Usually, the fall season for Florida State athletics ends with an FSU football bowl game. For the first time in more than three and a half decades, that wasn’t the case this season, but it did have a happy ending for the Seminoles.
Seasons for five of the 18 total athletic programs are in the books for Florida State. In this piece, we’ll take a look at how each concluded:
Men’s Cross Country
Finish: 31st at NCAA Championships
The Good: For the first time since 2015, Florida State’s men’s cross country team returned to the NCAA Championships. The Seminoles had the fortune of hosting the NCAA South Regionals and finished second in that event. Steven Cross, Toby Hardwick and Paul Stafford all finished in the top 25 at regionals. Stafford and Caleb Pottorff are both freshmen, leaving reason for optimism moving forward.
The Bad: Although FSU reached the NCAA Championships, the Seminoles finished dead last out of 31 teams. Cross was the top finisher at the championships and he finished outside the top 175. FSU also finished just seventh in the ACC after finishing in fifth place in each of the two prior years.
Women’s Cross Country
Finish: 26th at NCAA Championships
The Good: Like the FSU men, Florida State’s women’s cross country team reached the NCAA Championships and actually fared a little better. Out of 31 teams, FSU finished 26th. This followed a South Regional title and a fourth place finish at the ACC Championships — the best since 2014. Senior Militsa Mircheva won the regional and finished 25th at the NCAA Championships.
The Bad: The only downfall for FSU was that it didn’t have a particularly strong showing at the NCAA Championships. The Seminoles finished just 26th out of 31 teams.
Finish: 5-7 record
The Good: There weren’t many positives for FSU during the 2018 season. One of them was that the Seminoles earned their first win over a ranked opponent in nearly two years with a thrilling 22-21 victory over Boston College in the ACC finale. FSU did get positive contributions from a number of true and redshirt freshmen such as receiver Tamorrion Terry, tackle Brady Scott, cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and safety Jaiden Woodbey. Defensive end Brian Burns was named first-team All-ACC.
The Bad: For the first time since 1981, FSU failed to make a bowl and for the first time since 1976, it finished with a losing record. In losses, the Seminoles were rarely competitive, falling by at least 19 points on six occasions. The lone exception was a 28-27 loss to Miami in which the Seminoles blew a 20-point second-half lead — the largest in program history. Any chance of a bowl appearance fell by the wayside in a 41-14 loss to rival Florida to conclude the regular season. It snapped a 5-game winning streak over the Gators.
Finish: 20-4-3 record, national champions
The Good: Pointing out the good for Florida State soccer could probably go on for a few pages. The Seminoles won their final nine matches of the season to claim both the ACC and national championships. After beating the top three seeds in the ACC Tournament, FSU swept through the NCAA Tournament. The closest call was a shootout win over USC in the round of 16. After beating Penn State to reach the College Cup for the first time since 2015, FSU ended Stanford’s 45-match unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory before taking down North Carolina — who the Seminoles beat to win the ACC — for the national championship. The Seminoles made the NCAA Tournament run with backup Caroline Jeffers playing in place of an injured Brooke Bollinger. Deyna Castellanos, Yujie Zhao and Natalia Kuikka all earned All-American honors. Zhao was named ACC Freshman of the Year.
The Bad: The lone downfall for FSU was its play against the ACC. The Seminoles went just 5-4-1 in conference and manged to get just the No. 7 seed in the ACC Tournament. Losses included a first to Clemson since 2001 and a 1-0 loss to Miami in which the Hurricanes scored on their only shot of the match. FSU also tied NC State after allowing the tying goal at the buzzer in regulation.
Finish: 19-10 record, lost to Florida in first round of NCAA Tournament
The Good: After a tough start to the season, FSU compiled the second-best record in the ACC at 15-3 — behind only Pittsburgh. The Panthers handed the Seminoles two of their three ACC losses. FSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a 10th straight season. Individually, junior outside hitter Payton Caffrey was named ACC Player of the Year and East Region Player of the Year by the AVCA.
The Bad: Although the slate was tough, FSU finished just 4-6 in the non-conference and failed to advance past the first round of the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season. Prior to last year, Florida State had won at least one tournament game in each of the previous eight years from 2009 to 2016.