FSU women pursue title at ACC championship

As quickly as the cross country season began in mid-September it will now conclude on Friday with the ACC championship. 

Florida State has made the most of its three meets, traveling to Gainesville and Birmingham while also hosting a meet earlier this month.

“It could have been nothing,” men’s cross country coach Bob Braman said. “And instead we got three meets plus an ACC championship. And then we’ll have a couple more meets during the winter in February with a national championship in March. So a little bit of a convoluted season, but we’re real happy to have it.”

FSU wraps up the fall season on Friday with the ACC championships on Friday at Cary, N.C. It will be the conclusion of what has been a successful season, and the FSU women are in the mix for a league title. 

Led by Addi Coggins, Alyson Churchill and Rebecca Clark, who took the 4-5-6 spots, the FSU women claimed a victory in the FSU Invitational. Coggins also had a personal-best at UAB (20:22.80 in the 6k). While FSU is a veteran-led team, women’s coach Kelly Phillips has seen the improvement in two freshmen from nearby Chiles High — Churchill and Caitlin Wilkey — this season.

“They’ve done a tremendous job, just jumping right in and not being afraid to run with the big girls,” Phillips said. “But I’d say that the biggest surprise on the front end is probably Addy Coggins. She’s been coming for a while but now she’s really taken ownership of being a front runner and she’s usually the conservative one that goes out in the middle but will never disappoint. And this year, she’s just starting the front and expects to be in the front.”

The FSU men opened with a big win at the Gainesville meet as Paul Stafford and Gabriel Curtis took 1-2 finishes. Stafford also had a personal-best time as FSU took third at the UAB meet (23:30.06 in the 8k), while Curtis has made a step forward after taking a redshirt last season.

“He and Paul trained all summer together, put in good work,” Braman said. “He’s improved his 8K by a minute. Now granted that is going from almost a minute from a freshman where he only ran once unattached to being in these bigger races, but to improve almost a minute is really impressive. Gabe has been a really big part of our development.”

FSU’s runners will have to prepare for what will likely be a muddy track following the rains from Hurricane Zeta. Temperatures will be cooler, around 50, when the teams run Friday morning.

The men’s team will run the 8k race at 10 a.m., while the No. 21 women will begin their 6k race at approximately at 11 a.m. No spectators will be admitted at this meet, but live timing and results will be available on theACC.com and both races will air on the ACC Network Extra.