Saturday?s Florida Invitational at Florida State was not only a cross country meet ? it was also a reunion.
The host school is coached by Bob Braman, who spent 17 years at USF before leaving last year to join the Seminoles. One of Braman?s athletes during his USF stay was current Bulls? coach Heather Curtiss.
The first-year coach said she is still friendly with Braman, but when it came time for the Bulls to take to the course, it was all business.
The USF women?s team did its part, finishing first ahead of the highly ranked teams from Florida and Florida State.
The first place finish by the women?s team was a complete team effort. Six runners from USF finished in the top 20. Tara Quinn finished first overall in the 6000-meters with a time of 21 minutes, 25.59 seconds. Kristy Fuller (21:52.23) and Christa Benton (22:10.12) also ran exceptional races as they finished fourth and seventh, respectively. Also placing in the top 20 were Tiffany Quinn (22:22.68), Jennifer Walczuk (22:28.73) and Cori Kill (22:46.85).
“Me and Bob are good friends but, obviously, I wanted my team to win,” Curtiss said.
“We pulled together as a team so everyone could have a good race,” said Kill.
The men?s team was led by Jim Vitale, who finished 11th, and Adam Chumbley who finished 15th.
“A fourth-place finish for a team of all freshmen and one sophomore is outstanding. Both Adam and Jim ran personal bests,” said Curtiss.
Curtiss was happy with the performance of all her athletes.
“I am very ecstatic with everyone?s performance,” Curtiss said. “The course was in good condition, which allowed everyone to run very well.”
James Tai covers cross country and can be reached at email@example.com