Aug 30, 2013
BOONE, N.C. - Controlled efforts by the Florida State men's and women's cross country teams produced lopsided team wins by the Seminoles Friday at the Covered Bridge Open, in the first competitive outing of the year.
The Seminole men and women shared something else in common aside from lopsided victories. Both teams wore purple Alzheimer's Awareness ribbons to honor the father of Florida State men's coach Bob Braman. Dr. Robert Braman lost his long battle with the disease last week.
Sophomore Zak Seddon cruised to the men's win in 25:41.43 and was immediately followed by senior Josh Gracia (25:43.52) across the finish line on the 8000-meter course (4.9 miles). The Seminoles claimed five of the top seven spots overall for 19 points to overwhelm the six-team field. Host Appalachian State was a distant second with 42 points.
On the women's side, junior transfer Hannah Walker spritely pulled away from the pack over the final mile to win her Florida State debut in 18:05.88 over the 5000-meter (3.1 miles) course, and lead a parade of seven consecutive Seminole finishers. Colleen Quigley was second (18:12.40) and freshman Anna Holdiman was third (18:20.89).
With a perfect score of 15 points, the `Noles out-distanced runner-up Appalachian State (59) and the rest of the six-team field.
"I was real pleased," Braman said, afterward. "Kevin Johnson ran his first cross country race in two years. He has been hurt and he survived it. You could tell Josh (Gracia) and Will (Bridges) did their work over the summer. (Glen) Yarham is going to get better. We're starting to form a team. I really like where we are."
Bridges, a redshirt sophomore, and Yarham a sophomore transfer, finished fourth and fifth in 25:59.03 and 26:02.49, respectively. Johnson, a transfer graduate student from Cornell, was seventh (26:08.94) to round out the Seminole scorers.
"We're getting some pieces together," said Braman, who opted to put several others through a workout prior to the race. "We're going to have some options that I didn't know we had. We're certainly in a better spot than I thought they were going to be."
Like the men, Karen Harvey's women's squad went out slow early and finished fast.
"We had a controlled start and then a nice press to the finish," said Harvey. "Overall we had a hard effort and got some rust out."
The Seminoles packed up early and the leaders stayed together through the finish. Sophomore Georgia Peel (18:23.56), junior Linden Hall (18:24.96), freshman Bridget Blake (18:34.26) and sophomore Pippa Woolven (18:36.07) rounded out FSU's top seven.