Nov. 20, 2006
Terre Haute, Ind. – The Florida State men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Monday and finished 30th and 21st, respectively.
The women’s team, ranked No. 29 entering the meet, struggled with the mudded course, a result of rain over the weekend, to earn 436 points. The team placed only five points away from a Top Twenty finish. Freshman Susan Kuijken finished 27th, earning 23 points, with a time of 21:18 and was awarded All-America honors. Next to cross the line was redshirt junior Debbie Huss earning 89 points with a 22:18 mark. Also scoring for the Seminoles were junior Laura Bowerman with 100 points and a 22:24 time, followed by redshirt seniors Barbara Parker with 109 points and a 22:28 time and Jessica Crate who scored 115 with her clock of 22:31.
“The women did a nice job,” Head Coach Bob Braman said. “We’re ranked 29th in the country and finished 21st. We were very close to a top 15.”
Redshirt junior Amy Huss was unable to score for FSU due to a strained groin muscle she had been battling for a few weeks.
“I felt bad for Amy Huss who ran injured,” Braman said. “We ran through a lot of thick mud the whole way because it had rained all week. And Amy has had that injury for the past two races now and she’s been able to get through, but today there was nothing she could do.”
This is the second Top Twenty-five finish for the women since they last competed in 2003 and placed 18th.
“We were darn close to the best ever,” Braman said. “I know this was a better team than the 2003 team. The difference being the 2003 team had two front-runners in Vicky Gill and Natalie Hughes. They were both All-Americans and today we had only one in Susan Kuijken who has done a phenomenal job in her freshman year. All and all I’m pleased that the top four that crossed the line today are coming back next year. The future is bright. These women did a great job and fought through it.”
The No. 10 ranked men’s team also struggled with the muddy course and an injured runner, Mark Buckingham, who battled with a bad knee.
“This team is one of the best we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Coach Braman said. ” It is the best regular season team that we’ve had all year. I was really shocked. Mark Buckingham had a bad knee injury that basically took him out of the race. When the mud showed up, that was it for Mark. We took a big hit there because Mark is one of our top guys.”
Senior Andrew Lemoncello was the first to score for the Seminoles, earning 24 points with his time of 31:49. The rest of the 602 points the men received came from senior Tom Lancashire (65 points, 32:31), junior Luke Gunn (128 points, 33:12), junior Mark Buckingham (191 points, 34:20) who managed to score despite hi injury, and rounding off the points was junior Luke Beevor (194 points, 34:22).
“It was a tough day,” Braman said. “I really feel for these guys, I think they deserve a much better fate. But on this day it wasn’t meant to be and I honestly can’t say why.”