September 17, 2008 - by
FSU Cross Country Season Preview

Sept. 17, 2008

Florida State’s cross country teams have set their eyes on being one of the top cross country programs in the nation. With both the men’s and women’s squad ranked nationally, it won’t be too difficult for the Seminoles to accomplish this goal.

After last year’s meteoric rise that included a third-place finish at the NCAA Championship as well as conference and regional titles, the Florida State women’s cross country team has a tough act to follow in 2008. But when you’ve got one of the best runners in the country, a solid nucleus of returning runners, a tremendous recruiting class and one of the best coaches in the country anything is possible.

In 2007 Susan Kuijken emerged as one of the top distance runners in the country by taking third at the NCAA Championship for her second All-America honor. Also leading the Seminoles this year will be sophomore Pilar McShine. After redshirting her first year, she burst onto the scene with a victory at the FSU Invitational, which earned her ACC Performer of the Week honors, and was mainstay in the line-up from that meet forward. As to be expected, Florida State’s success last season has brought in some tremendous talent: Lesley Van Miert, Kacey Gibson and Jennifer Dunn are just some of the new faces to expect seeing at the trails helping the Seminoles reach another flourishing season.

Building on another successful season last year, the 2008 edition of the Florida State men’s cross country team has its sites set on joining the nation’s elite programs. With a great mixture of veteran leadership, talented underclassmen and strong newcomers, this year’s team has all the makings one of the best the school has ever seen.

A two-time All-American on the track as well as a back-to-back All-South Region selection, Luke Gunn returns to anchor this year’s squad. Steeve Gabart also made a name for himself as a top three runner on the team during the final three meets of the year, including an All-South Region selection and second on the squad at the NCAA Championships. Perhaps the biggest cross country recruit that Braman has landed at Florida State, Mike Fout could do for the distance program what Walter Dix did for the sprints. With the help of Gunn, Gabart and Fout as well as the other Seminole runners, Florida State is sure to have another exciting season.

This year’s schedule is nearly identical to the challenging slate the Seminoles had in 2007 that successfully prepped FSU for the conference, regional and national championships. This season the Seminoles return to the Notre Dame Invitational and Pre NCAA Meet. North Carolina will play host to the ACC Championships while Knoxville, Tenn., is the site of the South Region meet and Indiana State will hold the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

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