Florida State Men's Cross Country - 2015 Year In Review

Florida State Men's Cross Country - 2015 Year In Review

Coaching Staff
Bob Braman, Head Coach
Kevin Ondrasek, Volunteer Assistant
Josh Seitz, Assistant Coach

Click here for team picture

Click here to see individual mug shots

2015 Florida State Signees/Newcomers

Christian Aman, Lake Mary

Andy Coscoran, Balbriggan, Ireland

Harry Mulenga, Chililabombwe, Zambia

Tyson Murray, Tallahassee

Santiago Pardo, Madrid, Spain

Hunter Scott, Tallahassee

Will Simons, Hartland, WI

2015 Roster - By Name

T                            PY
R Name                  Cl   Ltr  Hometown (Prior School)
  Christian Aman        Fr        Lake Mary (Lake Mary)
  William Bridges       Sr-R **   Orlando (Edgewater)
  Jake Burton           Jr-R      Stuart (Martin County)
  Matt Butler           So        Fort Lauderdale (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
* Andy Coscoran         Fr        Balbriggan, Ireland (Saint Mary's Diocesan)
  Max del Monte         Jr-R *    Tampa (Chamberlain)
  Abdin Fator           Jr        Tampa (Sickles)
* Jack Goodwin          Sr-R *    Bedford, England (Wootton Upper/Bedfordshire)
* Michael Hall          So   *    Cincinnati, OH (Saint Xavier)
* Bryce Kelley          So-R *    Hope Valley, RI (Chariho)
* Stanley Linton        Jr-R *    Crawfordville (Wakulla)
  Matt Magee            So-R      Lutz (Steinbrenner)
* Harry Mulenga         Jr        Chililabombwe, Zambia (Chililabombwe/Central Arizona CC)
  Tyson Murray          Fr        Tallahassee (Chiles)
* Grant Nykaza          So-R *    Beecher, IL (Beecher)
  Santiago Pardo        Fr        Madrid, Spain (International School of Madrid)
  Hunter Scott          Fr        Tallahassee (Leon)
* Zak Seddon            Sr   ***  Reading, England (Piggott)
  Will Simons           Fr        Hartland, WI (Arrowhead)
* Otniel Teixeira       Jr-R *    Miami (Lake Brantley/South Florida)

2015 Schedule and Results

Boone, NC
2nd(t) Place
Blacksburg, Va
2nd Place
Boston, Ma
7th Place
Madison, Wi
18th Place
Tuscaloosa, Al
Tuscaloosa, Al
1st Place
Louisville, Ky
29th Place
EOY Stats Ref

                Overall   Home    Away   Neutral
FSU RECORD IS    0- 0     0- 0     0- 0     0- 0

 1  SYRACUSE               46
 3  VIRGINIA              115
 4  VIRGINIA TECH         120
 5  LOUISVILLE            130
 6  NOTRE DAME            147
 7  FLORIDA STATE         172
 8  DUKE                  187
 9  NORTH CAROLINA        189
10  GEORGIA TECH          209
11  CLEMSON               318
12  BOSTON COLLEGE        360
13  PITTSBURGH            368
14  WAKE FOREST           410
15  MIAMI                 488

2015 EOY Stats

Team Overall Name Races Top 7 Top 10 Wins =============================================== Stanley Linton 8 8 3 0 Zak Seddon 8 8 2 2 Jack Goodwin 7 7 4 1 Bryce Kelley 6 6 2 0 Andy Coscoran 6 5 1 0 Grant Nykaza 5 5 0 0 Michael Hall 5 5 0 0 Harry Mulenga 4 4 1 0 Otniel Teixeira 3 3 0 0 Max del Monte 2 1 0 0 Abdin Fator 2 1 0 0 Matt Magee 2 1 0 0 William Bridges 2 0 0 0 Matt Butler 1 0 0 0

09/04/2015, Boone, NC

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

Peel Helps Make Phillips' Debut A Winner; Goodwin Prevails.
FSU women edge Florida; reduced men's squad share second.

BOONE, NC - In the first race of her senior season, Florida State's Georgia Peel scored her first collegiate cross country victory Friday at the Covered Bridge Open and helped make coach Kelly Phillips a winner in her Seminole debut.

Peel covered the 5000-meter State Farm Fields/Kennedy Trails course in 17:44.07 for a 15-second margin of victory, and the Seminoles cruised to the victory in large part due to the performances of freshman Carmela Cardama Baez (18:02.77) and sophomore Bridget Blake (18:03.16), who placed third and fourth.

FSU senior Christine Griggs (18:32.46) and junior Courteney West (18:39.67) finished 10th and 11th to secure the win for the 25th-ranked Seminoles, who out-distanced rival Florida, 29-42. Host Appalachian State was third (54), followed by East Carolina (112) and VMI (161).

"[Peel] looked great," Phillips said. "She, Carmela and Bridget looked very comfortable. They were real far back and after that they started weaving around people. I was actually happy they stayed with the plan."

The conservative start and fast finish strategy worked effectively for the Noles, who also received solid efforts from freshmen Fatema Jaffer (15th, 18:58.37) and Sarah Candiano (22nd, 19:11.88). Sophomores Katie Slater (27th, 19:23.80) and Chelsea Jarvis (29th, 19:29.47) followed close behind.

"They did a really nice job starting out in the pack," Phillips said. "They looked so good and very comfortable moving through. It was a good start [to the season]."

It was also a good start for Florida State senior Jack Goodwin, who gave the Seminoles a clean sweep of the individual titles, with a big kick to nip Appalachian State's Mike Ellis for the win.

"He looked really good," FSU coach Bob Braman said of Goodwin. "The idea was to run it as a workout and never lead and he took the directions correctly to the end. He didn't lead until the last step."

Goodwin, like Peel and Great Britain native, won in 20:02.19 to Ellis' 20:15.78.

The Seminoles received an exceptionally strong closing run from redshirt junior Stanley Linton, who finished third overall in 20:15.78. Bryce Kelley's best collegiate appearance earned a ninth-place finish (20:33.16) for the Noles over the 6400-meter course.

"Stanley went out really slow and just rolled people up," Braman said. "He was probably 15th at 2 miles. Bryce ran really strong as well."

Florida claimed the team title by placing five runners in the top 10 for 32 points, while the Seminoles shared second with host Appalachian State with 60 points.

Otniel Teixeira (21st, 20:56.13) and ailing Zak Seddon (27th, 21:14.13) rounded out the Seminole scorers.

"I felt like we did a good job," said Braman, who chose to put sophomores Grant Nykaza and Michael Hall and freshmen Tyson Murray, Hunter Scott, Will Simons and Andy Coscoran, through a workout as opposed to a race. "The guys who didn't race did a real nice job. We'll be fine."

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
   1   Jack Goodwin                   1   20:02.19
   3   Stanley Linton                 3   20:15.78
   9   Bryce Kelley                   9   20:33.61
  21   Otniel Teixeira               21   20:56.13
  27   Zak Seddon                    26   21:14.13
  57   Max del Monte                 42   22:42.29

09/18/2015, Blacksburg, Va

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

FSU's Peel, Seddon Post Cross Country Wins At Virginia Tech.
Seminole women remain unbeaten; men edged by single point.

BLACKSBURG, VA - Senior Georgia Peel and the Florida State women's cross country team remain perfect under first-year coach Kelly Phillips, following Friday's victory at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational.

Peel won her second consecutive race of the season, cruising the Buford Meredith 6000-meter course in 21:01.43, with teammate and fellow co-captain Bridget Blake finishing second (21:15.31) and freshman Carmela Cardama Baez fourth (21:24.79). With senior Christine Griggs' late push for sixth (21:57.34) and freshman Fatema Jaffer's 17th place finish (22:10.42) the Seminoles comfortably turned back the 12-team field.

On a week when the Seminole women were unceremoniously dropped from the national rankings, the 26th-ranked men were suffering their second narrow loss of the season, despite a 1-2 finish from Zak Seddon and Stanley Linton.

Despite Seddon edging Linton by less than a second over the 8000-meter course (24:50.59-24:51.38) and Jack Goodwin fourth (24:53.57), the Noles came up a point short of Akron (42-43) for the team title in the field of 12.

Outcomes notwithstanding, both Phillips and FSU men's coach Bob Braman came away from meet encouraged by what they saw from the Seminoles.

"We had a really, really hard week of training so everybody looked flat, but if they can look that flat and still run those times, I'll take that," Phillips said. They were really solid."

"Her, Bridget and Carmela - we kind of did this pack thing - they were supposed to be conservative through the first 3 kilometers…Then Griggs, [Courteney] West, Jaffer and [Sarah] Candiano were a pack and ran really well together.

"Griggs may have not knocked off 15 spots in the last mile and was a beast in the end."

West finished 20th (22:15.80) and Candiano was 28th (22:50.96) to round of the top seven Seminoles in the field of 118 runners. FSU finished with a scant 24 points, comfortably in front of runner-up Ohio (49) and host Virginia Tech (74).

Unlike Phillips, Braman held out several of what figure to be his top seven, yet still received some solid results. Byrce Kelley was 25th (25:16.95) and Otniel Teixeira 30th (25:28.68). Freshman Andrew Coscoran rounded out the group with a 40th-place finish in his collegiate debut (25:40.54) in a field of 140 finishers.

"I'm really happy because I didn't want to over-run this race with Boston next week," said Braman, whose team will compete in the Battle In Beantown next Friday. "That's like practicing in full pads right before you go into a big football game. You can't beat people up…

"The top three looked really good and were completely under control. We've got to start putting some more pieces in there."

Next week marks the first weekend of the season when teams are able to begin accruing points toward at-large berths to the NCAA Championships, placing a premium on strong finishes against strong competition. With a number of nationally and regionally ranked teams lining up next week at Boston's venerable Franklin Park, Braman hopes to put his top 10 runners on the Jamaica Plains course.

"We got out too fast," Braman said, reviewing his teams' performance. "We had six guys at three miles in the top 15. The goal was not to go out that fast. We bled some points at the end, which probably cost us the win, but I really didn't want those guys digging too hard with a really quality Boston meet coming up next Friday. Credit Akron. The MAC has some good teams and Akron is one of them.

"It's a good step forward for us. We're in a good spot, but it's the time of the year where the points come up next week and we've got to start putting the pieces together. We're working hard and everybody's healthy, but not fresh."

Phillips is especially pleased with the strong starts to the season by Peel and Blake, as well as Baez and Griggs.

"[Peel] is just very powerful and so effortless," Phillips said. "I honestly haven't seen her to the point where she is uncomfortable. She just has this aerobic capacity that's incredible…When she came down the last 800 meters she looked like she could just whistle. She was just comfortable.

"Bridget, too. She actually looked better in the second half of the race and looked comfortable. Bridget has been a great leader bringing the team along in practice. Griggs is like a rock. She takes the group out at a very even pace and then just makes everybody go halfway through. She's just a beast. You know exactly what you're getting when the gun goes off."

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
   1   Zak Seddon                     1   24:50.59
   2   Stanley Linton                 2   24:51.38
   4   Jack Goodwin                   4   24:53.57
  25   Bryce Kelley                  16   25:16.95
  30   Otniel Teixeira               20   25:28.68
  41   Andy Coscoran                 31   25:40.54

09/25/2015, Boston, Ma

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

Goodwin Sixth; Women's Trio In Top 14 Lead In Beantown.
Cross country Noles find positives in first test of the season.

BOSTON, MA - With Florida State's Jack Goodwin claiming a sixth-place finish for the men and the women's trio of Georgia Peel, Bridget Blake and Carmela Cardama Baez wedged between ninth and 14th, there were plenty of bright spots for the Seminoles at Friday's Battle In Beantown cross country meet.

Competing in their first major meet of the season, neither team was satisfied with their final standing on a nearly perfect fall afternoon at historic Franklin Park.

Bob Braman's 26th-ranked men finished seventh in the 21-team field, well behind third-ranked Syracuse, which ran away with the title on the strength of a 25-point total. The unranked Seminole women finished sixth in a field of 24, managing to knock off No. 25 Dartmouth, but well behind eighth-ranked champion Providence (42 points).

Team results notwithstanding, both Braman and women's coach Kelly Phillips didn't have any trouble finding positives in the performances of their respective squads.

"We ran like what we are, which is a very tired team," Braman said. "We put a lot of work in, thought maybe we could get away with it and we were exposed for our tiredness for sure. As I told the guys, I see positives. You see Grant [Nykaza] stick his nose in it and look like the runner we thought he could be coming out of high school. You see Bryce Kelley continue to improve. He's scored in every race. Mike Hall is on the way back."

Goodwin's performance - he covered the 8000-meter course in 24:10.0 - was clearly the brightest sign on the men's side.

"I'm happy because the first few races I was just training if I'm honest; just went out and ran them," said Goodwin, a senior co-captain. "This is the first one that I've come into actually approaching it as a race. I'm where I'd like to be at the moment and hopefully every race is going to get better and better."

Braman concurred after watching Goodwin battle shoulder to shoulder most of the way with Syracuse's powerful trio at the front, led by race champion Justyn Knight (23:51.0).

"Jack is in that, almost knocking on the door for All-American level," Braman said. "Certainly the top five today are people that will be in that All-American chase at the end of the year. Jack is on the front end of his fitness and is not there yet."

Phillips' Seminole women were spectacular at the front as Peel (ninth, 17:15.1), Blake (11th, 17:17.4) and Baez (14th, 17:24.0) eclipsed the performances of the top three runners from 22 other teams. Only Providence, had a better score from their first three across the line.

Even more encouraging, Christine Griggs (50th, 17:55.2) and Courteney West (7 , 18:07.2) turned in lifetime-best 5000-meter cross country times as the Seminoles' fourth and fifth finishers.

"We come away with, 'We have more work to do and we're really in a good place,'" Phillips said. "I think they looked at it like, 'Wow, we could have been top three or top four,' and I don't think they thought that way back in August, but now they realize that they're a lot better than they thought they were going to be as a team.

"I think they all felt like they competed well. We went out conservatively, which was fine, because they were a lot more aggressive the second half. If it was a kilometer further they would have probably run down some more folks. I'm real happy with the way they ran as a team overall. We need to get a little tighter from 4-9, but overall they all did a great job. And I think they're excited about the next meet."

Under a cloudless sky with the temperature hovering around 65 degrees, on a hard, dry and fast course, the early pace in both races was quick.

"It's September and you're going to have that body shock in a race like this where the first mile ended up being 4:48 and we've done nothing under five minutes [in training]," Braman said. "There's no easy way to get where you want to go and unfortunately today resulted in a seventh-place finish instead of maybe a second-place finish."

Stanley Linton was FSU's second man across the finish line, working his way through the field to finish 34th in 24:51.5. Nykaza, in his first major meet in more than a year, was running in the top 20 through the halfway mark and came home 43rd (24:50.1). Michael Hall, who like Nykaza was making his first race appearance of the season, was 54th (25:00.6) and Bryce Kelley rounded out the Seminole scorers in 57th (25:02.8).

Goodwin said the Noles were anticipating a tough day on the course, adding that Friday's race was a necessary first step in a journey where the most important meets are still a month or more away.

"I think we went into the race with the boys knowing it was going to be a challenge today because we've been training hard and we hadn't planned to ease down for this race," Goodwin said. "This race wasn't meant to be pretty. It was meant to be a grind and a hard race.

"When we do ease down it's going to be a different story. We don't need to be fit now; we don't need to be sharp now. Like for me, I missed the move today and those [lead] boys moved away and took 20 seconds out of me in the last mile, but I'm happy with not being in that sharp fitness now. Two months down the line, that's when the proper races are."

"I think this team could be very, very good," said Braman, noting that the addition of star signee Harry Mulenga in the near future will help. "The results certainly don't make you think that, but really as a coach in September, you're not really looking at the times or even the scores. It's the eyeball test. The eyeball told me we really competed OK, but physically we were trying to fight ourselves."

Women's co-captains Peel and Blake had similar takes to Goodwin.

"It was a big race and we haven't run any races like that," Peel said. "It was a bit of a shock for everyone going out that fast… And it was a bit of a dodgy start as well, because we didn't hear the gun and were sort of left back on the line. It was a positive race and we're moving in the right direction. I think it has given a lot of the girls a confidence boost, knowing that they can be up there."

Blake said it is comforting having Peel and Baez close by on race days.

"It keeps me relaxed," Blake said. "Carmela I can sometimes hear her coming up on the back end and she really scoops me up. It's nice when I know she's coming up because I can keep pushing, because I know she's going to tell me to keep going. It takes the pressure off to look at a similar jersey."

"This was a good test…It's exciting because really we're just sort of getting started. As we go on, especially around Wisconsin and ACC's, we can put together something really good."

Kelly, who plans to rest her lead group until the Wisconsin Invitational in two weeks, is excited about the prospects moving forward.

"If you look at our top three across the board today, our top three was really good, and that's going to help especially at regionals," Phillips said. "That will be very valuable. We just have to get to the point where our fourth through seventh realize they're talented."

Freshman Fatema Jaffer was FSU's sixth finisher (114th, 18:39.7) and sophomore Katie Slater was seventh (133rd, 18:54.0).

"Griggs and West did a really nice job," Phillips added. "They did well but the beauty of them doing well is they both walked away saying, 'I'm so much better than that.'"

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
   6   Jack Goodwin                   6   24:10.0 
  34   Stanley Linton                34   24:41.5 
  43   Grant Nykaza                  41   24:50.1 
  54   Michael Hall                  51   25:00.6 
  57   Bryce Kelley                  54   25:02.8 
  67   Andy Coscoran                 62   25:11.1 
  94   Zak Seddon                    83   25:36.3 

10/02/2015, TALLAHASSEE, FL

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

Seminole Men Roll To FSU Invitational Title.
Seddon, Linton lead men; women place sixth.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - With Zak Seddon returning to form and Stanley Linton continuing to provide solid work at the top of the lineup the Florida State men's cross country team claimed its second consecutive FSU Invitational team title Friday at Apalachee Regional Park.

With the Seminoles getting their last competitive - albeit controlled - look at their home course before the Oct. 30 ACC Championship the lopsided team victory was an added bonus.

Seddon was second overall over the 8000-meter course in (25:07.3) with Linton right on his heels (25:08.1). With Jack Goodwin (25:30.5) and Bryce Kelley (26:05.5) scoring third and fifth-place finishes, the Noles were able to close the deal when Andrew Coscoran came across seventh (26:18.6) among NCAA Division I runners.

FSU's front-end strength was good for an 18-point total and a comfortable 38-point advantage over Florida (56). USF was third with 74 points.

"I really like the way Zak rebounded from last week," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "He was really determined to be Zak Seddon again. Stan committed a little bit earlier to the front than usual and I was happy to see that.

"The first three were completely successful in the way we designed. We wanted to be behind at four miles and then try to run the last mile at about 4:45 and we did that."

Seddon and Linton were joined by Harry Mulenga, their would-be teammate who competed unattached while awaiting clearance to compete from the NCAA. Together they mowed down race-long front-runners Ricardo Estremera and Robert Ormsby over the final mile, with Mulenga winning top individual honors in 25:02.9.

"Harry looked good in his debut," Braman said.

With two weeks before traveling to Wisconsin, Braman is still searching for the complementary pieces to round out his scoring lineup.

"I like what I see in practice, but right now…we're in a hunt for number five," Braman added. "If we're going to be a good time nationally we have to get better at No. 5. We have a lot of possibilities there."

Of course the first piece would be Mulenga, but other potential contributors could be Michael Hall and Grant Nykaza, who did not run, and perhaps Otniel Teixeira.

Mulenga wasn't the only member of the team running unattached. Freshmen Tyson Murray and Hunter Scott, who are redshirting this season, scored top-20 finished in the overall combined field of 188. Murray was 11th in 25:55.8 while Scott was 18th in 26:11.0, with each competing in their first 8000-meter race.

"Our young guys ran great, but they're redshirting," Braman said. "I thought Murray and Scott did a really nice job."

With FSU women's coach Kelly Phillips resting her top group after last week's meet in Boston, the Seminoles finished sixth overall in a tightly-scored meet, which Jacksonville University nipping Florida A&M 63-66 for the Division I team title.

"It was nice to see our young girls run and step up to be in the top five for us," Phillips said. "Claire Igoe had a great race and a big PR. Julia Corley, who has been with both groups this season, also had a nice PR. We also had a bunch of freshmen who came out for the first home meet and it's great for them to see what they have to do to step up and get to that next level."

Chelsea Jarvis (18th, 19:05.6) led the Seminoles, followed by Igoe (21st, 19:11.5), Corley (25th, 19:19.7) and Bella Poole (19:19.7). Teresa Ristow (34th, 19:39.0) rounded out the scoring five for the Noles.

Among non-Division I teams, Alabama-Huntsville claimed the team title by edging two-time defending champion Florida Southern (50-62) for the men's title. On the women's side, Embry-Riddle out-distanced Alabama-Huntsville 57-78 for top non-Division I honors.

Individually, the women's race went to Anne-Marie Blaney, who successfully defended her title by covering the 5000-meter course in 17:23.2. Blaney was competing unattached while sitting out a redshirt season at UCF. Second place also produced a repeat performance as USF's Catherine Blaney - sister of the winner - was the first official collegiate finisher in 17:54.8, duplicating her place from last season.

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
   1   Zak Seddon                     1   25:07.30
   2   Stanley Linton                 2   25:08.10
   3   Jack Goodwin                   3   25:30.50
   5   Bryce Kelley                   5   26:00.30
   7   Andy Coscoran                  7   26:18.60
  11   Abdin Fator                   11   26:31.20
  16   Matt Magee                    16   27:15.10
  18   Max del Monte                      27:18.70
  33   Matt Butler                        28:16.70

10/16/2015, Madison, Wi

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

Noles Claim Ranked Wins, Looking For More At ACC.
Cardama Baez, Goodwin lead way at Wisconsin Invitational.

MADISON, WI – The Florida State cross country teams arrived at Friday’s Wisconsin adidas Invitational eager to make room for themselves at the table of nationally ranked programs and likely NCAA Championship qualifiers.

The Seminoles left the Zimmer Championship Course even more confident that they belong; something they learned without quite accomplishing all they had hoped.

Freshman Carmela Cardama Baez finished 62nd to pace the women’s team to a 23rd-place finish in the field of 36, which included 20 of the nation’s top 25 teams. The Spaniard covered the 6000-meter course in 20:36.5, overhauling teammate Bridget Blake (74th, 20:43.5) over the final 800 meters for the top spot among Seminoles.

Unranked, like their male counterparts, the Seminole women counted wins over No. 14 Wisconsin and No. 20 West Virginia, and were within striking distance of North Carolina and Vanderbilt, who won the 2014 ACC and NCAA South Region titles.

FSU women’s coach Kelly Phillips hoped to get more from Georgia Peel (100th, 20:58.7), the team’s top finisher in the first three meets of the season, but received an outstanding performance from Christine Griggs (113th, 21:07.0). Courteney West (217th, 22:11.6) was the Seminoles’ fifth scorer.

“Carmela ran a great race; Griggs ran a great race,” Phillips said. “They both just kind of put their nose in it, hammered the whole way and were relentless in their pursuit. Bridget got out well, ran well and just ran out of gas the last 800 meters. That will be a different story at our [ACC] meet.

“The big takeaway is that we’re a much better team than we ran today…I think it’s the first time they walked away from a meet that we didn’t run well at. You need to have average once in a while to get you hungry again.”

The Seminole men whet their appetite for a strong finish to the season with an 18th-place team finish, which included wins over nationally ranked Stanford (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 21), Ole Miss (No. 19), Princeton (No. 27) and Iowa State (No.26).

Leading the charge for the Seminoles was the quartet of Jack Goodwin (40th, 24:06.6), Zak Seddon (56th, 24:13.7), Harry Mulenga (67th, 24:16.2) and Stanley Linton (123rd, 24:33.8). In the case of Goodwin Seddon and Linton, they all eclipsed their previous best 8000-meter times.

Michael Hall (183rd, 25:00.1) rounded out the scorers for FSU’s 469-point total against a field which included 17 or the nation’s top 30 ranked schools.

“There’s a lot of good to the big-picture,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We beat the No. 1 team in the region [Ole Miss] pretty handily and we beat some really quality teams, so we handled the pressure pretty good. We had some missed opportunities as well. We had a chance to be in the top 10 or 12 and that would have been big, big points.

“This years’ race was a much higher quality race. Last year we had 296 points and we were ninth place. This year 300-and-something points was sixth place. It was definitely a stacked field.”

The Seminoles followed Braman’s script from the start, but suffered in the later stages when they had to navigate a sizeable incline from 5000-to-6000 meters.

“We got out and that was our plan,” said Braman, whose Seminoles were as high as fourth place after 2000 meters and ninth through 4000 meters. “Deal with being at the front of the pack and being able to see the leaders; see the open spaces in front of you. We did a good job of that kept four runners up there a long time. What we didn’t do very well, is the back stretch on the hill really pounded us pretty good. We took a punch in the gut on the hill and we started to lose points.”

Braman was largely pleased with the performances of senior co-captains Goodwin and Seddon, and wasn’t completely surprised that junior college transfer Harry Mulenga wasn’t as good as he will be in his first race as a Seminole against a stacked field dealing with chilly and windy conditions for the first time.

He also needs Linton to gain the confidence that his talent portends and move closer to the lead trio.

“I see the [glass] half-full side of this for sure,” Braman added. “We walk out of this and can say, ‘No questions asked, we can definitely qualify for nationals. We’re good enough to be 1 or 2 in the region, and we’re good enough to beat some good teams in the conference.

“Are we ready for NC State, Virginia and Syracuse? Not yet. Boy our conference looked good today.”

Led by two-time defending ACC champion and No. 2 Syracuse’s win, the conference grabbed three of the top six team finishes. Virginia was fourth and NC State placed sixth.

The ACC women weren’t bad either, with Virginia and NC State finishing third and fourth, with Syracuse and Notre Dame 11th and 12th and defending champion North Carolina 19th.< s

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
  40   Jack Goodwin                  40   24:06.6 
  55   Zak Seddon                    55   24:13.7 
  66   Harry Mulenga                 66   24:16.2 
 122   Stanley Linton               122   24:33.8 
 183   Michael Hall                 183   25:00.1 
 215   Andy Coscoran                215   25:28.0 
 230   Grant Nykaza                 230   25:52.1 

10/16/2015, Tuscaloosa, Al

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
  58   William Bridges                    25:52.96
 108   Matt Magee                         26:33.83
 163   Abdin Fator                        27:36.95

10/30/2015, TALLAHASSEE, FL

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

FSU Trio Claims All-ACC XC Honors On Home Course.
Mulenga, Linton and Baez lead Noles to seventh-place finishes.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – With grit and determination, Harry Mulenga flashed his enormous potential. Local standout Stanley Linton rose to the occasion on what is likely his final collegiate cross country race at home. Precocious freshman Carmela Cardama Baez executed with a precision and fight, belying her age and diminutive stature.

Florida State’s cross country teams did not come away from Friday morning’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championships with the kind of team finishes they had hoped, but there were plenty of highlights on a sun-splashed dash at Apalachee Regional Park.

Mulenga and Linton claimed All-ACC honors, finishing 11th (23:56.9) and 19th (24:13.1) against a loaded field on the 8,000-meter course to lead the Seminole men to a seventh-place team finish.

Baez mowed down the competition over the final loop of the 6,000-meter race, climbing from 27th to finish ninth (20:30.1), and pace the women to a seventh-place team finish.

On a day when the conference’s four nationally-ranked men’s teams and five nationally-ranked women’s teams put on a fierce battle, the Noles were not quite up to the task of butting heads with the best.

“What you always look for, as long as you still have life, you look for those positives,” FSU men’s coach Bob Braman said. “The next race [NCAA South Region] is more important than this race, so how did we get better? Stanley just finally put it all together like we knew he could and had just a phenomenal race. Harry really ran tough. He put himself in that lead pack. He’s not fit enough – yet – to finish the job, but he fought like a son-of-a-gun and did a really good job.”

The Seminole men, who hoped to chase a top-three finish, were at a decided disadvantage when Braman was forced to scratch Jack Goodwin after the pre-race warmup due to injury. Goodwin was FSU’s top returning finisher at the meet last season, placing 12th. Fellow senior co-captain Zak Seddon was unable to must a repeat of his 16th-place finish last season, coming home 38th.

“Zak put a lot of pressure on himself to finish in the top 10 and he’s probably the one guy on the team who is trained and tired,” Braman said. “He missed his buddy. He and Jack work together every time. They like to get out fast…I think that hurt Zak.

“If Jack’s calf is fine, then we’re better than we were at Wisconsin, and that’s what you’re looking for.”

Grant Nykaza (52nd) and Michael Hall (58th) rounded out FSU’s scoring five, which totaled 172 points.

Syracuse won its third consecutive men’s title, placing three in the top five to finish with 46 points, while Virginia Tech senior Thomas Curtin set the course record en route to victory in 23:23.0.

Baez was clearly the Seminoles’ star of the day, building on her solid showing at Wisconsin two weeks ago for ninth overall; one of five freshmen to place in the top nine on the day.

“Carmela ran a very controlled, smart, mature race,” FSU women’s coach Kelly Phillips said. “She is a tremendous racer. Overall, while the team certainly wasn’t where we might expect to be, we had a lot of great first-time performers.

“For the majority of the team, this was their first ACC meet. Moving forward, there is a lot to be excited about.”

Seminoles Bridget Blake (29th), Christine Griggs (30th) and Georgia Peel (40th) were followed by Fatema Jaffer (67th), bringing the team total to 172, which matched the men.

Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel set a new course record, winning in 19:36.2, while Virginia claimed its first team title since 1982, edging NC State by four points.

Perhaps the bigger story on the day was the reception the course received from the athletes and ACC coaches, as well as how the meet was conducted. With a national television audience courtesy ESPN3’s live broadcast, Florida State earned high marks as the park hosted its first conference championship.

“It was just a phenomenal production,” Braman said. “Florida State should be proud. Our facilities people, led by Alex Thomas, just did fantastic.

“We had unbelievable feedback. People loved the course. We had people talk about this being the permanent ACC course. Syracuse’s Chris Fox, the superstar coach in the conference right now, tweeted something out. Rollie Geiger likes it and that’s the dean of ACC coaches.”

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
  11   Harry Mulenga                 11   23:56.9 
  19   Stanley Linton                19   24:13.1 
  38   Zak Seddon                    37   24:39.2 
  52   Grant Nykaza                  50   25:00.5 
  58   Michael Hall                  55   25:13.1 
  77   Bryce Kelley                  70   25:32.4 
  88   Otniel Teixeira               77   25:48.1 
  90   Andy Coscoran                      25:49.6 
 111   William Bridges                    26:22.3 

11/13/2015, Tuscaloosa, Al

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

Men’s Cross Country Wins Region; Women Fourth.
Five men, three women earn All-South Region honors.

TUSCALOOSA, AL – The ultimate destination for every collegiate cross country team – the NCAA Championships – requires an outstanding performance in the season’s penultimate meet.

Florida State’s men and women summoned their best collective efforts of the season at Friday’s NCAA South Region Championships, and the Seminole men are heading back to NCAA Championships for the 12th time in 13 years after claiming the team title.

Harry Mulenga finished third at the Harry Pritchett Running Park and the next four scoring Seminoles all placed within the top 16 as FSU edged Ole Miss, 58-62. Zak Seddon (12th), Jack Goodwin (13th), Stanley Linton (14th) and Grant Nykaza (16th) each earned All-Region honors.

The Seminole women, who came into the meet ranked seventh in the South Region, finished fourth; just four points out of third place. Freshman Carmela Cardama Baez led the way, placing 11th for All-Region honors along with teammates Bridget Blake (19th) and Christine Griggs (20th). With only the top two teams advancing to the NCAA Championships, the Seminoles’ streak of nine consecutive appearances came to a close.

It wasn’t for a lack of effort.

“Especially for us seniors leaving, the most you can ask from your team is to give it your all, and I can tell all of them did,” Griggs said. “Knowing that you’re teammates gave it 100-percent, even if you didn’t make it to nationals, that’s all you can ask.”

First-year women’s coach Kelly Phillips could not have been happier with the performance from a group that included just two seniors - Griggs and Georgia Peel (27th).

“I was really excited for them,” Phillips said. “I know we are used to being top-two all of the time and so I’m sure for the older girls it’s like, ‘(sigh) we weren’t.’ Being seventh coming in and everyone running their best – and they really ran as a team, which was the plan – we can’t help but be excited for the future.”

The immediate future for the Seminole men will include a trip to Louisville, Ky. for next Saturday’s championship race. The top-ranked team in the region coaches’ poll, FSU has faced all kinds of uncertainty throughout the season.

Goodwin sat out the ACC meet with a leg injury and it was uncertain whether he would run until Thursday. Mulenga battled health and NCAA clearance issues from the time he arrived on campus. And then there was the matter of coach Bob Braman finding a fifth scorer behind a strong front four.

Friday, it all came together.

“It’s really special,” Braman said. “You’re trying to put this piece in and put that piece in…To come together with guys like Grant, who has been fighting it for years and has struggled. His confidence has come together and his training has come together, but why can’t those two just match? They finally did. That was big for us. That’s the two-time Foot Locker kid out of Illinois we recruited.

“Jack runs more miles today than he has the last 10 days. That’s a real - knock-on-wood - he’s back kind of thing. We had a lot of good fortune; a lot of guys with a lot of confidence and belief in each other. That was a big deal today.”

FSU’s formidable front four pack shaped up nicely right behind the leaders from the midway point to the finish, with Nykaza not only joining the fray, but showing the mettle to stay there. The Noles would not have won had the junior not come through.

Through the first four finishers across the line, Ole Miss held a four edge over FSU. Nykaza beat the Rebels fifth scorer to the finish by eight spots for the difference.

“I finally feel good after a race about my performance,” said Nykaza, a junior whose career has been marred by injuries. “Coach has been mentioning all year, ‘We need a 5, we need a 5.’ For me to perform like I should have been the last couple years and to get to the point of the postseason races, there’s nothing else I could ask for…

“I just wanted to run strong and I knew if I ran strong I would be right where I wanted to. This is the best my legs have felt the whole season. I’ve been waiting to get to this taper stage for the last three years and to perform like I did on a day like today, I’m super excited.”

So were Nykaza’s teammates.

“Grant has been putting the pieces together in training and it’s nice to see him come out today and race like he’s been training,” Goodwin said. “We all know what the team is capable of and sometimes it’s a bit disheartening when we see boys do so well in training and not so well on the race course. Today we came through and did the business. That’s what we’re all about…

“We ran really strong as a team. We got out. No one panicked…It’s a full 10k now and that’s a big difference. Obviously we packed really well. We came through.”

With just 36 seconds separating Mulenga and Nykaza, the Seminoles’ pack mentality paid off handsomely.

FSU’s women used a similar strategy behind Baez, with Griggs, Blake and Peel working together, followed by the trio of freshmen Sarah Candiano and Fatema Jaffer, and junior Courteney West.

Responding to an in-race challenge by the coaches, Candiano delivered a season-best performance as the Seminoles’ fifth scorer, placing 69th overall.

Vanderbilt claimed its second consecutive women’s title with 65 points, followed by Mississippi State (78). Alabama was third with 135, followed by FSU (139).

“We all performed quite well in this championship and despite the fact that we’re not in the national [championship], this season we all had to make a lot of adjustments – a new coach, a new routine, new teammates,” Baez said. “In this race we were really a team, and I think this is just the start of a really good team and good things.”

Though she came within three spots of qualifying for NCAA’s as an individual, Baez was not the least disappointed with what has been an outstanding season.

“Going to the NCAA would be great, but I’m also happy with what I have,” she said. “I’m just a freshman and being 11th in a regional and ninth in the ACC, that’s more than what I was even thinking about achieving.

“There are a lot of years to come and I know I’m going to have a lot of nationals and hopefully the next time I won’t be fighting for my own number – going alone - the next time we’ll fighting to go as a team.”

While acknowledging that the NCAA Championship meet is the most important on the schedule, Braman wanted his team to soak in what it accomplished.

“That was gratifying seeing this whole thing come together,” Braman said. “Winning the region against a good Ole Miss team that was ranked top 10 preseason in everybody’s poll, that’s a quality win and we were kind of needing a quality win with all the ups and downs all year.”

“There’s no greater feeling,” Nykaza added. “This group of guys is just incredible. We’re great friends and great teammates. This is such an awesome family to be a part of.”

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
   3   Harry Mulenga                  3   30:40.62
  12   Zak Seddon                    12   31:07.14
  13   Jack Goodwin                  13   31:07.70
  14   Stanley Linton                14   31:08.50
  16   Grant Nykaza                  16   31:16.54
  31   Michael Hall                  31   31:49.91
  98   Bryce Kelley                  94   33:18.78

11/21/2015, Louisville, Ky

From the FSU Website, seminoles.com.

Linton Leads Seminoles At NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Wakulla native makes good on mission, helps FSU improve on '14 finish.

LOUISVILLE, KY - Minutes before the gun sounded to start the NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship race, Florida State redshirt junior Stanley Linton reiterated what has become his mantra over the last calendar year.

"I've been waiting 365 days for this," Linton said.

Running with a vengeance as the temperature plummeted and wind kicked up over the course of the 10,000-meter race, Linton made good on his promise to make amends for his performance a year ago at the championship meet.

Linton's 107th-place finish from a starting field of 255 led the 30th-ranked Seminoles, who also improved on their team finish of a year ago, to a 29th-place showing.

"Coming home from last year I vowed to return…and have revenge on what was almost a last-place finish," said Linton, who placed 242nd last year, in front of only five others.

"My plan worked to some extent, even though I wasn't in the top 80, which is what I was shooting for. I wanted to move…when everyone sits down and is relaxing. I saw a great opportunity and great moments come from great opportunities. It hurt but everybody else is hurting."

Moving between to the 2000 and 4000-meter marks, Linton picked off 50 or more runners and was 120th at the midway point. He collected 13 more scalps on the way to the finish in 31:00.7.

"Stan ran a really, really good race," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "Thirty-one-flat out there on that course today was pretty good. What a great way to finish his career."

Linton will forego a final year of eligibility, as he will graduate from FSU ROTC program and head for Navy Flight School in Pensacola this summer. And while he will still compete in track for the Seminoles, the walk-on from Wakulla - who had to earn himself a spot on the team - has always thought of himself as a cross country runner.

"I'm excited," Linton said. "Since this is the last one, unless you set a world record, you're never content. For me, I can leave the sport in cross country and say, 'I wasn't even supposed to be on the team, so being here is an accomplishment. Running well is icing on top of the cake."

Thought the Seminoles collectively moved up only two spots for their 31st-place finish in 2014, three of the four returnees from that team improved on their finishes. Still, it wasn't quite a enough.

"Realistically we needed four of those and should have had four of those [finishes like Linton]," Braman said.

Senior Zak Seddon scored his highest NCAA finish in three appearances, placing 141st (31:19.2) and was followed by junior transfer Harry Mulenga (153rd, 31:28.7), whose hopes for an All-American performance unraveled early.

"It was a real rough go for Harry," Braman said. "I think he put too much pressure on himself to try and be a contender…That's a learning curve."

Senior Jack Goodwin's ailing calf was no match for the conditions, still he pushed through to place 162nd (31:32.0). A year ago, he was forced to withdraw from the race after running in the lead pack early on.

Junior Grant Nykaza (184th, 31:47.2) rounded out the scoring Seminoles and was followed by sophomore Michael Hall (208th, 32:11.8) and freshman Andrew Coscoran (242nd, 33:07.3).

"At halfway mark we were 23rd," Braman said. "Realistically, we're probably a top 20 team on a really good day. I'm disappointed but not crestfallen or crushed. I hoped for a better result from them. We raced hard. We just didn't find a way to get into the mix."

Place  Name                       Points   Time
=====  =========================  ======  ========
 107   Stanley Linton                85   31:00.7 
 141   Zak Seddon                   110   31:19.2 
 153   Harry Mulenga                122   31:28.7 
 162   Jack Goodwin                 130   31:32.0 
 184   Grant Nykaza                 151   31:47.2 
 208   Michael Hall                 173   32:11.8 
 242   Andy Coscoran                205   33:07.3