Oct. 21, 2003
Heading into Pre-Nationals, the most important regular season meet of the year, Braman set goals for both teams to finish in the top ten. The Noles matched those goals with the men finishing ninth and the women finishing tenth. This is the first time in school history that both teams finished in the top ten. FSU beat two national ranked teams. The men and women were second highest crossing the tape among non-ranked opponents. The men's previous high was 12th, coming last season under Braman and the women had placed 19th at the 2002 meet with Gill winning the 6k race. The men have gone from 12th to 9th in the last two seasons while the women were 20th in 2001, 19th in 2002, and 10th this year at the same meet.
Braman's take: " Pre-Nationals is the most important regular season meet of the season. It's the biggest and easiest chance to get an at-large bid for NCAA Nationals. Wins over quality opponents from outside FSU's region are key in consideration for an at-large berth to the NCAA Nationals Championships, in the event either team does not garner one of the top two automatic sports earned at the South Region Championships November 15.
After an outstanding performance at NCAA Pre-Nationals, the men's team has entered the MONDO Men's NCAA Division I Cross Country Poll with a No. 23 ranking. This is the highest ranking in team history, their first time in the poll this season and a welcomed nod for their hard work.
The women have followed suit maintaining their stature as one of the nation's top 30 teams constantly receiving votes this season in the FinishLynx Women's NCAA Division I Cross Country Poll. FSU was ranked No. 24 in the poll released September 29 and is currently No. 30.
Senior Vicky Gill placed third at Pre-Nationals and second at the Great American Cross Country Festival. Gill, who earned her sixth year of eligibility back twelve minutes before the Great America race, has led the Seminoles to two of their best finishes this season. The Lancshire, England native is arguably the best female cross country runner in FSU history, finishing last season as the first-ever NCAA All-America honoree and two time All-ACC member in Seminole history.
Overall, the women's squad has had one of the most successful seasons in school history, finishing fourth at the Great America Cross Country Festival and tenth at the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Both meets are two of the premier races in intercollegiate cross country. At the Great American Cross Country Festival, the women beat then No. 12 Northern Arizona by two points. At Pre-Nationals, the women picked up four wins over nationally ranked squads. On the men's side, the Garnet and Gold have defeated eight nationally-ranked teams this season and posted two first place victories this season alongside an 11th place finish at the Great American Cross Country Festival. Junior Joep Tigchelaar, who has posted two top 20 finishes in two meets, led the men alongside emerging sophomore Kevin Cook. Cook finished first (24:51.48) at the Florida Intercollegiate Championships and third (15:37) at the Mountaineer Open.