SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Serving notice that its No. 2 national ranking is well-deserved, the Florida State women’s cross country team unleashed an impressive assault on the course and the field at Friday’s Notre Dame Invitational, winning in runaway fashion.
Sophomore Colleen Quigley scored her first collegiate victory, leading a group of four Seminoles among the first seven finishers, with a winning 5-kilometer time of 16:29. A trio of seniors followed close behind with Violah Lagat third (16:45), Kayleigh Tyermanfifth (16:47) and Amanda Winslow seventh (16:49).
Senior Jessica Parry rounded out the Seminole scorers with a 12th-place finish (16:57).
The Seminoles destroyed the 19-team field with 28 points, with host and 20th-ranked Notre Dame a distant second (110), followed by 19th-ranked New Mexico (147) and ACC rival NC State (148), which entered the race ranked 25th nationally.
“As you can look at the results, it was an interesting day,” FSU coach Karen Harvey said. “There was a lot of weirdness … It was extremely fast. The footing was rock hard, the temperature was perfect and there was no wind.”
In short, the conditions for a great day could not have been better.
“We had to come here and dominate because the next best team was [ranked] in the 20s,” Harvey said. “It was our best collective effort here. There were a lot of personal bests. We saw what we need to work on.”
So did FSU men’s coach Bob Braman, whose Seminoles defeated some quality opponents with a fourth-place team finish in a 21-team field that was significantly deeper in talent than the women’s field.
Junior Jakub Zivec, who has endured injury and uneven performances his first two cross country seasons, was nothing short of sensational in the first big meet of the season for the Seminoles. Zivec finished fourth, covering the 5-mile course in outstanding, early-season time of 23:40, just seven seconds behind champion Chris O’Hare of Tulsa.
The 10th-ranked Seminole men finished with 152 points to finish behind champion No. 20 Tulsa (104), No. 17 Princeton (139) and No. 24 Notre Dame (143), but significantly ahead of ACC rival and 11th-ranked NC State (10th, 237) and North Carolina (11th, 253).
“This is by far Kuba’s best collegiate race, running 23:40 against really high-quality athletes,” said Braman, noting that O’Hare in the NCAA indoor track champion in the mile and Texas A&M’s Henry Lelei, the third-highest returning finisher from last year’s NCAA cross country championship, were within his reach.
“It was a really solid race for Breandan, who doesn’t really turn it on until the end of the season and Paul Lagno ran an outstanding race – a lifetime best for five miles,” Braman added.
Freshman Zak Seddon lost ground down the stretch and was 57th overall (24:35) in his first big-stage event on the collegiate level. Senior co-captain Wes Rickman, who is working his way back from an injury that kept him off the track in the spring, showed progress with a 59th-place finish (24:36). They rounded out the Seminole scorers.
While the Florida State women won in impressive fashion, it was Quigley who stole the show. Her winning time was just three seconds off the best-ever effort by a Seminole on the Notre Dame golf – an 16:26 by four-time All-AmericanSusan Kuijken in 2007.
“Colleen is talented and she continued on that success from outdoors until now,” Harvey said of Quigley, who earned All-American honors on in the steeplechase this past June. Quigley was 55 seconds faster on the same course she ran a year ago as a freshman, setting a trend that permeated FSU’s Friday lineup.
All seven returning Seminoles turned in significantly faster times than they did a year ago, including sophomoresLinden Hall, who finished 20th (17:05) and Aubree Worden (34th, 17:19). Freshman Georgia Peel’s season debut wasn’t as productive as she had hoped, but her 63rd-place showing (17:35) was a starting point. She was chased across the finish line by freshman classmate Carly Thomas (64th, 17:35), who recorded a 20-second personal best for 5k.
On the men’s side, junior transfer Josh Gracia was 79th (24:47) and senior David Forrester took another step on the road to recovery, finishing 86th (24:52). They were followed by redshirt freshman Will Bridges (115th, 25:16).
“I thought we competed really hard, even though the results don’t necessarily show it,” said Braman, whose team still managed to defeat six nationally ranked teams. “We’ve got seven weeks until championships, and we’re seven weeks since we broke camp,” Braman said. “I think we’re going to good team at the end.”
The Seminoles will host the Florida State Invitational this coming weekend at Apalachee Regional Park, with the colleges racing Friday on what will serve as a preview of the NCAA South Region course. Approximately 2,000 high school runners will descend on the course Saturday for their first look at the course which will host the Florida State Championship meet in late November.