TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With its roots planted deep, all the way back to 1972, the FSU Invitational is the oldest collegiate cross country competition in the state of Florida.
And it’s never been bigger or better.
With the Seminoles’ picturesque home course, Apalachee Regional Park, serving as the backdrop, Florida State athletes will kick off two days and 14 races worth of action – more than 3,300 runners are entered – Friday morning.
Florida State’s men get things started with an 8,000-meter competition around the upgraded and spectator-friendly course at 7:40 a.m., with the women’s 5,000-meter race to follow at 8:20 a.m.
A field of 22 college teams will compete, highlighted by the first full-squad visit from rival Florida to the FSU Invitational since it moved to Apalachee Regional Park – home to the 2021 NCAA Championships – in 2009.
The Seminoles, midway through a stretch of three meets on consecutive Friday’s, plan to line up their entire men’s and women’s squads for the competition. Coach Bob Braman’s men are eager to bounce back after a sub-par performance in the Joe Piane Invitational at Notre Dame. Women’s coach Kelly Phillips hopes to keep some momentum going after parlaying a solid effort at the Piane Invitational into a No. 3 ranking in the USTFCCCA South Region. The Noles are also among teams receiving votes in the USTFCCCA National Rankings for the first time in two seasons.
Graduate transfer David Barney has been FSU’s top runner in each of the first three meets this season. Militsa Mircheva opened the year with a pair of wins and consecutive ACC Performer of the Week honors. She finished behind sophomore Megan Mooney, who was FSU’s top runner at Notre Dame; one of a handful of underclassmen behind the women’s renaissance.
One of the unique aspects of the FSU Invitational is the large number of in-state Seminoles who cut their teeth as high school athletes on what is now their home course. Apalachee Regional Park has hosted the FHSAA state championship meet each of the last five years, and this meet has served as a preview event for those high schoolers.
Among the current Seminoles, Sarah Candiano, Steven Cross, Emily Edwards and Caleb Pottorff won individual state titles on the course, while Ty Murray was a key piece to a state championship team effort by Tallahassee’s Chiles High.
While the Noles put a wrap on their competition Friday and turn their attention to next week’s Nuttycombe Invitaitonal at Wisconsin, Saturday’s action will be fully reserved for the high schoolers. The eight-race Saturday schedule will be streamed live on MileSplit.com.
There is no admission or parking fee for the FSU Invitational, which marks the only time the Seminoles will be competing at home this season.
You can keep up with the Seminoles via Twitter on Friday @FSUXC and monitor in-race live stats and results via PrimeTime Timing at http://noles.co/2gdJz1T.
A complete recap will follow Friday afternoon on Seminoles.com.