Sept. 13, 2007
NEW ORLEANS –
Expectations have certainly gone up for the Florida State cross country teams this week. First the two programs were ranked number one (women) and two (men) in the South Region by the USTFCCCA. The organization’s national polls then followed with the women tying their highest ranking at No. 12 and the men coming in at No. 24.
“To tie the women’s highest ranking ever is really exciting for the program,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “I think this does give them a boost of confidence because now they’re hearing it from someone other than the coaches. A lot of it is a reflection of what they think of coach (Karen) Harvey. She’s had Illinois in the top 10 the last two years and with the talent we’ve got here we certainly have the potential to be at that level.”
Last season the women reached their No. 12 status during the October 10 poll. The men climbed the whole way up to number eight the following week.
The women’s team received 226 points, which is just seven back of No. 11 Virginia, the highest ranked ACC team in the poll. Florida State was three spots ahead of defending conference champion NC State. Duke (17), Virginia Tech (20) and Boston College (28) rounded out the ACC schools in the top 30.
On the men’s side, the Seminoles were just one of three ranked teams. The Wolfpack came in at number 10 with 249 points while Virginia was in tie for 28th at 51 points.
“The guys are about where we belong,” Braman added. “We’re excited to be in the top 25 and now we’ve got to prove that we belong there. At the start of the year I would have been happy to just be in the top 25 and make the top 31 at nationals, but this is a good group of guys that has a lot of talent and has worked as hard as any group I’ve had so they’ve got the potential move up and do some great things.”
Both teams had an impressive start to the season at the Covered Bridge Open as the men took the team title and the women came in second to Georgia. All-American Susan Kuijken (NIjmegen, Netherlands) and All-South Region selection Mark Buckingham (Huddersfield, England) won the individual titles are were also named ACC Performers of the Week.
Florida State is back in action this weekend when it takes part in the Across the State Relay on Saturday. Groups of two runners will start in Yankeetown on the Gulf of Mexico and switch off in four to eight-mile increments until the team has reached the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach. The team is collecting donations per every mile run as well as flat donations. All proceeds will go to the United Way.