TALLAHASSEE – For the first time in five years the Florida State men’s and women’s cross country teams are both nationally ranked in the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association regular season poll.
Coach Kelly Phillips’ women jumped six spots to No. 11 nationally on the heels of their third-place showing at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, when they defeated nine nationally ranked opponents.
Coach Bob Braman’s men are on the board at No. 30 after receiving votes in each of the first four polls of the 2019 season. The Noles placed 10th at Notre Dame with wins over a trio of nationally-ranked teams, propelling them back into the rankings after an absence dating to the final regular season poll of the 2015 season.
You have to go back to the final regular season poll of the 2014 season to find the last time the FSU men and women were simultaneously ranked in the USTFCCCA’s Top-30.
“Our guys have worked really hard to put our program back into the national conversation,” Braman said. “Last year it was qualifying for nationals as an unranked team. This year they’ve built on that and have their sights set even higher.”
While Phillips’ squad boasts its highest ranking since it was No. 9 midway through the 2014 season – the Noles finished 12th at the NCAA Championships – they still trail three teams they defeated at Notre Dame.
“While I don’t think you should ever be ranked behind team you beat head-to-head, it is what it is,” said Phillips, whose squad defeated but still trail No. 4 New Mexico, No. 8 Washington and No. 9 NC State. “It just keeps us hungry and focused.”
Both squads will have an opportunity to gain even more ground in two weeks, when they head to Terre Haute, Ind. and the LaVern Gibson Championship Course, site of the 2019 NCAA Championships. There the Noles will compete at the Under Armour Pre-National Invitational, which will include 72 men’s and 80 women’s teams.
“Pre-Nationals gives us another opportunity to move up even higher,” Braman said.