July 27, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Every year, Florida State head coach Bob Braman puts together a competitive schedule for his men’s and women’s cross country teams with a focus on being ready for the ACC and NCAA Championships. This season is no exception as the Seminoles released their 2007 schedule.
“This is a very similar schedule to the one we’ve had for the last two-three years,” Brahman said. “It’s set up as a back-loaded schedule so we can be at our best at the very end of the year. We’re going to be a much better team at the end of the year than we will be at the beginning.”
An early highlight to the schedule is the Florida State Invitational, hosted at the Miccosukee Greenway Park, on September 22. The following week the Seminoles travel to one of the oldest cross country races in the nation, the 52nd Annual Notre Dame Invitational. FSU gets its first look at the course used for the NCAA Championships when it travels to Terre Haute, Ind., for the October 13 Pre-National Meet.
Both teams will try to bring home their first ACC Championship when they travel to the league summit, hosted by Virginia on October 27. The men’s team will defend its NCAA South Region Championship and the women will try to improve on their fourth-place showing on November 10 in Gainesville. The season concludes for Seminoles on November 19 at the NCAA Championships, hosted by Indiana State.
The women’s team brings back nearly its entire roster from last season, headed up by All-America selection sophomore Susan Kuijken (Nijemore, Netherlands). Also back is senior Amy Huss (Wyomissing, Pa.), an NCAA All-South Region Team member, as well as Barbara Parker (Norfolk, England) and Laura Bowerman (Temple Terrace, Fla.), who have two of the top 10 6k times in school history.
“The women can be incredibly good,” Braman added. “This is as veteran
a group as I’ve ever coached, men or women. How healthy they are at the right time of the year is going to determined how good they are going to be. Health is going to determine if they are a top 20 team like last year or if they’re on the podium in the top four. They have as much ability as any team that is expected to finish on the podium.”
On the men’s side, the Seminoles have big shoes to fill with the graduation of All-America runners Andrew Lemoncello and Tom Lancashire. Two candidates to take their place are All-South Region selections Mark Buckingham (Hoddersfield, England) and Luke Gunn (Forest Gate, England). Gunn earned All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3000m steeplechase.
“It’s going to be a challenge for the men to be in the top 20 like we’ve been in the past, but the sky could be the limit,” Braman noted. “We lost two great leaders in Lancashire and Lemoncello who always put up high finishes on the board. This is going to be more of a blue collar team, but we still have some guys with their pedigree and we’ve got some of the best young talent I’ve ever coached. We don’t have that 1-2 punch any more, but we’re certainly going to be deeper and a fun group to coach.”
The season kicks off with the Covered Bridges Open in Boone, N.C. on August 31. The first event for the B team is the Mountain Dew Invitational on September 7 in Gainesville. In addition, the Seminoles will hold their sixth annual Across the State Relay on September 19. The relay starts in Yankeetown, which is just north of Crystal River, and ends in Daytona Beach with the donations received by the runners going to charity.