Day decides to run for the Gators

Dean Stewart

Jacob Smithe, Staff Writer

After being recruited by University of Florida’s cross country and distance coach, senior Sarah Day has declared her decision to join the Gators next year as a student and an athlete. Day is still recovering from the stress fracture in her ankle that she discovered three weeks ago, but that is unlikely to affect her chances for admission.

“To call Coach Spangler, my potential future coach, and tell him that I was diagnosed with a stress fracture was one of the hardest phone calls that I’ve ever had to make,” Day said. “I had no idea what his reaction would be or what to expect, so I was beyond relieved to find how understanding that he was about the injury. His thoughts about me didn’t change one bit, and he still wanted me on the team as much as before. Signing day is Feb. 6, so it’s not official yet, but I’ve met all the requirements for the school so I don’t see why I won’t be accepted.”

Fellow girls’ varsity runner Lauren Dietl is also happy Day is going to UF.

“I’m ecstatic for her,” Dietl said. “She worked hard constantly. She knew where she wanted to go, and she kept training and maintaining her goal.”

Day looked into 10 schools, ranging from the distant University of Colorado to nearby Florida State University, her sister’s alma mater, but Day found UF to be the most inviting. One of the biggest factors was the cross country team.

“Coach [Paul] Spangler’s positive attitude and ability to relate to us runners is one of the main reasons why I decided to choose to commit to UF,” Day said. “Along with the top-notch coaching, the entire team was beyond welcoming and made me feel at home. I had the opportunity to spend time with the girls [cross country team] and to go out and socialize with them all on my visit, and I felt like I fit in perfectly. It’s safe to say that I was under the treatment of a rock star for the time frame of 48 hours.”

On a two-day visit to “Gator Nation,” Day also found other reasons besides running to make her supposed future college attractive.

“Being on campus for a relatively short amount of time, I was still able to experience the college atmosphere and see what being a student athlete at UF would entail,” Day said. “I was looking for a well-rounded school, with academics, athletics and a good environment, and UF seemed to meet my requirements perfectly.”