Florida State coach Bob Braman knew about Adriaan Wildschutt because he had tried to recruit his older brother, Nadeel. When Adriaan was looking to transfer from Coastal Carolina, Braman had a feeling he would be a good fit in Tallahassee.
“I knew he was good but he ended up being better than I thought,” Braman said. “I kind of underchallenged him a little bit in the spring and now I’m really challenging him up to his limits. He’s such a coachable guy. He’s very, very thankful for everything. Very gracious. Gives credit to the whole program. Gives credit to teammates.”
A native of Ceres, South Africa, Wildschutt is humble but he has made quite an impression on the national stage. Wildschutt was the NCAA runner-up in the 2020 cross country meet, a 10k run, and a few weeks ago he took the Covered Bridge Open title, an 8k run. On Friday, he and the Seminoles will run the 8k at the Apalachee Regional Park just south of Tallahassee against a field that also includes top-5 Stanford as well as others from around the region.
“If you are consistent with the training you do you should be able to run any course,” Wildschutt said. “… My focus is always 10K, when I do 8K it’s going to feel somewhat easier.”
Wildschutt said FSU’s coaches prepare them for the biggest meets of the season – ACC, region and national – with the goal of finishing as well as possible. And in this case, the Seminoles are running their home meet at the same course where the national championships will take place on Nov. 20.
“I think it’s very exciting,” Wildschutt said. “I don’t think it’s pressure. For me there’s no pressure. There’s so many worse things to think about. Competing is a privilege. It is your turf, you have to defend it. You have to go out there and run with pride.”
Wildschutt grew up playing rugby and cricket, sports that are wildly popular in South Africa. He eventually gravitated toward running along with his brother as a freshman in high school.
“This is fun,” Wildschutt thought.
And he kept at it, all the way to landing first at Coastal Carolina before now beginning his second year at FSU. Wildschutt has also excelled on the track, where he took fourth in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoors earlier this year (13:30.55) and in the process set FSU, ACC and the South African record. He also claimed the ACC title in the 3,000 meters in 7:55.26.
Wildschutt and Ahmed Muhamed are among the leaders for the FSU men, who will run the 8k race on Friday at 7:40 a.m. The women’s 6k race will follow at 8:10 a.m. Maudie Skyring and Lauren Ryan, who won the 5k at Boone, N.C., a few weeks back, are among those who will anchor the women’s team.