Sept. 11, 2007
New Orleans – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced the first men’s and women’s Division I Cross Country regional polls of the season. In the South Region, the Florida State women top the competition, while the men come in at number two.
“We’re really excited about both teams this year,” said head coach Bob Braman. “On the women’s side, I think our ranking is a combination of the athletes we have returning and a reflection of the respect that the nationwide pollers have for Coach Karen Harvey.”
Harvey is the Seminoles’ newest addition to the coaching staff. A former head coach at the University of Illinois, Harvey led the Illini to their first Midwest Regional Crown in 2006, earning her the USTFCCCA’s Midwest Region Coach of the Year award.
She joins a Seminole women’s program that finished 2006 among the South Region’s elite. Four runners earned spots on the 2006 NCAA All-South Region Team including returning senior Amy Huss (Wyomissing, Pa.) and sophomore Susan Kuijken (Nijmegen, Netherlands). Kuijken was also honored as the 2006 NCAA South Region Athlete of Year after setting a course record at the regional meet with a time of 20:54.1, the fifth-fasted 6k time in school history.
“I think that’s about right where we should be, even though we’re defending region champions,” Braman said of the men. “I think Alabama’s got a little more fire power than we do at this stage of the year.”
But if last season was any indication, the Seminole men might not be in second for long. Last season started with the same space in the South Region as well, but the men had the final say when they finished first at the 2006 South Regionals meet. For the fourth year in a row, Florida State placed at least four runners on the All-South Region Team, including this year’s returning seniors Luke Gunn (Forest Gate, England) and Mark Buckingham (Huddersfield, England).
“I think the rankings are pretty accurate, pretty consistent,” said Braman. “We’re very excited to be where we are.”
Florida State will host the annual FSU Invitational next Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Miccosukee Greenway in Tallahassee, Fla.