TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Successfully defending its NCAA South Region title was the primary objective for the Florida State women’s cross country team at Friday’s meet.
The Noles did just that, rolling to victory by a 58-point margin over runner-up Ole Miss on their home course at Apalachee Regional Park.
It was the largest margin of victory in all 18 regional championship races – nine each for men and women – contested Friday, and the second-largest margin of victory for a regional title in FSU women’s program history.
Apparently, that caught the attention of the 11 coaches casting their ballots in the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association National Poll. Coach Kelly Phillips’ Seminoles were among the biggest movers when Monday’s poll was released, climbing three spots to No. 9.
It is the highest ranking for the Florid State women since week 4 of the 2014 poll, when they were also No. 9.
“They were also a little bit bitter with where they are the in the national rankings,” Phillips said, following Friday’s victory. “They wanted to show that they’re not the No. 12 team.”
The Seminoles entered the ACC Championships two weeks at No. 10 nationally, and finished second to No. 6 NC State by 12 points in a competitive battle. While the Wolfpack moved up a notch to No. 5, as did third-place Notre Dame (to No. 16), Phillips’ squad slipped out of the top 10.
The Noles were one of five schools ranked in the top 20 this week to climb three spots. Only No. 22 Villanova and No. 23 Ole Miss – the team that finished 58 points behind the Noles at the South Region meet – made bigger moves, climbing six and four positions, respectively.
Phillips’ squad will carry their highest ranking into Saturday’s NCAA Championships race in Terre Haute, Ind. (11:15 a.m.) since the 2013 squad was No. 4 leading up to the title race.
The Florida State men will have a little added incentive of their own as they head to the NCAA Championship meet after landing one of the final at-large spots in the field. Coach Bob Braman’s squad is the only qualifying team not among the top-30 in the national poll from the field of 31. The Noles have the most points (21) among those receiving votes: essentially No. 31 nationally, three points behind No. 30 Arkansas.
USTFCCCA Recognizes Eight All-Region Noles
While their medals were formally awarded Friday, eight Florida State athletes were officially recognized by the USTFCCCA Monday for earning All-Region honors.
That distinction belongs to the top 25 finishers in each race from the nine regions nationally.
FSU was among five women’s teams in the nation to land six All-Region awards, trailing only Arkansas’ seven honorees. Maudie Skyring, Elizabeth Funderburk, Addi Coggins, Jodie Judd, Lauren Ryan and Rebecca Clark were among those honored.
Two Florida State men – Caleb Pottorff and Steven Cross – also claimed All-Region honors.
The Seminoles made a significant contribution to the ACC’s haul of 59 All-Region honorees. It marked the second consecutive year that the ACC led all conferences nationally in total honorees.
Florida State’s eight combined All-Region performers was good for a share of the most honors by an ACC school, matching NC State’s total. The Wolfpack also had six women and two men honored. Virginia Tech (seven) was next, followed by Notre Dame and Syracuse with six each.
Decade of Distinction for Noles
With the South Region meet in the books, the FSU cross country programs are one race shy of putting a cap on an impressive decade of accomplishments.
For the ninth time in 10 years (2010-19), the Seminole men and women posted the highest finish of any in-state Division I program at the South Region meet.
Over that 10-year stretch Florida State has also produced 16 homegrown – Florida high school products – All-Region honorees. The Noles led the in-state schools again in that category this year with three – Rebecca Clark, Caleb Pottorff and Steven Cross. Pottorff and Cross were repeat All-Region performers.
Both teams are advancing to the NCAA Championship meet for the seventh time this decade, which also leads all in-state schools. And the Noles haven’t been bad on the big stage either. The women and men have combined for six top-10 NCAA Championship finishes, including four podium (top-four) appearances.