FSU hosts large cross country meet with ACC-SEC challenge feel

The Florida State cross country teams will be competing on their home course Friday as they host the 2020 Florida State Cross Country Invitational at Apalachee Regional Park.

The event will feature five collegiate races, followed by a series of high school races on Saturday. All collegiate races will be closed to the general public. Live timing will be available through Primetime Timing.  

“This is going to be our biggest home meet,” FSU women’s coach Kelly Philips said. “It’s going to be an ACC-SEC challenge almost. The competition is going to be fantastic and so is the weather, so it’s a win-win.”

The men’s 8,000-meter collegiate invite race will begin Friday at 7:40 a.m. and the women’s 5,000-meter collegiate invite race will follow at 8:10 a.m. Both of these races will consist of 10 teams, which will include conference members Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Miami for both men’s and women’s races.

In-state rival Florida along with fellow SEC foes Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Alabama and Mississippi State will have teams competing.  In previous seasons, the FSU Invitational has served to be a training event for the Seminoles, however due to COVID-19 and the schedule limitations, the field will feature top student-athletes and top teams from the region.

“Competing at home just make us that much more eager and excited to compete,” junior Addi Coggins said. “We didn’t know if we were going to be allowed to run. The fact that this is happening is super exciting,

“Going off of our first meet and getting our feet wet, and not being able to compete since the indoor season, we’ve been itching to go, so to be able to have all of these amazing teams coming to this meet and competing at our home course and race against so many big teams; I think we’re just eager to go. It should be fun.”

There will also be men’s and women’s collegiate open races that will be held shortly after, along with a second women’s collegiate invite race. The men’s 8,000-meter race will begin at 8:30 a.m., while the women’s 5,000-meter race will begin at 9:05 a.m. Both collegiate open races will also feature FSU runners. The invitational will then close out the day with the second women’s 5,000-meter collegiate invite race that will start at 9:30 a.m.

“It’s going to be a great meet,” FSU men’s coach Bob Braman said. “We’re excited to be competing head-to-head with ACC and SEC schools. The weather is co-operating, big time, so the course should be fast. It’s just going to be a great way to do the FSU Invitational.”

The Florida State men’s team is hoping to bring their momentum from Gainesville back to Tallahassee after winning the Mountain Dew Invite earlier this month. Junior Paul Stafford is coming off his first career collegiate victory, along with five runners from the team finishing in the top seven at the invite. They will be looking to help lead their team to a second straight team win.

The Florida State women’s team will be looking to bounce back from the Mountain Dew Invite after finishing second as a team at the event. Sophomore Rebecca Clark, who placed second individually at the Mountain Dew Invite, and junior Addi Coggins, will build off their personal-best times from Gainesville and will try to lead the team to their first win of the season.

“We went into Florida two weeks ago with a low-key mindset,” Phillips added. “We want to win, want to win on our course and with the teams that are going to be there, there’s certainly some good competition, whether it’s individual or team-wise.”

Following the college meets on Friday morning, the high school event will compete on Saturday. The Apalachee Regional Park will also be the host site for this event, along with the 2020 FHSAA Cross Country State Championships, on Nov. 13.