TALLAHASSEE – Strong performances against outstanding competition at Saturday’s Under Armour Pre-National Invitational have propelled the Florida State men’s and women’s cross country teams to their highest national rankings in five years.
Parlaying a sixth-place team finish, the Seminole men climbed nine spots to No. 21 with the Tuesday release of the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Coaches’ Poll.
The Seminole women check in at No. 10 following their fifth-place finish at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind.
It’s the highest ranking for either team since the 2014 season, when the men checked in at No. 21 in week 6. The FSU women have not been among the top 10 nationally since they were No. 9 in week 4 of 2014, which marked their 47th consecutive poll appearance as a top-10 squad dating to 2009.
“The guys have worked really, really hard,” FSU men’s coach Bob Braman said, after his Noles knocked off five ranked squad to ascend from a share of 30th place in the previous poll. “This is not a meteoric jump. We’ve inched our way forward and worked super hard to get to where we are. Obviously, the most important meets – converting rankings to actual finishes – are in the championship season.
“We’ve got the first act down pretty good. Now we’ve got to get to the second act and final act.”
Phillips’ women entered the weekend tied for 11th and were bumped one spot after finishing behind four teams who now own positions 3-4-5-8 in the poll.
“Everybody is excited about it,” said Phillips, who came into the season believing the Noles had top-10 potential. “I think the team is in a good place physically and mentally as well; excited about where they can be and are starting to actually believe I wasn’t making things up [about their potential].”
The FSU women, who defeated three teams currently ranked ahead of them at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, sit second among five ACC schools in the top-30. Three-time defending conference champion NC State – one of those teams the Noles beat at Notre Dame – sits at No. 6. Notre Dame (No. 17), Virginia Tech (22) and Boston College (27) round out the ranked ACC squads, with Georgia Tech and Syracuse among those also receiving votes.
Like the women, FSU’s men also hold down the second-best ranking among conference schools. Notre Dame is one spot in front of the Noles at No. 20, while NC State and Virginia are tied for No. 23 and Syracuse tumbled to No. 28 this week.
“It’s nice to see both teams doing well because there’s this certain gel with the men and women’s teams right now, which is fantastic because everybody is feeding off of each other,” Phillips said. “Watching the guys do as well as they did last weekend, running in a pack, was fun to watch.”
The next time either team races will be Nov. 1 in Blacksburg, Va. at the ACC Championships, which marks the start of the championship season.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” Braman said. “It’s good to be in the mix. It’s been awhile to have this kind of recognition, but there’s a lot of work to be done and it all starts with the ACC Championships.”