TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State men’s and women’s cross country teams swept the university division team titles Friday morning with strong showings despite controlled efforts at Apalachee Regional Park.
The Seminole men sent the first four runners across the finish line, with Harry Mulenga and Michael Callegari finishing 1-2 with identical 8000-meter times of 25:22.9, followed by Steven Cross (25:23.6) and Ibrahim Ahmed (25:24.5).
A pair of non-scoring unattached runners were the only thing standing in the way of the Noles claiming the first eight spots in the race as Brandon Shemonia (25:43.4), Grant Nykaza (25:46.1), Will Simons (25:54.9) and Michael Hall (25:59.2) claimed spots 7-10.
FSU’s men finished with a perfect score of 15 points, easily outdistancing South Florida (56) and Florida Atlantic (81) in the six-team field of NCAA Division I teams. It was the third consecutive team title for the Seminole men at the meet, which has been contested since 1972.
The Seminole women had a much more challenging time in wrestling the title away from defending champion Jacksonville and UCF. Bridget Blake was second overall (17:47.8) behind UCF’s Anne-Marie Blaney, who won her third consecutive meet title in a course-best 17:14.6.
Blake was backed by freshman Megan Mooney (eighth, 18:09.9), but the tightly-packed trio of Madison Harris (16th, 18:40.8), Catherine Blaney (17th, 18:42.7) and Fatema Jaffer (19th, 18:43.1) allowed the Seminoles to prevail.
FSU finished with 51 points, with UCF and Jacksonville taking second and third with matching 56-point totals.
Tara Rooney (28th, 19:03.2) and Jessica Lonas (29th, 19:03.2) rounded out FSU’s top seven, sealing the victory by displacing the fourth- and fifth-place runners from UCF and Jacksonville.
It was a solid performance given the goals of men’s coach Bob Braman and women’s counterpart Kelly Phillips, who have the Seminoles pointing toward next Friday’s Wisconsin Invitational, where strong finishes can enhance FSU’s NCAA Championships at-large resume.