September 30, 1998
The 1998 Lady Seminole cross country team should be improved as they return four of their top five runners from a year ago. A young team in 1997, the projected top five this season will comprise of four sophomores and a junior. The difference between the men’s and women’s teams this season is the number of top level runners. Sophomore Cynthia Campbell will set the pace at number one after adjusting to collegiate cross country in her first season at FSU.
“Campbell came back very fit after the summer and did very well in the time trial,” said Irving. “She started to run well at the end of last year with a ninth place finish in the ACC 5K at 18:18. I think she can run low 18’s or high 17’s this year and I think you will see significant improvement with her. We really need to have five runners like that to challenge the front and move the times down. She is the one runner who has a legitimate shot to make it to NCAA’s in terms of what she showed last year.”
Right behind Campbell will be junior Diana Hartnup and sophomores Natalie Reid and Mary Gaskins. Hartnup and Campbell were named team captains by Coach Irving during at the conclusion of preseason workouts.
“I wish I could say that we have more depth like we do on the men’s side, but that is not the case,” said head coach Scott Irving. “We’ve got four very good athletes in Cynthia Campbell, Natalie Reid, Diana Hartnup and Mary Gaskins. All return with experience. I think all four will run 18:30 or faster and Diana ran in the 18’s last year. We need a fifth person to contribute and we need to stay healthy.”
The leading candidate to come in and take over at the fifth scoring position is Kingsley Broughton. The sophomore had a solid track season and ran 19:04 in the 5K last year at an outdoor meet. She will be called on to carry that over to cross country.
“Is that enough bodies running fast enough?” asks Irving. “Not really because, unfortunately, you may to lose someone during the season. So, what we have to do is recruit like we did this year for the men.”
In order to help improve the women’s recruiting efforts, Paul Spangler has been added to the distance staff this year. Coach Spangler will handle the women’s distance recruiting and has already started the long process of identifying potential signees across the country.
“One of our top additions is Paul Spangler,” said Irving. “He came out of high school with moderate credentials, nothing great, and knows what it takes to get to higher levels. He was the tenth runner at Alabama as a freshman and by the time he was a senior at the NCAA’s, he had moved up to number two. So that shows a lot of heart and a lot of improvement over time.”
In order to advance in the ACC standings, the women must add a class of solid recruits to the established core of sophomores on already on board at Florida State.
“It has to be a goal with Coach Spangler to bring in athletes who can handle the longer end running,” said Irving. “But as these people improve in cross country, it is going to help us a great deal in track. We have a couple freshman on the women’s side that I am excited about that could do something, but that remains to be seen. Kim Winn out of Florida High is a hard worker that could eventually push the top five.”
If Cynthia Campbell, Diana Hartnup, Mary Gaskins and Natalie Reid continue their improvement throughout the season, the Lady Seminoles could be a surprise in dual meets and conference action. The key will be staying away from injuries and bringing the second group of runners closer to the top four.