florida also had the individual champion in both races.
\"We had a good meet on both sides,\" said Head Coach Jeff Pigg. \"It was the kind of meet we needed right now. It was a little more relaxed environment, but good quality. Our team was able to relax and be able to make some big improvements. It was perfect for us as we get ready for the pre-national meet next week.
Sophomore Jamie Geissler (Spokane, Wash.) won the college women\'s 5K race with a career-best time of 17:38.52. This is the first meet she has won in her career and she has improved her time in every race as a Gator. The Florida women\'s second finisher was freshman Kristen Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) with a new career-best time of 17:56.63, placing fifth overall. Senior Carling Cookerly (Sarasota, Fla.) also broke the 18 minute barrier with a 17:59.29, seventh place finish, the ninth top-10 finish of her career. Freshmen Devin Gapstur (Stuart, Fla.) and Lindsay Sundell (Northport, N.Y.) rounded out the scoring for Florida in 10th and 11th places respectively, both running career-best times.
\"For the women, obviously Jamie Geissler had a very good meet,\" Pigg said. \"Kristen Johnson breaking 18 minutes is really exciting for a freshman. Having five newcomers in that top group was very exciting for us and some people made some big improvements in their personal best times.\"
Sophomore Ryder Leary (Yulee, Fla.) took the collegiate men\'s title with a time of 24:46.29, for the first individual title of his collegiate career. Sophomore Shane Stroup (Highland, Md.) earned his first top-10 cross country finish, finishing just behind Leary with a time of 24:49.98, a career best. Sophomore Jeremy Miller finished third for Florida and 10th overall, also his first top-10 finish, with a personal best time of 25:30.80. Senior Alex Phipps (Gainesville, Fla.) improved his collegiate best time by over a minute to finish 13th with a time of 25:34.93. Freshman Al Matheny (Gainesville, Fla.) rounded out Florida\'s top five in 23rd place overall with a time of 26:19.69.
\"Ryder (Leary) won the meet and looked really good and Shane (Stroup) came in second which was great for those guys,\" Pigg said. \"Jeremy Miller had a great race and Alex Phipps had a new PR. Al Matheny did a great job as our fifth man. We really needed someone to step up and he did. He improved his personal best by over a minute and that was what really allowed the men to win this race.\"
The Florida cross country team will run again next week, Oct. 16, at the Pre-NCAA Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind. The race serves as a preview to the NCAA Championships. There are currently 87 men\'s and women\'s teams scheduled to compete in two races. Florida\'s race times will be determined Wednesday, Oct. 13.