Nov. 13, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State cross country teams continue to reap the rewards of their dominating performances Friday at the NCAA South Region Championships. Not only did the Seminole men and women secure trips to Saturday's NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky. with region titles, but they swept all four major awards bestowed by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Senior co-captain Violah Lagat was selected as the South Region Athlete of the Year after capturing the individual title and leading a 1-2-3 sweep by the Seminoles. Lagat cruised the Apalachee Regional Park 6-kilometer course in record time (20:06.5) as the FSU women rolled to victory with a scant 24-point total. Lagat, who won the Atlantic Coast Conference individual title for the team champion Seminoles, is the third FSU woman to claim South Region Athlete of the Year honors in the last six years.
On the men's side, junior Jakub Zivec was awarded the individual region title after finishing side-by-side with senior teammate Breandan O Neill. The two crossed the finish line after 10 kilometers in identical times of 30:23, with Zivec getting the winning nod by video review. Their 1-2 finish, with senior teammate Wes Rickman fourth, led the Seminoles to the team crown with 27 points for the first win of the year in major competition.
Seminole coaches Karen Harvey and Bob Braman were also recognized by the USTFCCCA as South Region Coaches of the Year. It was Harvey's fourth such honor in six seasons as the Florida State women's coach. Braman earned the award on the men's side for the second consecutive year.
Seminoles stand alone on All-Region counts
All 14 Seminoles - seven women and seven men - who toed the starting line for Friday's South Region Championship races in Tallahassee came home with a medal.
In addition to Lagat, the individual champion, Colleen Quigley (second), Amanda Winslow (third), Kayleigh Tyerman (eighth), Georgia Peel (10th), Jessica Parry (13th) and Jennifer Dunn (20th) earned All-Region honors. It marked the fourth time - the third consecutive - since Harvey took over the program in 2007 that all seven Seminoles finished in the top 25 at a region championship race.
Nationally, only one other women's team - Arkansas from the South Central Region - managed as many as six All-Region honors.
All seven members of the Florida State men's squad earned All-Region honors. FSU's 1-2 finishers, Zivec and O Neill, Rickman (fourth), Seth Proctor (ninth), David Forrester (11th), Zak Seddon (17th) and Paul Lagno (22nd) claimed spots in the top 25. Seven other schools from the nine region championship races claimed six All-Region honors.
It marked the first time that the Braman's FSU men claimed seven top-25 and All-Region performances, eclipsing the previous high of six from the 2010 team, which moved on to finish second at the NCAA Championship meet.
Final polls have `Noles perched at Nos. 1 and 18
For the second consecutive year, Harvey's Florida State women will enter carry a No. 1 ranking into the championship meet. The Seminoles strengthened their four-week hold on the top spot by claiming 10 of 12 first-place votes. FSU entered the 2012 season where they concluded the 2011 campaign - at No. 4 - then spent one week at No. 3 and two more at No. 2 before ascending to the top spot in the Oct. 2 rankings.
Since the Oct. 19, 2011, the FSU women have been ranked No. 1 nationally in nine of the last 13 regular season polls.
The Florida State men, meanwhile, road their South Region title to a five-spot jump in the final regular season. The Seminoles are tied for 18th nationally with Georgetown, after opening the season with a four-week run at No. 10, before dipping as low as No. 23.
Both teams will lace up their spikes on Saturday at the NCAA Championships, as E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky. plays host the season finale. The women's race is scheduled for a 12 noon start, followed by the men's race at 1:15 p.m.
A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast on NCAA.com.