June 17, 2014 - by

1996 Men’s Cross Country Year In Review

The 1996 men’s cross country season saw Coach Irving’s team achieve new levels of
success both within the state of Florida and throughout the southeast. After a
disappointing ’95 season in which the team placed ninth in the ACC, the trio of Brian
Lucyk, Jasen Ritter and Joe Simolari helped the Seminoles improve to a seventh place
conference finish, respectively.

In the first meet of the season, FSU traveled to New Orleans for the Audubon
Invitational. The squad recorded an impressive second place finish among 13 teams
with Ritter, Lucyk, Simolari, David Ogletree and Reid Montini all finishing among the
top 25. Ritter’s second place overall finish earned him ACC Cross Country Performer
of the Week honors, the first such honor for a Seminole runner since FSU joined the
conference in ’91.

FSU hosted the Seminole Cross Country Invitational and the squad took second in the 14
team field on their home course. Leading the way was Lucyk, who placed fourth
overall with a time of 25:51. Ritter, Simolari, Ogletree, Montini rounded out the
Seminole scoring.

The team picked up its most impressive victory of the season at the Barnett Bank
Invitational in Gainesville, defeating Florida for the first time in Scott Irving’s
coaching tenure. Lucyk finished first among collegiate runners while FSU also had
the fourth, fifth and sixth runners in Simolari, Ritter and Montini. With a
difference of less than one minute between the first and fourth runners, Irving
called it the best race he’s seen one of his team’s run at Florida State.

At the ACC Championships in College Park, MD, the Tribe placed seventh in the team
standings – up two spots from a year ago. Lucyk was again the top finisher, crossing
the line 24th out of 70 runners. Ritter was close behind, taking 32nd place, while
Simolari, Ogletree and Montini closed out the top five.

The team closed out the season at the NCAA District III Regional at Furman
University, finishing 29th among 43 teams. Ritter placed 47th in a field of more
than 300 to pace FSU. Contributing in the point standings were (in order of finish)
Ogletree, Montini, Lucyk and Josh Logan.

The Seminole cross country team also performed well in the field of academics.
Irving’s group won the Golden Torch Award for the second straight year, an honor
given to the Florida State athletic team with the highest cumulative GPA.
Accomplishments in both the classroom and on the course helped make ’96 a successful
season for the FSU men’s cross country program.

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