Nov. 24, 2003
The Florida State women’s cross country team enjoyed the fruits of labor, getting back to the NCAA National Championships and improving from last year’s 28th place finish to place 18th this time. The Noles ran in un-Florida like weather with the temperature holding steady at minus three degrees with the wind chill at the 11:00 a.m. men’s start. The meet was hosted by the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
“Our ladies ran fantastic for it to be minus three degrees at the start of the race. We picked up some big wins beating Wake Forest for the first time as well as Duke in the conference. We also beat Tennessee, who finished ahead of us (in first place) at the regionals. We finished very well being the third ACC team to cross the finish line and the first in the South Region,” said head coach Bob Braman.
The women’s team was led by senior Vicky Gill, who finished eleventh overall – up from last year’s 15th place finish – and junior Natalie Hughes, who placed 34th, both earning All-America honors for the 2003 cross country season.
“Vicky moved up (from last year’s finish of 15th) while Natalie ran the best cross country of her life. Helen ran a personal best by 28 seconds to finish 115th and Rachel, after setting a personal best last time out – set another one again. Rachel put us in last week’s race and here she did it again. Anne (Clinton) was right behind her and she did especially well after almost getting run over at the start,” said Braman.
The women finished 18th overall with 455 points. Last year, the women made their first trip to nationals finishing 28th out of 31 teams. This year, behind Gill and Hughes, senior Helen Hofstede completed the race in a time of 21:20.3 which was good for 89th place, junior Rachel Marsh ran another personal best time of 21:58 to place 156th followed by junior Anne Clinton who finished in 165th place at 22:06.1. Marsh’s prior personal best time was set last week at the NCAA South Regionals. The Orlando, Fla. native’s time helped the women earn the automatic bid to Iowa.
The men were led by freshman Luke Beevor with a place of 100th and a time of 31:04.8 followed by junior Eddie Rodriguez in 130th place in 31:24.6. Junior Ian Hornabrook (151st – 31:36.4), freshman Tom Lancashire (161st – 31:43.7) and sophomore Kevin Cook (191st – 32:24.3) Junior Joep Tigchelaar was disqualified for running outside of the course.
“With Joep, their was a big controversy because less than two miles out, he was pushed off the course and couldn’t get back in so he ran next to the course. Luke had the best day for us because he ran really well despite his injury. For two weeks, he hasn’t really had a full workout so he toughed it out for us. Eddy ran awesome and did a really nice job for a kid from Miami as did Kevin (Cook) who’s never seen snow before. Ian also handled the rough course well. More importantly, the guys ran as hard as they have all year. We tried to adapt to the weather but obviously were physically at a huge deficit,” said Braman.
UNC’s Shalane Flanagan defended her national title completing the 6K course in 19:30.4. Stanford took the team titles in both the men’s and women’s races while Colorado’s Dathan Ritzenhein won the 10K race in 29:14.1.
18. Florida State 455 points
29. Florida State 733 points