Aug. 31, 2007
Boone, N.C. - Led by senior Mark Buckingham and freshman Matt Leeder, the Florida State men's cross country team took first place at the Covered Bridge Open hosted by Appalachian State. The Seminole women also dominated the competition as they finished second behind sophomore All-America Susan Kuijken.
The men's team finished first with a score of 25 in the 8k race, beating second-place hosts Appalachian State by 43 points. The women came in second behind 2006 NCAA South Regional champion Georgia, as they finished the 5k event with 35 points. This marks the seventh-straight year that both Seminole teams have finished in the top five at the race, held at the State Farm Fields in Boone, N.C.
Buckingham (Huddersfield, England) crossed the line with a wining time of 25:33.45, while Leeder (Brockville, Ontario) was just a fraction of a second behind at 25:34.00. Sophomore transfer Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Miss.), came in with a fifth-place time of 25:38.84, and junior Nick Sunseri (Raleigh, N.C.) rounded out the top ten for the Seminoles in ninth at 25:49.92.
"The thing that was exciting is that we beat Georgia and Tennessee, who are two of the top five teams in the region," head coach Bob Braman said of the men's performance. "We put five guys ahead of Georgia's number two and six guys ahead of Tennessee's number one; that's pretty big for us. Buckingham has been good, but he just looked really good today. We had a great pack run and that's what we're going to need in order to be successful. We had some nice surprises out there and we've got a chance to be pretty special this year."
Also crossing the line inside the top fifteen were senior Luke Gunn (Forest Gate, England) - 11th (25:55.56), sophomore Trey Andrews (Titusville, Fla.) - 12th (25:57.98) and junior Steeve Gabart (Miami, Fla.) - 15th (26:04.11).
Kuijken (Negmejor, Netherlands) led the women across the line at 18:00.03, as she beat the nearest runner by a full 18 seconds. Sophomore transfer Hannah England (Oxford, England) finished second for Florida State, coming in fifth overall at 18:22.65 while senior Kirsten Hagen (Blacksburg, Va.) registered a ninth-place time of 18:46. Sophomore Christina Woytalewicz (Brandon, Fla.) - 12th (18:53.53) and junior Lydia Willemse (Forest, Ontario) - 13th (18:59.72) also finished in the top 15.
"I felt like we did a pretty good job against the defending NCAA regional champion Georgia," Braman said of the women's team. I feel like we can be better; we have a chance to win the region. Susan just dominated. She was absolutely cruising and won easily. We ran without three of our top six so I feel like we're going to get better. It was a good outing for the ladies, but obviously we have to go to November so we're not going to get carried away one way or the other."
With two dominant wins to start the season, the Seminoles will return to Florida to play host to the FSU Invitational on September 22.
Men's Team Finish: