September 20, 2014 - by
Strong Start for Young XC Noles

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Undaunted by a huge race field and in many cases, a lack of collegiate experience, a group of 14 Florida State women’s cross country runners came away from Saturday’s Mountain Dew Invitational with some solid results.

Junior Christine Griggs, one of eight Seminoles to post career-best 5,000-meter times, finished 22nd overall (18:07.28) to lead the way.

“She put herself out there right off the bat,” FSU volunteer coach Ashley Botham said of Griggs. “She didn’t look back. She had high goals going into the race…She put her head down and went after it and was really happy after the race.”

Teammates Chantelle Brodie (40th, 18:31.42) and Courteney West (41st, 18:32.62) claimed the second and third finishing spots – also with personal-bests – for the Seminoles, who competed against a field of 268 runners at the Mark Bostic Golf Course.

“It was hard going into the race to know the expectations of what would happen for the girls, because there are so many kids we don’t know,” Botham said. “Half of our travelers were freshmen. I think they really handled it well and maintained composed.”

Freshmen Araceli Leon (57th, 18:50.03) and Bella Poole (70th, 19:28.08) rounded out the scorers for the Noles, who placed ninth overall in the field of Division I teams, many of whom sent their top scholarship runners to the line. Poole’s time was also a new personal-best.

Among other Seminoles who established new standards for 5,000 meters were freshman Madison Scanlan (78th, 19:53.45), senior Jensen Swopes (107th, 19:59.73) and freshmen Jacki Wilson (108th, 20:00.39) and Tara Rooney (119th, 20:23.26).

“They did a really good job of packing up together, especially over the second half of the race and last mile,” Botham said. “It was great to see the girls finishing together because we had talked a lot about working together as a team and helping each other along.

“When half of the girls run personal-bests in the first race of the year, you really can’t complain about that. We’re looking forward to Charlotte, which is a week away and is a really fast course.”

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