Three Florida State runners were named All-Americans as Tallahassee hosted its first NCAA championship event in 25 years on Saturday morning.
Adriaan Wildschutt of Florida State took sixth place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships at the Apalachee Regional Park.
Wildschutt ran tight with the pack in the men’s 10K race but fell behind pace in the final 1,000 meters or so and finished in 28:52, behind national champion Conner Mantz of BYU (28:33.1).
“I knew the race was going to be fast,” Wildschutt said. “The first half of the race, just trying to stay as relaxed as I could. But it’s difficult to stay relaxed at the paces and we went out really fast. … I wasn’t good enough for the win but I know I left everything on the field.”
Ahmed Muhumed, Wildschutt’s roommate and good friend, placed 20th in 29:19.9. Northern Arizona took the team title, Notre Dame took ninth as the top ACC school and FSU finished 20th.
FSU coach Bob Braman admitted the obvious — that the local runners felt a little added pressure to perform at a high level against the nation’s best.
“He finished sixth in a national championship and he was close to fourth really the whole way,” Braman said. “I’m proud of him. Ahmed Muhumed getting 20th, he’s never been higher than 65th. He was 130th last year.”
Lauren Ryan placed 26th in a lifetime-best 19:50.1 in the women’s 6K race with the top finish for FSU, which placed 19thoverall. BYU’s Whittni Orton (19:25.3) was the NCAA champion, while NC State won the women’s title.
The top 40 runners in the men’s and women’s races earn All-American recognition.
Tallahassee hosted its first NCAA championship event since women’s tennis in 1996. About 7,500 spectators attended the men’s and women’s race. Kerri L. Post of Visit Tallahassee estimated $2.5 million in direct spending to local hotels, restaurants and other merchants this weekend.
The day was the culmination of a dream of Braman’s as well as that of the running community. He thanked Leon County administrators, county commissioners, the Gulf Winds Track Club, FSU officials as well as Visit Tallahassee. There were also about 200 volunteers working the event, Braman said.
“It’s just incredible. The 13 years to pull this thing together,” Braman said. “But a long time ago, I thought about when we got to the moment what it would be like. And it’s beyond my wildest dreams.”