Nov. 24, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind., – Despite temperatures dropping below 40 degrees Fahrenheit right before races began, Florida State fought through the bitter cold and was able to post three All-Americans and have eight student-athletes set personal records, one of which who took second place at the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Nationals. Host Indiana welcomed the nation’s top collegiate runners to Terre Haute this weekend to run at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course for elite competition.
“The cold and windy conditions at NCAA’s were challenging for this team,” said women’s head coach Karen Harvey. “These ladies could have used the unusually harsh conditions as an excuse, but they are tougher than that. I think some other teams and followers of the sport doubted FSU’s ability to compete in the cold.”
Starting off the day for the Seminoles was the women’s cross country team hitting the 6K course at 12 p.m. Junior Susan Kuijken (Nijmegen, Netherlands) set the standard high this afternoon as she not only was the first Seminole to reset her personal record to 19:35, but also fought till the finish and placed second. The two other women’s runners to set personal records were sophomore Pilar McShine (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) with 20:35 (22nd place) and junior Linzi Snow (Epping, England) with 20:51 (43rd place). Senior Lesley Van Miert (Breda, Netherlands) also had something to celebrate for as she, along with Kuijken and McShine, were named All-Americans for their finishes in the top 40. The Seminoles finished third overall at nationals with 163 points.
“My husband and I both believe we had 5 runners race above and beyond which is truly unique and we can’t be more proud of this team,” said Harvey. “We have been ranked third all year and we defended that ranking. We wanted a trophy and we got one! Susan really put herself out there and went for the individual title. She showed a lot of courage and ran a lifetime best-time and school record. This team is special and they truly ran for each other today which shows they have a tremendous amount love and respect for each other.”
Despite finishing 26th as a team, the men’s cross country team had five student-athletes set personal records in the 10K run: sophomore Matt Leeder (Brockville, Ontario) with 31:00 (89th place), seniors Steeve Gabart (Miami, Fla.) with 31:18.7 (122nd ) and Nick Sunseri (Raleigh, N.C.) with 31:24 (130th) and juniors Jason Lakritz (New Windsor, N.Y.) with 31:52.1 (169th) and Trey Andrews (Titusville, Fla.) with 32:37.8 (200th). Junior Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich.) led his team as he was the first Seminole to cross the finish line at 30:47.2 in 66th place.
“I felt like we fought pretty hard,” said men’s head coach Bob Braman. “We have had a lot of injuries and disappointments this year that our team has had to overcome. To get five personal-best times is a testament to that. They gave a good effort and that is all you can ask for.”