November 10, 2007 - by
FSU Women Take First, Men Take Second at NCAA Cross Country Regionals

Nov. 10, 2007

Gainesville, Fla. – Both Florida State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will make repeat appearances the NCAA Championships this year after rolling over the regional competition to pick up two of four automatic qualifying spots. The women took first in the 6k race with 40 points, while the men finished second with 52 points in the 10k at the Mark Bostick Golf Course on campus at the University of Florida.

In all, Florida State placed 12 runners on the All-Region team–seven for the women and five for the men. The Seminoles outraced the ACC competition (Georgia Tech and Miami) in both races by a long shot. As for the ranked competition, the women crushed No. 25 Tennessee and No. 29 Georgia, while the men toppled the No. 24 Gators.

“What a gut check,” said head coach Bob Braman. “The women were just awesome. Huge, huge day for them. For all seven of them to finish in the top 25 and make the all-region team–we’ve never had that before. Great job for the ladies, I’m proud of them.”

Sophomore All-America Susan Kuijken extended her undefeated streak to five, crossing the line in first with a time of 20:19.01. Senior Barbara Parker followed just behind, finishing second at 20:35.69. Sophomore Hannah England finished third for FSU with a fourth place time of 20:48.55. Freshman Pilar McShine crossed next in 15th with a time of 21:13.30 and senior Kirsten Hagen finished out FSU’s top five in 20th at 21:27.53.

“With our guys, [Mark] Buckingham and [Luke] Gunn were 12th and 14th last year. [Steeve] Gabart wasn’t here. [Daniel] Roberts wasn’t here. And [Matt] Leeder was in high school last year,” said Braman. “So for them to come out and place second this year, they just did a really great job. Great effort for the guys. This is five years in a row we’ve been national qualifiers. I’m proud of that.”

Seminole senior Luke Gunn returned from injury with a vengeance, finishing first for Florida State with a fifth-place time of 30:28.24 in just his third race of the season. Fellow senior Mark Buckingham finished next for the Seminoles, coming in eighth with a time of 30:48.61. Junior Steeve Gabart crossed the line in 10th at 30:56.46, sophomore Daniel Roberts finished in 15th with a time of 31:08.75 and freshman Matt Leeder rounded out FSU’s top five with a 17th-place 31:16.63 mark.

“We’ve got a shot at the national championships,” said Braman. “Our number one goal is to at least make the top ten–that’s our minimum goal. The reasonable goal for the women of course is to finish on the podium.”

Both teams now have nine days to prepare for the National Competition in Terre Haute, Ind. Nov. 19.

1st Florida State 40
2nd Georgia 75
3rd Florida 94
4th Tennessee 152
5th UAB 184
6th Georgia State 210
7th Georgia Tech 237
8th Samford 249
9th Chattanooga 258
10th Belmont 272

1st Susan Kuijken 20:19.01
2nd Barbara Parker 20:35.69
4th Hannah England 20:48.55
15th Pilar McShine 21:13.30
20th Kirsten Hagen 21:27.53
24th Audrey Hand 21:38.61
25th Lydia Willemse 21:43.89

1st Alabama 28
2nd Florida State 52
3rd Florida 82
4th Belmont 121
5th Mississippi State 135
6th Auburn 152
7th Georgia 176
8th Tennessee 178
9th Georgia Tech 230
10th Chattanooga 291

5th Luke Gunn 30:21.24
8th Mark Buckingham 30:48.61
10th Steeve Gabart 30:56.46
15th Daniel Roberts 31:08.75
17th Matt Leeder 31:16.63
78th Nick Sunseri 33:39.60

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