TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Linden Hall won’t be the only former Florida State track & field athlete competing over the next 10 days at the IAAF World Championships in London, but she will be the first.
Representing Australia, the three-time All-American 1500-meter runner for the Seminoles and 2016 Olympian will toe the Queen Elizabeth Stadium starting line in second of three heats Friday at 2:35 (ET). A top-six heat finish will move her on to Saturday’s semifinals.
Hall is one of 17 former or current Seminoles competing in the biennial meeting of the finest track & field athletes in the world. The group of Noles is comprised of seven men competing across 10 events and 10 women entered in 12 events. In they, they represent 11 different countries.
“It’s really exciting to have so many Noles competing at the World Championships,” said FSU coach Bob Braman. “That number is as high as we’ve ever had at an Olympics or World Championships. Their continued success after their days as a Seminole speaks highly of our coaches and how well they prepared them for the sport’s highest level.
“Looking down the road I’d bet we have 12-15 athletes on this upcoming year’s team that will make a World or Olympic team. I can’t wait for them to uphold this tradition.”
Three of the qualifiers – Jamaica’s Kellion Knibb and Gleneve Grange and Shaquania Dorsett from the Bahamas – were members of the 2017 FSU team. Knibb, a 2016 Olympian and three-time All-American in the discus, wrapped up her eligibility in June but returns in the fall to continue her graduate school studies.
Knibb, who won’t compete until the women’s discus qualifying rounds are contested on Friday, Aug. 11, has made significant changes since making her first Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last summer. The finals are set for Sunday, Aug. 13 – the last day of competition.
“Kellion, compared to last year, is just extremely stronger,” said FSU’s Director of Field Events and throw coach Dorian Scott, who has coached Knibb over the past five years. “We made some really good adjustments in the weight room, which was really why we got really good results this year. So she’s significantly stronger and she’s changed her technique to a reverse, which allows her to get a little more power out of her throw.”
Those changes have paid off as Knibb has authored the top three marks of her career in 2017, capped by her Jamaican national title, when she reclaimed her country’s national record with a throw of 62.73 (205-9).
“That little extra year a maturity kind of has her able to game plan better to compete at the world level and get to the finals,” Scott said. “She’s just a year more mature and ready to get things going on the elite level.”
Grange set FSU school records in the shot put both indoors (16.54m/54-3.25) and outdoors (17.29/56-8.75) this past season and was eighth at the NCAA Championships in the discus. Now she’s earned an at-large berth to the World Championships in the shot put; her first Jamaican senior national team appearance before embarking on her senior season with the Seminoles later this month.
“It’s definitely opened up her eyes in a sense to who she is in the shot put and who she is on the world stage, as well as being a Jamaican,” Scott said. “This has really motivated her. She’s ready to make a lot more teams in the shot put.
“Going into next year, trying to be one of the best people in the nation at the NCAA level, I think this is really going to help. I think Gleneve is really going to have a special year next year.”
Grange will compete in the shot put qualifying rounds on Tuesday, Aug. 8 with the finals scheduled for the following day.
Dorsett just completed her sophomore season, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter dash, which she followed up by becoming the Bahamas national champion in the 400. She will compete on her country’s 4×400 relay team, which is set for qualifying round action on Saturday, Aug. 12.
This will be Dorsett’s first international appearance with the Bahamas senior team after a 2016 leg injury prevented her from competing at the Rio Olympics.
“She’s very anxious to be back on the big stage,” said Brandon Hon, Dorsett’s coach and FSU’s Director of Sprints, Hurdles and Relays. “She still remembers last year’s frustration like it was yesterday, and so do I. It’s exciting because she’s healthy and been able to do a lot of good training up until this point. She’s ready to go and always excited to represent her country.”
Hon will make the trip to London.
“Shaquania gives them a real legitimate chance to advance to the finals in the 4×400,” Hon said. “They missed it by one spot in Rio last year without her, and if Shaunae Miller-Uibo runs, they will have a chance to medal.”
Hon will also keep an eye on a pair of former Seminole 100-meter hurdlers he has coached – Meme Jean (Haiti) and Anne Zagre (Belgium) – who will compete in the first round, and hopefully the semifinals, on Friday, Aug. 11.
In addition to Linden Hall’s qualifying round of the 1500, two-time Olympian and former ACC 100-meter champion Kemar Hyman, who ranks No. 3 all-time among Noles, will represent the Cayman Islands in Friday’s qualifying rounds set to begin at 3:20 p.m. He will be joined by another former Seminole, Cejhae Greene (Antigua & Barbuda), in the qualifying rounds. Greene, a 2016 Olympian, qualified for the NCAA Championships as a freshman at FSU and as a senior this past season at Georgia.
Some of FSU’s most seasoned international competitors will get their World Championships competition underway on Saturday. Belgium twins Kevin and Jonathan Borlee, keys to FSU’s school-record 4×400 in 2009, will race in the qualifying rounds of the 400-meter dash at 5:40 a.m. (ET). The three-time Olympians will also run in the 4×400.
Two-time Olympic finalist and five-time NCAA champion Kimberly Williams will represent Jamaica in the triple jump (6:00 a.m., ET).
Susan Krumins (formerly Kuijken), will duplicate her 2016 Olympic double by competing in both the 5000- and 10,000-meter runs. The Netherlands distance star will tackle the 10,000 final Saturday at 3:10 p.m. (ET). The 5000-meter qualifying round is set for Thursday, Aug. 10.
No one is looking more forward to his first World Championships appearance than Great Britain’s Zak Seddon, who is wearing his host country’s race kit as a senior athlete for the first time. Seddon, a two-time All-American for the Noles, will compete in Sunday’s qualifying heats of the 3000-meter steeplechase, set to go off at 5:05 a.m. (ET).
Sage Watson, who won the NCAA 400-meter hurdles title as a senior at Arizona this past year, will represent Canada in the qualifying heats of that event on Monday, Aug. 7 at 2:30 p.m. Watson was a five-time All-American and the 2015 ACC champion at FSU.
Colleen Quigley makes her third USA senior team appearance in the 3000-meter steeplechase, with the qualifying heats set for Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 2:05 p.m. Quigley, the 2015 NCAA champion in the event and a nine-time All-American for the Noles, is hunting a third trip to the finals in her specialty. She advanced to the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Olympic Games finals in her first two appearances.
A pair of former Seminole sprint All-Americans round out the group of competitors. Alonzo Russell, a bronze medalist on the Bahamas’ 2016 Olympic 4×400 relay team, will represent his country in the qualifying heats on Saturday, Aug. 12 (6:50 a.m.). Michael Cherry earned his first senior team USA vest as a member of the 4×400 relay team. Cherry was a three-time All-American for the Noles and the 2015 ACC 400-meter champion, who finished he collegiate career at LSU.
You can keep up with the Noles in action from London via Twitter @FSU_Track and also checking back at the new Seminoles.com for regular recaps throughout the competition.