TALLAHASSEE – A rare cool morning provided the perfect backdrop for Friday’s start of the two-day FSU Cross Country Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park and the collegians took full advantage.
Finishing second overall against a field of 24 scoring teams, the Florida State had four of the top 17 finishers. Fifth-place sophomore Erin Phelps ran a personal-best 5,000-meter time of 17:49.2 to lead the way.
Freshman Yasmine Abbes finished 10th (18:02.3) and was followed by Kayla Easterly (14th, 18:10.10) and Ginelle DeMone (17th, 18:12.8). Sarah Myers rounded out the fifth scoring position in 29th (18:29.7). Abbes, DeMone and Myers joined Phelps on a day filled with personal-best performances by the Noles.
Florida won the team title with 29 points, led by individual winner Jessica Pascoe (17:20.1), with the Noles totaling 63 points. Tampa was third (127), taking home top honors among non-Division I schools.
FSU’s women, who raced without the assistance of the top seven headed to Pre-Nationals last weekend, racked up 11 lifetime-best times on the day. That doesn’t include sophomore Ella Swigler, who finished third overall while competing unattached (17:46.98).
Among the others breaking through were Sarah Parrish (18:48.8), Nicole McConnell (18:58.1), Rachel Johnson (19:09.5), Ashley David (19:13.0), Kaley Boethig (19:16.4), Mariah Zupan (19:23.6) and Lindsay Boethig (19:48.4).
Like the women, the Seminole men held out their top seven in preparation for next week, and as a result did not field a scoring team.
Jacob Holmes was the first Nole in uniform across the finish line, placing 11th in 25:10.3 over the 8,000-meter course. Micah Hilliard was 84th in the field of 204 finishers (27:10.2).
Florida State graduate student David Barney, who ran for the Noles and remains active in the program, won the individual title in 24:37.1. Florida claimed the team title, edging North Florida 34-37. Embry-Riddle was the top-finishing non-Division I team.
Several redshirting Noles, competing unattached, also turned in strong performances. Sam Field was seventh in 24:54.7, while Harrison Martingayle (25:33.4) and Gabriel Curtis (25:46.1) finished 20th and 26th, respectively.
The morning races were the first of 14 races over two days at the meet, which boasts the largest number of entrants (3,506) in the event’s history. Action resumes Saturday morning at 7:40 a.m. with the Elite girls high school race.
There is no charge for admission or parking.