The Florida State women’s cross country team enters the 1997 season with
goals of progessing both within the conference and on the national scene. Coach
Breeda Dennehy’s first recruiting class features four freshmen that have an
opportunity to be among the Lady Seminoles’ top five. With such a young and
talented team, improvement in both ’97 and the years to follow is eminent.
“It’s a very youthful team,” said women’s coach Breeda Dennehy. “Over the
years, as they get stronger and gain more endurance, you could see Florida State
becoming one of the toughest cross country teams in the nation in the next
Expected to set the pace this fall is true freshman Cynthia Campbell. After
taking some time off following her Canadian racing season this summer, Campbell
should be in top form for the conference meet. She has posted times in the 17’s
for 5K, faster than any Lady Seminole runner last season.
Returning for her senior campaign is Nicole Singleton. The top runner a
year ago, Singleton will face a strong challenge from the new members of the ’97
team. The Orlando native placed 33rd at the ’96 ACC Championships to lead the
FSU women in College Park, MD.
The other returnee expected to contribute is sophomore Diana Hartnup.
Hartnup showed signs of improvement throughout her freshman season and was
consistently one of the top five runners a year ago. She will be pushed by the
newcomers to hold her spot as a scorer.
Four more freshmen (along with Campbell) are expected to make an immediate
impact in the fall. Natalie Reid and Mary Gaskins have been training together
in Jacksonville and should be in excellent condition when they arrive in
Tallahassee for preseason training. Reid has been clocked in the 18’s while
Gaskins has run in the low 19’s for 5K, both could finish in the top ten overall
at the conference meet.
Rayanne Lawrence and Kim Mueller complete the talented freshman class. They
should make the traveling squad with dedicated training as they aim for times in
the 18’s when conference rolls around.
Also vying for a place on the traveling team are veterans Emilie Ruetenik
and Kathleen Bowen. Both have conference experience, finishing fifth and
seventh for FSU at last year’s ACC Championships.
“It’s the beginning of an era of distance running at FSU,” said Dennehy.
“We run against some really tough schools, but if the girls are dedicated in
their training, we have the talent to finish among the top half of the
Not a small accomplishment when you consider the fact that the Lady
Seminoles finished a disappointing ninth in the ACC last season. But with a
rigorous workout program in place and a new focus on distance running,
improvement is soon to follow for the FSU women.