Sept. 27, 2007
Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State cross country takes two first-place finishes, a runner-up spot and two top-25 rankings to Indiana this Friday, Sept. 28, for the 8k men’s and 5k women’s Notre Dame Invitational. The No.12-ranked women’s team is fresh off a victory at the FSU Invite while the Seminole men are No. 24 following a first-place finish at the Covered Bridge Open in early September.
“This is our second-biggest competition of the year. We’re trying to get some big wins over ranked teams, that’s part of the mission, to improve your national qualifying status,” said head coach Bob Braman. “Both teams are really excited to get out and race and run against other people and hopefully get some wins.
A total of 54 teams will compete in race, held annually at Notre Dame’s nine-hole golf course, including 15 teams in the nation’s top 30. Among those top competitors on the men’s side are No. 10 North Carolina State, No. 11 Providence and No. 13 Notre Dame. For the women, No. 2 Michigan, No. 9 Providence and No. 15 North Carolina State will battle the Seminoles for first.
Florida State is currently on top of the competition in the South Region, with the women ranked at No. 1 and the men at No. 2 in the respective USTFCCCA regional polls. Both teams finished in the top-10 at last season’s Notre Dame Invite as the women took fourth place with 124 points while the men finished sixth with 165 points.
Sophomore All-America Susan Kuijken (Nijmegen, Netherlands) crossed the line first for the Seminoles en route to last year’s top five finish, clocking in at 16:52. Returning seniors Barbara Parker (Norfolk, England), Amy Huss (Wyomissing, Pa.) and Kirsten Hagen (Blacksburg, Va.) also scored for Florida State.
On the men’s side, veteran seniors Luke Gunn (Forest Gate, England) and Mark Buckingham (Huddersfield, England) will look to replace the top performances of former Seminoles Andrew Lemoncello and Tom Lancashire who both finished in the top 10 overall in last year’s meet. Both Gunn and Buckingham ended the race in the top four on the team, crossing the line at 24:25 and 25:01, respectively. Senior Chris Nickinson (Pensacola, Fla.) also put points on the board for the Seminoles with a time of 25:02 to finish fifth on the team.
Sophomore Pilar McShine (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) has something to brag about this week as she was named ACC Women’s Cross Country Performer of the Week following her first-place finish at the FSU Invitational. McShine shaved one minute and 14 seconds off her first collegiate 5k at the Covered Bridge to post a career-best 18:02.53 in last weekend’s home-hosted event.
McShine is the second runner named to the conference performer of the week list for the Seminole women this season and just the fourth in team history. Last year, Florida State had just one performer of the week nod, as compared to three thus far in 2007.
The Seminole women’s “B” team will also run this weekend at the Auburn Invitational in Auburn, Ala. on Saturday.
Following Notre Dame, both cross country teams will begin preparations for NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. Saturday, Oct. 13.