Oct. 27, 2006
The Seminole men’s team, ranked 8th in the nation and the highest among ACC schools, has finished second at the meet the past three seasons. The Seminoles are led by a pair of outstanding seniors in two-time ACC champion Andrew Lemoncello and Tom Lancashire, who finished third at last year’s ACC Championships.
“The fact that we’ve been runner-up three years in a row, it’s been in our minds the whole 365 days so we’re very, very focused on the men’s side to see if we can’t break through and get the championship,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “It’s going to be a classic Florida State-NC State battle which two years ago came down to one point which represented a one-second difference. We’re putting a lot of emphasis on this even though our season is normally measured by the NCAA national results.
“We’d like to do our part in cross country and make it possible to at least chase a triple crown with indoor and outdoor track still to come and we’ve not yet been able to break through and do that, so it’s going to be a big-time battle for us this weekend.”
The women’s team is ranked No. 14 nationally, and coming off a seventh-place finish at Pre-Nationals. The Seminoles have twice finished fifth in the ACC meet.
“On the women’s side, even in 2003 when we finished the season 18th, even that year, we were no higher than fifth in the ACC,” Braman said. “That’s a reflection of how good the ACC is in women’s cross country on a national scale.”
The squad is led by a trio of outstanding performers in freshman Susan Kuikjken, junior Amy Huss and senior Barbara Parker. Kuikjken, who finished first for FSU at the Notre Dame Invitational, will be battling for freshman of the year honors while Huss was FSU’s No. 1 at Pre-Nationals with the fourth fastest time ever at Florida State with a 27th finish of 20:49.2. Parker has finished second in most of FSU’s races this year. After that, the Seminoles have five individuals who could finish anywhere from fourth to eighth for the squad. Veterans Abi Wilshire, Laura Bowerman and Jessica Crate will be a big part of the chase-pack, while two other talented runners, Kirsten Hagen and Lydia Willemse, round out the top eight for the Seminoles.
“We’ve got tremendous depth on our women’s side,” Braman said. “Anybody from our fourth to our eighth could move up and help us out and maybe even crack the top three. I feel really good about all of the options we have. We’ve will have eight of them out there who are all talented and we’ve got to get five good races, so I feel pretty good about our chances.”
The Seminoles are the No. 2 seed going into the meet behind NC State which is ranked second nationally.
“A top three finish for the women would be a great result for us and could probably set us up to have a chance at a Top 10 or Top 12 finish at the national championships,” Braman said. “From that standpoint, we’ve put ourselves in a great position and we’re real excited about it. We’re going into the meet to try to win it. We’re not going to sit back and run for second. We’re going to go for it.”
The first 14 finishers to cross the line in both the men’s women’s races will be named All-ACC Performers while the Freshman of the Year will be awarded to the first true-freshman that crosses the finish line in both races.