Oct. 18, 2008
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. − On a perfect day for racing at the NCAA Pre-Nationals on the LaVerne Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, the Florida State men’s and women’s teams enjoyed solid performances across the board, but the day belonged to junior Susan Kujiken, who won the Women’s 6K White Race in a course record time of 19:48.2.
The FSU women tied for the White Race team championship with No. 5 nationally-ranked Princeton as both teams amassed 89 points. No. 11 Michigan was third with a score of 168 while No. 17 Illinois was fourth with 186 points. No. 19 Georgetown rounded out the top five as they were tied with the Illini for fourth place with a score of 186.
The men enjoyed a successful day out on the course as well as they were fourth in the 8K Blue Race with 212 total points. Alabama ranked sixth nationally and No. 1 in the South Region, took the team title with 89 points while No. 16 Northern Arizona was second at 113 points. No. 9 Michigan clipped the Seminoles with a team score of 146. No. 14 Minnesota finished fifth with a score of 234.
The men’s team was without the services of senior Luke Gunn, who has been slowed with soreness in his legs this past week.
Kujiken just clipped the old course standard by one-tenth of a second, held previously by Colorado’s Jenny Barringer as she raced to the individual national championship last year, with her personal best mark of 19:49.2. She now holds the second-fastest time in the history of the FSU Cross Country program, as Vicky Gill’s 6K mark of 19:48, set in 2002, is still tops all-time.
“Coach Harvey told before the race that if I felt good with 2K to go, that I should make a real push and try to win the race,” Kujiken said just moments after her record setting performance. “I didn’t really feel all that good with 2K left, but I decided at that moment to go ahead and make a strong push for the win. I kept hearing the announcer mention that I had a lead and had a chance at the course record when I got the finish in sight, so I made a final push and just let loose down the stretch.”
Kujiken’s efforts plus that of Lesley Van Miert gave the Seminoles a pair of runners near the front of the pack as Lesley Van Miert came in sixth place with a time of 20:25. Van Miert’s mark is the fifth-best in the history of the program. Pilar McShine finished 11th with a time of 20:43 to notch the sixth-best mark in FSU history. Both are of those times also proved to be personal bests.
Linzi Snow’s time of 21:05 was a personal best for her as well, and placed her in 30th place overall. Heading into the race Snow’s time would have been the ninth-fastest in the history of the program, but with Kujiken, Van Miert and McShine cracking the list, it is now the 12th-fastest 6K race in the history of FSU.
In the 6K women’s open race Bree McArdle was 52nd with a time of 22:44.2.
“Our Top 3 ran really well for us today,” women’s cross country head coach Karen Harvey said. “I guess if we are going to learn something about ourselves then let’s do it today. We now know that our team needs to do it together. We came here to learn, and that is what we did.”
The men earned a fourth place team finish with a trio of solid top 35 finishes. Without the services of Gunn, Daniel Roberts paced FSU with a 28th place finish in a time of 24:10.1. Roberts’ time will be etched into the Seminole record books as well as it is now tied with Gunn’s 2006 performance for eighth on the all-time best 8K best list.
Mike Fout returned to his home – the Hoosier State – to finish in a time of 24:27.7 for 51st place. Nick Sunseri finished 68th with a time of 24:38.4 to round out the FSU scorers while Justin Harbor was 193rd with a time of 25:40.8 and Trey Andrews was 260th in a time of 26:46.7.
In the 8K men’s open race, Jason Lakritz was 27th in time of 25:21.4.
“This was a very good race for us today,” men’s head coach Bob Braman said. “We notched a couple of big wins over teams that will help us down the road, and we performed well without Luke Gunn. This was a very productive race for our team, and we are looking forward to moving on to race for the league championship in two weeks.”
November 1 is the date of the next race for FSU as they travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.