Gators Crowned 2023 SEC Women’s Cross Country Champions

Gators Crowned 2023 SEC Women’s Cross Country Champions

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 7 Florida Gators Women’s Cross Country team was crowned the 2023 SEC Cross Country Champions after their first place finish at the conference meet in Columbia, South Carolina.

The women won with a total of 49 points, finishing ahead of Arkansas (59), Tennessee (80), Alabama (84) and fifth place Ole Miss (107). All five of the athletes scoring for the women placed in the top-20, with three finishing in the top-10.
This marked the program’s seventh SEC Cross Country title and first since 2012. The Gators also took home Championships in 1984, 1996, 1997, 2009 and 2010.

Women’s Cross Country claims Florida Athletics first SEC title of the 2023-2024 calendar year. Florida has picked up at least one SEC team title for 46 consecutive seasons – the league’s longest current streak.
The Gators were led by Paker Valby who battled with the leaders for the first two-thirds of the race but was able to separate from the pack in the final 2000m, eventually ending in a first place finish. Valby was crowned the SEC Women’s Individual Cross Country Champion for the second consecutive year. Her margin of victory was an outstanding 33.8 seconds, recording a time of 18:37.5.

Flomena Asekol may have ran the most impressive race of her collegiate career. The transfer from the University of Alabama, finished fourth behind two members of her former college, crossing the finish line in 19:31.9. Asekol slowly overtook her opponents throughout the race as at the 800m mark she stood in 13th, by approximately the 2000m mark she had made her way to 8th, and reached her 4th place spot by the final 1000m.
Making her Florida Gators, season and SEC debut, Amelia Mazza-Downie placed 8th overall finishing with a time of 19:56.7. Mazza-Downie settled into her spot halfway through the race as her and fellow University of New Mexico transfer Elise Thorner held possession of the 11th and 12th positions on the leaderboard.

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