April 27, 2004
Tallahassee – The No. 18 Florida State women’s cross country team announced Tuesday, April 27, 2004 that head coach Bob Braman has signed two of the top 15 runners in the southeast region and amongst the top 50 in the country, for the 2004 cross country season – Laura Bowerman (Tampa, FL/King) and Kirsten Hagen (Blacksburg, VA/Christiansburg). Bowerman is the first Foot Locker finalist to sign with Braman and the Florida State program while Hagen was one of the top cross country runners in Virginia during the 2003 campaign.
“These are two outstanding high school stars,” said Braman, beginning his fifth season as the Seminole head cross country coach and in the midst of his first as the head of the track and field program. “This is really big for our program, as we’re trying to take Florida State to the national level.”
Bowerman confirmed her reputation of being one of the top runners in the state by running a 17:42 in the 5K run at the USF/Jesuit Invitational. Despite a late-September injury during a workout, she came back to win her second consecutive Class 3A State Cross Country Championship, winning the 2004 meet by 28 seconds in a time of 18:07, setting a then-state course record. Bowerman finished seventh in the 2003 Foot Locker Cross Country South Regionals, running 17:53, en route to earning a spot in the national spotlight as a Foot Locker finalist (top 32 runners in the nation). She then went on to finish in the top 32 in the country at the high school national cross country race, posting a time of 19:28 through the hilly San Diego course.
On the track, the 2003 Class 3A 3200m State Champion placed third in the a time of 5:08.07 in the one-mile at the Florida Relays this season. Her personal bests include a 5:04 mile and 10:59 in the 3200m run.
Hagen was ranked No. 1 for the majority of the season in the Virginia State Group AA competitors during the 2003 cross country season, finishing the season in fifth place at the VHSL Group AA Championships en route to all-state honors. Prior to the state race, Hagen took the VHSL Region III Cross Country title in 18:53. Competing in the Foot Locker Southeast Regional, Hagen placed 15th overall. The 2003 Timesland Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year also set a new course record with a time of 18:29 at the Bristol Cross Country Invitational.
On the track, Hagen is the Virginia State Group AA Indoor 3200m champion, finishing the race in a time of 11:09.65 and was fourth overall in the high school indoor championships. Her personal best times included a 5K mark of 18:12, a 10:54.02 in the 3200m run and 5:03.61 in the 1600m run.
“Kirsten and Laura are the same mold as (current FSU All-American) Natalie Hughes – very talented, state champions,” continued Braman. “If they can be anything near that, it would be pretty special. We’re sure they are capable of doing just that and really excited to have them join our program.”