Wildschutt wins ACC cross country title

The Florida State cross country teams captured four All-ACC honors at the 2021 ACC Cross Country Championships at the Burke Golf Course on Friday.

Adriaan Wildschutt dominated the men’s 8k, bringing home the ACC men’s individual title for the third time in school history with a time of 23:07.0. Andrew Lemoncello is FSU’s only other champion, winning back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. 

“I wanted to come out here and perform well for my team,” Wildschutt said. “I knew there are a bunch of good runners from Notre Dame in the race, who I respect, and I knew I had a shot at this title. From the first 1k I realized it was a good pace and if I could keep it up for another 3k I should be good, and I would take off.”

Teammate Ahmed Muhumed won bronze, crossing the line at 23:24.0. 

The duo matched the performance by Andrew Lemoncello and Tom Lancashire from 2005, which was the only other gold and bronze podium finish in program history.

“The highlight of the day was the one-three finish for the men,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “The first ACC Champion since 2005, that’s a pretty big deal. Adriaan ran like Adriaan. Ahmed ran phenomenal. He’s just raised his game to another level.” 

Seniors Lauren Ryan and Maudie Skyring earned All-ACC honors for the second time in their career, placing 11th and 13th respectively in the 6k. Ryan clocked a time of 20:40.8 and Skyring crossed the line at 20:44.8.

FSU has now captured at least two All-ACC women’s honors at every ACC meet since 2018.

The 10th-ranked FSU women’s team started the day with a third-place finish with a total of 102 points behind No. 2 NC State (20) and No. 13 North Carolina (87).  The No. 19 men’s team scored 134 points for fifth place behind No.8 Notre Dame (32), RV Syracuse (84), RV Wake Forest (104) and RV North Carolina (110).

“This is an elite meet,” Braman said. “This is one of the best conferences in America and if you’re not ready to go, you’re not 100 percent, then teams will beat you.  Collectively, if we put it all together, we could have finished higher, but we decided that we want to train for nationals, which is the ultimate goal,

“The main thing that isn’t really measured a whole lot is the how we handled the conditions and the stress of this meet,” Braman added. “We competed very well and hard, which is something I am very happy with.”

In cool and wet conditions, the women took the starting line first for the 6k.  The tight course proved to be a disadvantage for the Seminoles in both races.

“From an execution standpoint, we didn’t get out,” Braman added. “We were down by 50 points early and we closed it to 15 points and in every women’s race, we’ve been leading out of the gate. It makes it more difficult because we were playing catch up the entire time.”

Ryan established her position with the leaders by the 3.2K checkpoint. At that mark, Skyring started making her move from 32nd, climbing to 13th in the final parts of the race.

FSU’s remaining scoring runners finished closely together, led by Rebecca Clark in 22nd place at 20:51.9 freshman Agnes McTighe in 28th at 20:58.6.  Erin Phelps took 32nd (21:05.8) and Amanda Beach (21:14.1) placed 38th.

“The biggest race for us on the women’s side was Erin Phelps,” Braman added. “Former walk-on and she really stepped up and had a great race. Clark was solid and for Agnes to get 28th as a freshman was really great.”

As the favorite, Wildschutt went to the front of the pack early and held the slight edge over the pack. He made his move around the halfway mark of the race and kept stretching hist lead.

Muhumed also went out with the lead pack and was near Wildschutt for the front part of the race.  He held a solid third from the 3.2K split and never looked back, crossing the line at 23:24.0 for the bronze.

Silas Griffith ran his best ACC race, finishing in 28th place with a time of 24:22.0, ahead of Gabriel Curtis (24:44.1) in 53rd and Matthew Owens (24:44.4) rounded out the top five in 54th after crossing the first checkpoint in 96th place.   

“Silas ran his best ACC race ever and Matt Owens really stepped up and scored for us,” Braman said. “We’re still working through some things, but we’ll figure it out and put it together.”

The Seminoles will race in the NCAA South Regional Championships on Nov. 13 in Florence, Alabama.