FSU women claim home meet, men place third

On a picture perfect morning at the Apalachee Regional Park, the Florida State women’s cross country brought home the team title in the 5K at the annual FSU Invitational, while the men finished third in the 8K.

The Seminoles won the event for the first time since 2017, tallying 38 points ahead of Alabama (51) in second and Georgia Tech (97) in third, who defeated the Seminoles two weeks ago at the Mountain Dew Invite in Gainesville.

Running together, the Noles were carried by junior Addi Coggins (16:59.8), freshman Alyson Churchill (17:04.9) and sophomore Rebecca Clark (17:04.9), who finished in fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively.

“The plan was to run in more of a pack,” FSU women’s head coach Kelly Phillips said. “We didn’t do that so much two weeks ago. As we roll into championship time and we’re learning how to run with your people. I think by doing that it was a lot easier for them to just relax and run and have fun.”

All three ladies turned in their personal best course times including Churchill, who has been racing at the Apalachee Regional Park since middle school as a local standout.

“It was really cool for the whole team,” Churchill said. “It was obviously nice to be here running on our home course and it just made this (win) more special.”

Coggins took a slight lead at the 4K split (13:41.7) over the field, just ahead of Churchill (13:42.7) in fifth place and Clark (13:44.1) in seventh.

Juniors Elizabeth Funderburk (17:18.9) and Ella Swigler (17:22.5) secured the victory for the Noles by finishing in 11th and 12th place, outlasting Alabama’s final two scoring runners in 18th (17:33.2) and 24th (17:43.6).

The men’s team took on the day without a few key runners due to injury, but still battled to finish in third place with a total of 74 points behind Georgia (56) and Georgia Tech (73). Florida was fourth (96) and LSU took fifth (127).

“It was a really great meet,” FSU head men’s coach Bob Braman said. “There was great competition on both sides. We weren’t really deep, but we’re good and we’re young and I think by the end of the year we can get that mojo going again.”

Florida State was led by redshirt freshman Gabriel Curtis (24:11.9) and junior Paul Stafford (24:23.3), who ran together for the majority of the race, finishing in third and fourth place.

Curtis turned in his best time and was also a near 40 seconds faster than his performance at the Mountain Dew Invite two weeks ago, where he took silver behind Stafford on an easier course.

“I was happy with the team performance today,” Curtis added. “Paul and I were up front leading and we had some other guys together back there. Coach was just telling us to keep our composure in these big meets when they go out fast and that’s just something we’re working on right now, but I’m very confident in the team to get it down.”

Junior Caleb Pottorff crossed the finish line in 18th place (24:57.2) and freshmen Connor Phillips (25:06.9) and Zach Leachman (25:09.6) stepped up and scored the final points for the Seminoles, placing 24th and 25th.

The Seminoles will head to Birmingham, Ala., on Oct. 16 for the UAB Blazer Classic.