Nov. 14, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Florida State cross country teams (Men-No. 21/ Women- No. 9) punched their tickets to the NCAA Cross Country Championships this morning with both squads earning second place at the NCAA South Regional Championships with the women scoring 54 points and the men posting 80 points. A total of nine Seminoles were named All-South Region for their top 25 finish in the race. With the automatic bid, FSU now looks to battle at nationals November 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.
“That is the way to do it,” FSU Men’s Head Coach Bob Braman said. “This year’s region meet was much better than last year. The quality was higher. Running hard and getting after it really set the tone for next week. This is seven years in a row we are going to the big show. Even if you traded our seventh guy out we would have still made it because we were still 30 points better than Auburn. Our seven guys really committed to getting it done. It is about peaking at the right time.
“I am really happy for Justin Harbor today because it is his first time scoring for us. We are going the right way. All of our support guys are getting better. It was a great race for Wes Rickman. He was the first freshman to finish again. What a great race for Matt Leeder. It was a little bit of redemption from last week’s race. Another great 10K race for Daniel which he loves. He has been waiting all year for this.”
The Seminole men opened up the championships with an impressive 10K run that saw three `Noles post personal record times. Junior and team captain Matt Leeder led the team with a fourth place finish in 30:08.41 while co-captain and senior Daniel Roberts followed in eighth place in 30:17.32. Rounding off the top 25 was newcomer Ciaran O’Lionard taking 20th in 31:07.88 and Wes Rickman quickly following as the first freshman to finish in 23rd with a time of 31:10.50. All four men earned All-South Region honors.
“Pilar and Pasca were jogging,” FSU Women’s Head Coach Karen Harvey said. “They were smiling and laughing. They ran really easy and were in control. Our next three kind of phased out a little bit. They have never run a go-easy kind of race so it threw them off. We wanted to get to nationals more than anything. We have a few more things to tweak. I feel like we are getting to the pinnacle. We are at the point we need to be at to get to the podium at nationals. “
As for the women, Coach Harvey looked to Pilar McShine and Pasca Cheruiyot to pace FSU in the 6k as senior and captain Susan Kuijken did not compete. McShine was the first `Nole to finish with a personal-record time of 20:31.15 to earn sixth place, while Cheruiyot took seventh place in 20:31.28. Sophomore Jennifer Dunn posted a time of 20:46.29 to finish in 13th with freshmen Jessica Parry and Amanda Winslow following in 15th (20:51.62) and 19th (20:59.03) to round off the top 25 and earn All-South Region.
Florida State will continue to train for the next week before leaving to Indiana for nationals on Saturday.