September 9, 2003 - by
2003 Cross Country Preview

Sept. 9, 2003

Since the arrival of Florida State head coach Bob Braman, the Seminole cross country program has enjoyed steady improvement.

Braman, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the FSU cross country program in 2003, replaces longtime head coach Terry Long as Florida States track and field coach. Braman brings 18 years of head coaching experience to his new post.

Last season, Joep Tigchelaar earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships as an individual when he posted a personal best 32:22.7 in the 10K. The squad placed fifth at the ACC Championships and fourth in the South Region, narrowly missing an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

The FSU women enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in cross country history. The season included a sixth place finish at the ACC Championships and the Tribes first-ever appearance in the NCAA National Championships. Senior Vicky Gill finished 15th overall out of 254 runners (6K; 20:07) en route to the National Championships and she became FSU’s first ever All-American in cross country.

This season, Braman expects much of that same improvement.

“Our goals for this year are to stay healthy and continue to develop, as we have over the past two years,” Braman said.

Men’s Outlook

We know we have the depth on our men’s side to vie for a top spot in the conference and the region, Braman said on the expectations for the 2003 season.

Junior Joep Tigchelaar returns to the No. 1 spot after two extremely productive seasons as a Seminole. During his tenure, he’s acquired All-ACC honors, All-South Region honors and has qualified for the national championships the past two years.

In the hunt to fill the No. 2-5 slots are a mix of veterans and newcomers. Kevin Cook and A.J. Wilson, sophomores who helped anchor a young team last fall, return to help FSU continue to develop. Wilson had a strong freshman season while Cook was one of the top scoring freshmen at the NCAA South Region Championship

Newcomers to the squad include two international standouts, two highly touted transfers and a core squad of Florida athletes. Tom Lancashire is a freshman from Bolton, England who competed heavily this offseason placing second in the European Junior Championships in the 1500-meters and third in the ESAA National Cross Country Championships. Luke Beevor, a native of Luton, England, is a distance runner who stands at 6 feet 9 3/4 inches, one of the tallest athletes to sign with the track and field/cross country programs at FSU. He finished the 2003 season as the No. 1 ranked junior British cross country runner. His father, Mike Beevor, finished 18th at the World Cross Country Championships back in 1970.

The transfer class is composed of Ian Hornabrook and Eduardo Rodriguez. Hornabrook comes from Rend Lake Community College in Ina, Illinois. He is a two-time NJCAA Division II Cross Country Champion (2001 and 2002). Rodriguez is a transfer from Florida International University. The Miami native helped Christopher Columbus High School to the 1997 state championship and is the brother of former All-American Gaby Rodriguez.

With a veteran team returning this season, combined with the experience from the international athletes coming in, it should make for a very exciting year for both our track and field and cross country programs, Braman said.

Women’s Outlook

Juniors Ann Clinton and Natalie Hughes will solidify the middle of the lineup bringing experience to a young but accomplished team. Clinton and Hughes form the strong pack at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Hughes is an All-American at 1500 meters in track. Two years ago, she was the top freshman in the country at 1500 meters. Clinton is a former walk-on and according to Braman, the reason FSU was able to qualify for the national championship last season. Sophomores Jenny Gomez and Cathleen Willy round out a class of veterans who will step up this year for FSU to help further the teams prior seasons success. Gomez had a strong season scoring high early in the 2002 season and is expected to step into the role of one of the graduating seniors. Willy is a former Florida high school state mile champion who competed in two events for the Seminoles last season. Willy posted a personal best in the 5K with a time of 21:28.

We are going to count on newcomers to be our talent in the No. 4 and 5 positions, Braman said. We expect that our freshmen aren’t going to come right in and do the job but they will work to adjust to college competition.

Newcomers will have the chance to make an immediate impact. Dutch senior transfer Helen Hofstede, a transfer from Holland, and freshman Heather Clark are expected to break into a strong Seminole lineup. Among Clarks accomplishments are two state indoor championships in the mile, six Brewer High School records in distances from 800 meters to two miles in indoor and outdoor and an eighth-place finish at the New England cross country championships. The team’s wildcard is a Canadian Junior National team runner in Carla Agnew. Agnew finished her junior year in high school fifth in the Canadian Junior 1500m Championship.

“This group gives us a core of runners that are capable of qualifying for the NCAA Championships,” remarks Braman.

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