TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – While the Florida State track & field teams took a break from competition this past weekend, a half-dozen distance running Noles found competitive diversions elsewhere in the biggest running weekend of the year in the capital city.
Four FSU freshmen – Erin Phelps, Ella Swigler, Paul Stafford and Matthew Newland – competed in Saturday’s USA Track & Field’s Junior Cross Country Championships at Apalachee Regional Park.
On Sunday, freshman Elizabeth Funderburk and sophomore Sidney Oakes-Lottridge were among nearly 1,000 runners to toe the starting line in the shadow of the capital building for the 45th Tallahassee Marathon/Half-Marathon. They chose the 13.1-mile half-marathon distance.
Collectively, they turned in solid performances between the two ventures, led by Funderburk’s victory in the women’s division of the half-marathon.
An All-ACC and All-South Region cross country performer for the NCAA Championship-qualifying Noles, Funderburk blazed her way to a fifth-place overall finish in 1 hour, 19 minutes and 59 seconds; a 6:07 per mile average over the challenging course.
It was an eight-minute personal-best for the Moultrie, Ga. native, and just seven minutes off the U.S. Olympic qualifying standard for the team trials for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Funderburk is sitting out the indoor season as a redshirt and will focus her attention on the 10,000 meters during the outdoor season.
Oakes-Lottridge, a native of Naples. Fla., placed 50th overall and was third in her age group in a solid time of 1:40.31.
The quartet competing in the USA Junior Cross Country Championship races fared well against solid competition as well.
Phelps posted the top finish, placing 13th overall in just her second 6,000-meter cross country race. The Tallahassee native and former Chiles High standout finished in 22:41; a personal-best for the 6k distance. Swigler, from Panama City, placed 18th overall, closing strong in 22:53.
Stafford, who won the 2017 FSU Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park as a senior at Lake Wales High, finished 20th overall in the 8,000-meter race (25:36). Close behind was Newland, another Tallahassee native and former Chiles standout, who closed fast to place 22nd in 25:51.