Sept. 2, 2011
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite sitting the majority of their top runners, the Florida State men’s and women’s cross country teams turned in solid performances in the season-opening meet Friday, at the Covered Bridge Invitational in Boone, N.C.
Senior Seth Proctor grabbed top individual honors, covering the 8-kilometer (4.9 miles) State Farm Fields course in 25:29.1 for the victory. Proctor won the race going away and was followed across the line by junior David Forrester, who was fourth overall in 25.47.6.
“Proctor picked right up where he left off at the end of track season,” said FSU coach Bob Braman, whose Seminoles finished second overall in the 11-team field. “He was the eighth man and the alternate on our NCAA team last year and looked really, really good. If we’re going to be a good team we’re going to need Seth to be very good.”
Southern Indiana, the seventh-ranked team in the USTFCCCA Division II preseason poll, captured the men’s team title with 42 points. The Seminoles, who did not race All-American Mike Fout, junior Wes Rickman and sophomore Jakub Zivec, were second with 59 points, comfortably in front of third place High Point (85).
“I’m happy – real pleased – because we ran a lot of the young guys,” Braman added. “They did a great job. There’s a lot of room for improvement. We don’t have a lot of depth and we’re going to need the Jacob Brooks’ of the world, along with (Sean) Quinn and (Dominic) Cabrera, to step up and help us out.”
Brooks, who battled injury and a deeper 2010 Seminole lineup a year ago, was FSU’s third finisher at the early-evening race. He covered the distance in 26:13.5 and was followed by Quinn (19th, 26:24.8) and Cabrera (21st, 26:28.0), none of whom have any significant experience racing with the Seminoles’ front-line runners.
Coach Karen Harvey’s FSU women’s team finished third in a 12-team field, despite leaning on what is essentially a B-team lineup of untested varsity runners.
The Seminoles claimed four of the top 13 places, led by redshirt freshman Chelsi Woodruff, who was fourth overall in the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race, finishing in 18:41.3. Redshirt sophomore Kaitlyn Iselborn was eighth (18:53.2), followed by Australian newcomer Linden Hall (12th, 19:01.7) and true freshman Teresa Ristow (13th, 19:15.6). Kara Taylor (52nd, 20:18.8) rounded out the Seminole scorers.
“I thought Chelsi Woodruff ran well for us coming off a redshirt freshman year,” said Harvey.
UNF captured the team title with 37 points, followed by Wake Forest (74) and FSU (89). Host Appalachian State was fourth (109), just in front of East Carolina (111).
Harvey’s most experienced runners from last year’s NCAA runner-up team, All-Americans Jessica Parry and Amanda Winslow, did not compete. Neither did 1,5000-meter NCAA All-American Hannah Brooks or NJCAA All-American Violah Lagat.
That doesn’t mean those who did not compete were along for a Labor Day retreat. Both teams will continue to train in the North Carolina mountains and get away from the oppressive Florida heat. It is also a chance for the Seminoles, who have only been back at school training for two weeks, an opportunity to bond.