Sunday, June 4, 2017

Florida State College at Jacksonville restores women's cross-country

The women's cross-country squads of Chipola College, Pasco-Hernando State, South Florida State, and Tallahassee Community College will have company in the Florida College System Activity Association during the 2017 season. Florida State College at Jacksonville announced on 1 June 2017 that the school will compete in women's cross-country.

FSCJ is not so much adding the sport as reinstating it. Women's cross-country had previously been a part of the school's athletic offerings back when it was known as Florida Community College at Jacksonville. Nor did the school just dabble in cross-country.

2016 FCSAA Women's Cross-Country Meet
2016 FCSAA Cross-Country Championship

“Women’s Cross Country is a great addition to the Athletic Department at FSCJ,” said FSCJ Director of Athletics Ginny Alexander in a press release. “Not only is the sport of running popular in the Jacksonville area, it is the only sport FSCJ has won a National Championship in.”

Indeed, FSCJ won two NJCAA National Championships in cross country, one in 1982 and another in 1983, back when the school was known as Florida Junior College at Jacksonville. During the 1980s that name changed to Florida Community College at Jacksonville while the school continued to field top-ten squads at the NJCAA National Cross-Country Championships, placing fourth in 1984, seventh in 1985, sixth in 1986, fourth in 1987, seventh in 1988, ninth in 1989, and eighth in 1990. FCCJ's won the individual title at the 1989 national championship meet, running the five-kilometer course in 17:12 and finishing 25 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

FCSJ's announcement continues the resurgence of women's cross-country in Florida. In 2014, only Chipola College and Pasco-Hernando State competed in the sport, but South Florida State added cross-country in 2015. Tallahassee Community College started running women's cross-country in 2016, and with four teams in the state it was possible to hold the first FCSAA State Cross-Country Championship Meet. The Pasco-Hernando Conquistadors won that inaugural meet at Tallahassee, Florida's Apalachee Regional Park on 4 November 2016. With the Florida State College BlueWave poised to field a team, there are now five FCSAA women's cross-country programs.

And counting.

The 2017 FCSAA State Cross-Country Championship is scheduled for Saturday morning, 28 October 2017, at Apalachee Regional Park Championship Cross-Country Course in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State College at Jacksonville is searching for a coach and athletes for the 2017 cross-country season.