Women’s cross country takes second at ACC championships

Behind a trio of top-10 finishers the 10th-ranked Florida State women’s team posted the best ACC Championships finish for the program since their 2013 title, placing second Friday morning at the cold, muddy and wind-swept Buford Meredith Cross Country Course.

With junior Lauren Ryan (sixth), sophomore Elizabeth Funderburk (eighth) and junior Maudie Skyring (10th) leading the way – and earning All-ACC honors – the Noles pushed No. 6 NC State to the wire, with the Wolfpack prevailing 64-76 for their fourth consecutive title.

“I think they had a great day,” said fifth-year FSU coach Kelly Phillips. “We weren’t supposed to beat NC State. I thought we could and I still think we had a legitimate shot, but they had a good day as well.”

The No. 21 Florida State men finished sixth in the 15-team field with grad transfer Kasey Knevelbaard (13th) and sophomore Paul Stafford (17th) turning in  All-ACC performances to lead the way. The Noles weren’t especially sharp, but their performance was further hindered when Knevelbaard, expected to contend for the individual titles, fell in the first mile of the race and expended a great deal of energy to get back in the mix.

“The main problem for us was I trained us more for regionals and nationals,” veteran FSU coach Bob Braman said. “Physically we weren’t sharp and that’s on me. We trained really hard last week, thinking about nationals and the guys just weren’t as sharp as they were two weeks ago.

“I do know that having Kasey goes down hurts you points-wise, but it hurts you emotionally to see your leader go down early in the race as you try to work your way through.”

Knevelbaard was running in the front pack when he went down and had trouble getting back on his feet in the field of 134 runners. He was 71st at the mile but climbed all the way to 14th at the 6,000-meter split.

Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer, whom Knevelbaard beat twice during the regular season, successfully defended his title, winning in 23:42.7, Knevelebaard cross the finish line in 24:45.9.

Stafford, who finished 64th as a freshman, stayed in the chase pack from the start and cruised home in 24:51.1.

“It was a great race for Paul Stafford,” Braman said. “Other guys like Steven Cross hung in there and fought through. We’ve got some work to do. We’re glad to be going home about the same as we were last year, but really, they weren’t sharp and that’s on me.”

Syracuse edged Notre Dame 68-73 for the team title. Virginia Tech and Virginia totaled 100 points and Wake Forest with fifth with 116 points. The Noles finished with 155 points with senior Steven Cross matching his career-best finish at the meet in 31stplace, holding down the third position. Silas Griffith was 39th.

FSU volleyball records 10th sweep

Limiting Virginia Tech to a season-low .041 hitting percentage, the Seminoles recorded their 10th sweep of the season on Friday night as RV Florida State (15-6, 9-3 ACC) defeated Virginia Tech (9-15, 2-9 ACC) on the road in straight sets, 25-20, 25-18, 25-17. It is the seventh consecutive win by the Noles in the series with VT.

Coming into the match ranked third in the NCAA with 3.00 blocks per set, the Seminoles averaged 4.00 per set on Friday, led by freshman Emma Clothier who had eight blocks, including one solo. Taryn Knuth had four blocks, while Jasmyn Martin and Caleigh Morrison added three blocks apiece.

The 12 total blocks by Florida State marks the 13th time this season that the Noles have recorded double-digit blocks, and is the seventh time FSU has had 10 or more blocks in a three-set match. 

“This road trip started with some adversity before we even left Tallahassee, as we had several travel delays last night and didn’t arrive at our hotel until 3:00 a.m.,” said FSU coach Chris Poole. “The team really stepped up and met that adversity head on today. We were able to get a lot of players in the match and I was proud of the way that everyone kept working throughout the match.”

Sierota sizzles with 66 in The Bahamas

Sophomore Calvin Sierota’s 6-under 66 showing has helped give the Florida State Men’s Golf team the opening round lead at the White Sands Invitational held at the Ocean Club Golf Course in The Bahamas.

Sierota tied his career low for a single round on Friday as he registered seven birdies on the day, tying for the third most among the 84 competing golfers. The Seminoles shot their best round of the fall with a 13-under 275, and are currently leading second-place Houston by one stroke.

The Top 5 in the field include FSU (-13), Houston (-12), SMU (-10), Arkansas (-9) and Middle Tennessee State (-9).

Junior John Pak also had a solid round, shooting a 2-under 70 that included three consecutive birdies on holes 4-6. His only blemish on the day was a double bogey on the 17th-hole, 306-yard par 4 when he carded a six.

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