September 6, 2007 - by
At The Senior Starting Line With Cross Country’s Mark Buckingham And Kirsten Hagen

Sept. 6, 2007

Q&A with Mark Buckingham

What does it mean to start off the season with a victory in the first race and an ACC Performer of the Week honor?

“It’s the perfect start to the season. I returned to FSU this fall thinking `I need to turn around my whole FSU career’ because I wasn’t happy with how it went last year. I came back in a positive frame of mind and in pretty good shape. I didn’t realize what sort of good shape I was in. To get my first ACC athlete of week honors is a real good start. Hopefully it won’t be my last.”

After such a great start at the Covered Bridge what expectations do you have for the team this year?

“I am really excited for the team this year. I wasn’t sure what recruits Coach Braman had brought in, but we’ve got Matt Leeder and Justin Harbor, we’ve got Nick Sunseri who’s really good at the moment and Trey Andrews–he’s really surprised me, he was 12th on the team at Appalachian State and also we got Daniel Roberts as well. So the team looks really strong I think we’re going to go to Notre Dame now and try pick up some good solid points there. The ACC looks really good, we’re going to have another battle with NC State like we did last year, but I think we could possibly pull it off if we’re all on our game.”

How has your role on the team changed now that All-Americans Andrew Lemoncello and Tom Lancashire are gone?

“I think my role’s changed a bit. I was kind of overshadowed by Tom and Andrew. I looked up to them like most people on the team did. Now that they’re gone, it kind of feels like me and Luke [Gunn] are sort of taking lead because we’ve got experience. I know it’s only a year, but we’re both 22, so we’re the oldest two on the team. I feel that, that’s helped being able to turn my season around cause I am more focused now. If there are people looking up to me, I have to perform well for them and set a standard amongst the team.”

Going into your last year at Florida State what are some of your goals on the trail?

“For cross country I want to improve vastly on my Nationals performance. I want to be in anything outside double figures at nationals. I’d like to pick up a medal at the ACC Championship for the team as well. Mainly just have a real solid season. My main aim is to make it to Nationals on the track and do something there. I know this is just a stepping stone to all that. Hopefully I’ll have a good cross country season and get some good results.”

As a senior how do you go about motivating your team?

“We get together quite a lot more than we did last year. We’ve only been here two weeks and all the guys are already doing all the warm-up routines together and we meet on evenings now and again. We’re always at practice on time. Cohesion between the team is real good. We had a bit of a team talk the other day and it was the first time where Coach [Bob] Braman has allowed us to isolate ourselves from him and the rest of our coaching staff. It was really good, we all came together and got a few things off our chest that were bugging us. We talked about the future of the team, gave each individual a chance to speak up and say what their goals were and things like that–how we could all help one another reach our goals. I think we’re all on the same page and I am really excited about the team how it could do this year.”

Q&A with Kirsten Hagen:

How have things changed with the addition of Coach Harvey to the coaching staff?

“Things have become a lot more structured, She works a lot with team unity–we’ve become more of a team just in the first few weeks.”

After such a great start at the Covered Bridge what expectations do you have for the team this year?

“Just for all of us to stay healthy and hopefully make it back to nationals this year.”

As a senior how do you go about motivating your team?

“Just working together, trying to focus on team unity. We run together all the time now as a big group, it helps out a lot. And also just organizing things we can do together to help build up the team.”

Related Articles