Nov. 11, 2006
Tallahassee, Fla. – The men and women of Florida State cross country proved they were in top shape as they took home first and fourth place honors at the 2006 NCAA South Region Cross Country Championship hosted by the University of Tennessee. The South Region Champion men earned 67 points and the fourth-place women finished with 84 team points.
For the men’s team, senior co-captain Tom Lancashire (Bolton, England/Turton) was the first Seminole across the line in fifth place with a time of 31:02.3. “On the guy’s side, I’m really surprised we won to be honest,” Head Coach Bob Braman said. “”This is a very difficult course, so you’ve really got to be careful. We really weren’t trying to win, we were actually trying to be in the top four and qualify for nationals.”
The men ran the first half of the race in a pack with Lancashire pulling away near the end in an attempt to beat out some of the competition. Crossing the line a few steps behind him was fellow co-captain and senior Andrew Lemoncello (St. Andrews, Scotland/Stirling) in ninth place and a 31:33.9 mark. The rest of the pack included junior transfers Luke Gunn (Forest Gate, England/Birmingham) in 12th with a time of 31:40.6 and Mark Buckingham (Huddersfield, England/Shefield) in 14th with a clock of 31:46.3. Rounding out the scoring for Florida State was redshirt sophomore Javier Cruz (Miami, FL/Belen Jesuit) who finished in 27th with a career best time of 32:28.8.
“I’m really encouraged because Javier Cruz did a great job,” Braman said. “He just missed making the All-Region Team but he ran his career best race. He was up against some of the best runners in the southeastern United States. Javier was the unsung hero for us.”
On the women’s side, it was a day of firsts for freshman Susan Kuijken (Nijmegen, Netherlands/Stedelÿk Gymnasium). This was the first regionals she had ever competed in and with the individual championship she set a new course record with her time of 20:54.1. The record she broke belonged to Florida State alumnus Vicky Gill who finished the course at the Lambert Acres Golf Club in 2002 with a time of 21:03.87.
“It’s a good feeling. As a freshman, I don’t really know any of these girls, so it was kind of a surprise,” Kuijken said. “I’ve never run regionals before, so I had no idea where I might finish or where I could end up. I never would have thought that I could win a regional race, especially for my first win in America. I always thought that regionals would be harder than conference, but I ran a good race today.”
Also scoring for the Lady Noles were redshirt juniors Amy Huss (Wyomissing, Pa/Vanderbilt) and Jessica Crate (Brights Grove, Ontario/Arizona State) who finished in 12th place with a time of 21:40.8 and 14th with a time of 21:45.5, respectively. Crossing the line in 20th was senior Abi Wilshire (Saltford, Bristol, England/Birmingham) with a 22:02.5 mark and in 37th was redshirt junior Debbie Huss (Wyomissing, Pa/Vanderbilt) with a clock of 22:25.1. The women’s performance today earned four of them spots on the All-Region Team’s Top 25 list.
“Susan was dominating today, she ran really, really well,” Braman said. “We rested our number three girl, Barbara Parker, who if had she run we would have probably been second, but that’s not what this was all about. We rested Barbara and also Kirsten Hagen so we can have our best team fresh and ready for nationals in a week.”
Qualifiers for the NCAA National Cross Country Championships will be announced tomorrow night, November 12th and will be posted on Seminoles.com. The nationals are November 20th in Terre Haute, Indiana.