Sept. 13, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The men’s squad returns the heart of their lineup from last season’s team that missed qualifying for the NCAA meet by one point at the South Regional. With a strong core of upper classmen and valuable youth ready to pick up the slack, the Seminoles are primed and ready to earn their first ever trip to the national championship.
FSU, which received votes in the preseason national poll, will look towards sophomore sensation Joep Tigchelaar to lead them. Tigchelaar, the only returning NCAA qualifier for the men, was selected to the All-South Region and All-ACC teams, in addition to being voted ACC Freshman of the Year. Joining Joep at the front of the pack are fellow All-South Region selections, senior Dave Guerra and junior Maarten van den Heuvel.
Senior Nick Stuart will look to take on the leadership role in 2002 and be a top five finisher, as well. Fellow senior Zach Heissner returns to the team following an injury-plagued year in 2001, but did run impressively during the outdoor track season. Junior Nate Adams seems to be healthy for the first time in two years and will have an impact on the team following an impressive summer. Strong sophomores Ryan Albertson and Andrew Bautel continue to improve and could be important scores for coach Braman.
The Seminoles welcome four newcomers who will press the returning runners for top spots on the squad. First is a pair of transfers, senior Giscard Titus from Auburn and junior Lars Tveter of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Both will bring strong leadership attributes and running ability for the underclassmen to look up to. Freshman A.J. Wilson comes to FSU with impressive credentials that include all-state honors in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and third-place finishes at the state meet in the mile and two-mile runs. Freshman Kevin Cook, whose father Danny ran at FSU, joins the Tribe after an impressive second-place finish at the Senior All-Star meet in Tallahassee and has impressed the coaching staff thus far.
“We’ve got a lot of pieces of the puzzle,” stated Braman on the outlook of his men’s team. “A lot of possibilities. We need the old guys to step it up, and I think they will. The newcomers took the serious approach and came in ready for the season.”
The Lady Seminoles are focused and ready to improve on last season’s third place finish at the NCAA South Regional and gain an automatic bid to the NCAA championship. Returning for coach Braman is a unit that mixes experience with youth that should develop into a quality group of runners.
Senior Vicky Gill, as fierce of a competitor as they come on the trails, will lead the Lady Seminoles once again as she pursues her second straight NCAA qualification in as many years. Gill, an All-South Region and All-ACC team member, will be joined by fellow All-South Region teammate Natalie Hughes. Hughes, a sophomore, was the fastest freshman in the nation during the 2002 outdoor track season in the 1,500-meter run. Both Gill and Hughes will serve as the backbone for a squad that plans to make a run for the NCAAs.
A trio of seniors, Allison Lind, Misty Harper and Andrea Dulmage, will provide the needed experience to help bring along the underclassmen and turn in strong scoring performances. Lind will be a key performer if she can return to her peak form after falling ill at the end of 2001. Harper placed in the top five for the Lady Seminoles last season and will be counted on again this year to repeat that feat. Dulmage, a four-year letter winner, has improved each season and scored for FSU last season at the ACC championship.
“I think the seniors will make a difference,” commented Braman, “if they can grasp the moment. They’ve gotten better and have made strides towards improvement. If Allison can return to form after being ill, she’s going to be a key to our success.”
Newcomers will have a chance to make a strong impact in 2002. Suzanne Shepherd, a redshirt freshman who competed in the steeplechase during the outdoor track season, is a very dedicated runner who had a great summer. Anne Clinton is a sophomore walk-on who did not compete last season due to injury, but has already proven to the coaches that she is capable of running the top five. Freshman Cathleen Willy comes to FSU as the Florida high school state champ in the two-mile run, as well as the winner of the Florida Senior All-Star meet. Fellow freshman Jenny Gomez joins the Lady Seminoles after winning the state cross country title as a junior and finishing as the runner-up as a senior.