STILLWATER, Okla. – The Florida State cross country teams took home three All-American honors on Monday at the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships that were held at the Oklahoma State Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Junior Adriaan Wildschutt won silver in the men’s 10K, producing the highest finish by a Seminole in school history at an NCAA meet. He became the first FSU All-American since 2012. It was also the second-best performance by a runner from the ACC in conference history.
The 18th-ranked women’s team was fueled by a pair of All-American finishers for the first time since the 2012 meet, led by senior Maudie Skyring in 23rd place (20:40.5) followed by sophomore Rebecca Clark in 40th (20:59.3).
Skyring, Clark, along with senior Kayla Easterly, freshman Alyson Churchill and senior Jodie Judd averaged 21:21.90 for 15th place with a total of 363 points. The performance marks the 10th top 15 finish at the meet in school history.
“I couldn’t be happier with how they competed,” FSU head coach Kelly Phillips said. “They ran really tough and came in seeded 18th and ended up 15th with two All-Americans after being at Indoor Nationals.”
Skyring’s finish was the highest at the meet since Colleen Quigley also took 23rd in 2014. The Australian took home her third All-American honor in three days, after anchoring the distance medley relay to a third place finish and she placed eighth in the 3,000M at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
“Maudie is a beast,” Phillips said. “She anchored the distance medley relay that got third place and scored in the 3K. Then came back for a 23rd place finish and is an All-American in cross country. Three All-American honors in three days for one girl is amazing.”
Facing one of the toughest courses in the country under near-perfect running conditions at 59 degrees with light wind, the Seminoles stayed close together until the 4k split where Skyring and Churchill were 51st and 52nd respectively and had a slight edge over their teammates.
Skyring continued to climb up the ranks as the grueling hills of the course claimed many of its competitors.
Skyring was at her best during the hardest part of the course, passing 28 runners in the final 2k of the race, crossing the line at 20:40.5 for 23rd place.
Clark also made her move in the final 1k, maneuvering from 62nd all the way to 40th in order to take the final All-American spot at 20:59.3, edging out McKenna Lee from BYU (20:59.9).
“Clark really surprised me,” Phillips added. “She was another one that came in here and got All-American. It was just an incredible weekend for her and the Noles.”
Easterly was the next Seminole across the finishing line, clocking 21:31.60 for 106th place, followed by Churchill (21:43.3) in 127th and Judd (21:54.8) in 154th.
Senior Jennifer Lima (22:30.0) and sophomore Yasmin Abbes (23:46.7) rounded out the seven FSU runners, placing 204th and 248th respectively.
After setting an ACC, FSU and South African national record in the 5,000M on Friday at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships, Wildschutt battled fatigue in the first 1,000M and went out with the leaders and held steady in fourth place for the front part of the race.
Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State and Alex Masai of Hofstra established the early lead and looked to make it a two-man race, but Wildschutt along with BYU’s Conner Mantz, closed the gap to two-seconds at the 6K split.
“We were gaining and gaining,” Wildschutt said. “At this point, no one wants to run alone so I pushed and encouraged him. I said we could catch them.”
After those words of inspiration, Mantz and Wildschutt made it a four-man pack and looked to take the lead and near the 8k mark.
Wildschutt picked up the pace at the most challenging part of the course and passed Kiptoo in the final 2k of the race, while Mantz had a big burst and built a big lead.
“The last 1k of that race was so hard,” Wildschutt said. “But I thought about what I did; my hardest training to get me here, my teammates and coaches at FSU and I wasn’t going to give up and everyone was screaming for me at the finish line and it was amazing.”
Wildschutt crossed the line in second place behind Mantz, but ahead of Kiptoo (29:54.9) with a time of 29:48.2.
“That was an incredible race for Adriaan,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “He ran with the lead pack the entire race and had a shot to win with a half mile to go. What’s most impressive about this performance is that he did it on only two days of rest after breaking the ACC 5,000M record on Friday night,
“It blows my mind that he could handle the hills so well. This was the hilliest course I’ve ever seen in my 40-plus years in the sport, and of course there was no way to prepare for hills like that in Tallahassee. A truly great performance!”
Senior Ahmed Muhumed also competed in the men’s 10K, finishing in 123rd place with a time of 31:53.1.
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