Nov. 19, 2007
Terre Haute, Ind. – The No. 2-ranked Florida State women’s cross country squad finished third with 236 points at the NCAA Championships on the heels of sophomore All-America Susan Kuijken’s individual third-place performance. Florida State’s No. 23-ranked men raced to a 454 point, 20th place finish, led by senior Luke Gunn.
Prior to today’s race, the Seminole women’s best finish was a 18th place, 455 point mark in 2003. This was just the fourth time the women had ever competed at nationals and the sixth time for the men.
“Third place is awfully great,” said head coach Bob Braman. “And obviously having two girls in the top ten is excellent as well. Coach [Karen] Harvey did an amazing job–third in the country is fantastic. That’s three straight years she’s been in the top ten, now.”
Kuijken finished the race just one second behind her personal-best 6k time of 19:56 that came earlier in the season at pre-nationals. Senior Barbara Parker followed in seventh place with a time of 20:17, joining Kuijken on the All-America list. Freshman Pilar McShine scored third for Florida State with a 21:21.10, 70th place finish. Sophomore Hannah England ran a time of 21:38 for 112th place and sophomore Lydia Willemse came in as the fifth and final scorer for FSU at 127th place with a time of 21:44.40.
On the men’s side, front runner Gunn crossed the line first for the Seminoles in 69th place with a time of 30:55. Junior transfer Steeve Gabart finished 10 seconds later in 94th place, followed by freshman standout Matt Leeder with a 97th-place time of 31:06.10. FSU’s only other senior in the men’s race, Mark Buckingham, scored fourth in 131st place at 31:23.90 and sophomore Daniel Roberts rounded out the top five in 171st with a time of 31:41.30.
“I’m very pleased in the guys team,” said Braman. “We came in ranked 23rd finished 20th, beating some solid teams. Actually we were really close to fifteenth place–just 22 points back. We had three of our top runners with a good solid effort. That’s three times in the last four years we’ve finished in the top 20, not many teams can say that.”
The men outran several teams ranked above them in the nation’s top 30, including No. 7 Arkansas, No. 11 Michigan and No. 19 Notre Dame. They also finished as the third-fastest team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
With the end of today’s race comes the close of another tremendously successful season for Florida State. The women’s squad started a new legacy and tradition of cross country prowess for the Seminoles with first-place wins at the ACC and NCAA South Region Championships as well as All-ACC and All-Region honors for Harvey and Kuijken.
“The future certainly looks bright for both these teams,” said Braman. “If we come back next year a little more experienced and a little smarter, who knows what we could do.”
WOMEN’S TEAM RESULTS
Florida State 236
Arizona State 251
Michigan State 321
WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
3 – Susan Kuijken, 19:57.30
6 – Barbara Parker, 20:17.00
70 – Pilar McShine, 21:21.10
112 – Hannah England, 21:38.00
127 – Lydia Willemse, 21:44.40
119 – Kirsten Hagen, 21:57.00
184 – Christina Woytalewicz 22:14.30
MEN’S TEAM RESULTS
Oklahoma State 180
Northern Arizona 190
(Florida State 454)