Nov. 23, 2009
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Florida State women’s cross country team continued to make school history as head coach Karen Harvey led the Seminoles to capture second place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships Monday, November 23, by posting five ‘Noles in the top 46 to score 133 points. The men’s ensemble finished in 30th with 612 points. The Lavern Gibson Championship Course welcomed the nation’s most elite athletes as it saw Villanova dominating the women’s race with 86 points and Oklahoma State crushing the opposition to earn first place on the men’s front with 127 points.
“I felt this coming for the past two weeks,” Coach Harvey said. “I am just so happy for them because between all the swine flu, all the infections and all the injuries it didn’t seem like there was going to be an end. They wrote the end of their story.”
With Coach Harvey’s guidance, the Seminoles ran the 6k with several impressive times that included three Seminoles earning NCAA All-American status for their top 40 finish. In one of her toughest races of her collegiate career, senior and captain Susan Kuijken battled all the way to the finish line for a third place spot with a time of 19:58. Newcomer Pasca Cheruiyot was the second ‘Nole to finish in 15th with a time of 20:23, while freshman Amanda Winslow crushed her previous personal record with a new time of 20:44 to finish in 33rd place. Sophomore Jennifer Dunn recorded a 36th place finish with 20:47, while junior Pilar McShine came in 46th with a time of 21:00.
As one of Florida State’s most decorative athletes, Kuijken leaves FSU as a four-time cross country NCAA All-American, two-time cross country South Region Athlete of the Year honoree, three time cross country NCAA All-South Region, two-time cross country ACC Athlete of the Year recipient, four-time cross country All-ACC and three-time cross country ACC Champion.
“Susan ran with complete heart,” Coach Harvey said. “She ran out of oxygen. We have been dealing with an issue all year long with her rib and the doctors and trainers did everything they could to help her. She followed her race plan, but she was just in too much pain. That is a lot of heart to go out there and just know you have this kink in your armor, but she didn’t care. That’s the type of leader that helped this team get second.”
As for the Seminole men, junior and co-captain Matt Leeder was the first ‘Nole to finish in 43rd with a time of 30:30, while senior and fellow co-captain Daniel Roberts came in 89th with a finish time of 31:04. Newcomer Ciaran O’Lionard was the next Seminole in at 147th in 31:42 with sophomore Mike Fout coming in at 151st place with 31:47 and ACC Freshman of the Year Wes Rickman taking 182nd with a time of 32:26.
Over his three years on Florida State’s cross country team, Robert’s found great success by earning three All-South region honors and being named to the All-ACC list in 2009.
“It was a great race for Matt Leeder,” FSU men’s head coach Bob Braman said. “He was eight second away from making All-American. I am really proud of Matt because he was trying to overcome being sick. I also think Daniel should be proud of his effort. It was just a tough day for us. We just looked really tired and we felt it all week. I have to get them better than that. Matt and Daniel are trying to get over a head cold. I felt sorry for Wes Rickman, but I think he was hurt after regions and he couldn’t do anything after that. We just looked like a tired team. I think it was fair to say we were a top 20 team. We are not a top 10 team yet.”