By Bob Braman
The Lady Seminoles accomplished their goal at last weekend’s Great American Classic cross country race by beating several nationally ranked teams. Enroute to a 13th place finish (out of 26 teams) the ladies also knocked off three key NCAA South Region foes: South Florida, Mississippi State, and Florida. That performance resulted in their initial entry into the NCAA Coaches Poll with a number 35 national ranking. Vicky Gill led the way with a fine 5th place finish. Nearly all the finishers in the Top 10 were All-Americans, so Vicky’s run was quite impressive. The numbers 2 thru number 4 runners worked together throughout the race and were all in the top 50 before slipping over the last mile. Anne Clinton ended up 67th, Natalie Hughes was 71st, and Misty Harper was 83rd. Freshman Jenny Gomez had to fight her way through a large pack to finish 116th; passing nearly 30 runners over the last mile.
The men’s team overcame quite a bit of adversity on there way to a 12th place finish (out of 25 teams). Last meet’s number one runner, Giscard Titus, fell in the first 400 meters and was buried in the back of the pack in the narrow early going. Nate Adams also hit the deck hard in the hectic start and ended up passing 50 runners on his way to an 80th place finish. Giscard was not as lucky on this day and did not score for the Noles. Some outstanding races, however, saved the day for our harriers. Veteran NCAA All-Region runners Maarten van den Heuvel and Dave Guerra managed to weave their way through traffic enroute to 61st and 69th places finishes, and freshman sensation Kevin Cook followed Guerra’s path with his 70th place finish. Joep Tigchelaar led the way for the Noles with his 57th place finish, giving the men’s team a solid 21 second and 23 place gap for their scoring five (runners 1-5).
Next up for the Seminoles is a split squad men and women’s B-team traveling to the University of Florida Invitational on Saturday, October 5th. The top runners at this race will join the top runners from the Great American Classic at the NCAA Pre-National meet on October 19th. The Pre-NCAA’s is the biggest regular season competition in the country (102 teams) and will be the final regular season meet before kicking off the championship season with the ACC Championships on November 2nd.