June 12, 2012
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - As consolation prizes go, being selected as the nation's most outstanding men's cross country and track & field program for a second consecutive year is a pretty big deal.
It's a title Bob Braman's Florida State programs will proudly tout after learning Tuesday that the Seminoles had won the 2012 NCAA Division I Program of the Year by the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
"We'd give this one up for a national championship in any of them," Braman said, "but this validates what our program is all about. It's really gratifying to our coaching staff and our student-athletes that we are recognized as the best all-around program in the country."
Florida State joins Oregon as the second repeat winner of the John McDonnell Program of the Year trophy, presented to the most outstanding comprehensive program, based on the scoring performances at the NCAA cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field championships. Only schools that qualify for all three championship meets are eligible for the honor.
The Florida State women finished fourth in the 2012 Program of the Year rankings with 40 points, trailing Oregon (8 points), which won its fourth consecutive Terry Crawford Program of the Year Trophy. Stanford (29.5) and Washington (35) finished second and third.
The Seminole men secured their bookend to the 2011 trophy with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championship, which came to a close Saturday at Drake University. FSU edged Indiana by one point - 25-26 - for the crown. The `Noles were 12th at the NCAA Cross Country Championship (12 points), tied for eighth at the Indoor Championship (9 points) and fourth (4 points), accounting for their 25-point total.
Indiana finished seventh, sixth and 11th in the championship meets, respectively, for 26 points.
Texas (27.5), Texas A&M (30) and Florida (32) rounded out the top five. The Gators, despite winning the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor team championships, could not overcome a 30th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country meet.
A year ago the Seminoles won their first McDonnell Trophy going away, outdistancing Stanford 9-18.5. BYU was third with 29 points. The FSU and Stanford men were the only programs to finish in the top 10 at all three championship meets.
Florida State is the only men's program to finish in the top five each of the four years the McDonnell Trophy has been presented.
"The interesting thing about the award, because it recognizes the excellence in all three sports, you see some of the track-only programs becoming more active and committed to the distance side and in cross country," Braman said. "You see more programs realizing, as we do, that you can't take seasons off and compete for this honor."
Florida State is one of only five schools - joining Indiana, Texas, Stanford and BYU - to finish in the top 10 in consecutive seasons; indicative of the competitiveness among programs and likely an more concerted effort to win the award.
No school placed all three teams in the top 10 at the championship meets.
"The NCAA rules apply for all three sports combined," Braman said. "We try to be as balanced as possible. This was a really competitive year and you see a lot of new faces turning up in the competition."
That is also evident on the women's side, where the Seminoles and four-time champion Oregon Ducks are the only two programs to finish in the top five each year the award has been presented.
FSU's women received a big boost from coach Karen Harvey's cross country team this year, which placed fourth (4 points) at the NCAA meet. On the track, the `Noles were 20th at the Indoor Nationals (20) and tied for 14th (16) Outdoors.
Where the `Noles ranked
USTFCCCA confirms All-American honors for `Noles
First-team USTFCCCA All-America honors are awarded to those who earn any portion of a team point at the national championships, or reach an eight-entrant final. Second-team All-America honors are handed out to those whose final placing in the national meet range from ninth to 16th place.
Senior sprinter Maurice Mitchell, who successfully defended his 200-meter championship, was one of four men to earn three first-team All-American honors. Mitchell was third in the 100 and ran the third leg of FSU's runner-up 4x100 relay team, which established a new school record.
USTFCCCA First-Team All-Americans - Men
Gonzalo Barroilhet (Decathlon)