STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford’s Angell Field was an oasis of grandeur for Florida State’s discus throwers Saturday as the Cardinal Classic drew to a close. Kellion Knibb broke her own Jamaican national and Florida State school records, extending her NCAA lead with a toss of 61.59 meters (202-1) and Emmanuel Onyia’s best of five personal-best marks on the day (59.62m/195-7) moved him to No. 10 in the country and No. 3 all-time among Seminoles.
The only difference between the two Jamaicans was Onyia was able to make off the win, outdistancing teammate and runner-up Austin Droogsma (55.24/181-3) for top honors. Droogsma and fellow Nole Fred Jones (51.04/167-5) also recorded personal bests.
“It felt really good,” said Onyia, a fifth-year senior who now trails only two-time Olympian Bradley Cooper and former NCAA champion Garrett Johnson on the school’s all-time list. “I thought we had been doing a lot of good work in practice, hitting the right marks and positions, so we knew it was coming. I’m just really happy that it came and it feels really good to finally throw over 56.”
Knibb was not as fortunate when it came to the outcome, though there is no shame finishing second behind the fourth-best mark in the world this year. Valarie Allman, who is redshirting this year at Stanford, won with a U.S.-leading mark of 64.69 meters (212-3) which broke a 15-year-old stadium record.
“That’s one of the main reasons we came here, to chase the competition,” said Knibb, who edged Allman for second place at last year’s NCAA Championships. “I knew that she would come and do her thing and all I needed to do was compete.”
Knibb’s bomb came in round three, immediately preceding Allman’s answering record throw. As a small consolation she walks away with the No. 15 mark in the world this year.
“I’m a little salty about the loss, but I can’t complain about a personal-best,” said Knibb, who has been on the verge of a breakthrough since adding a reverse to her discus delivery in the offseason. “I think I’m trending in the right direction. I didn’t expect this season to be easy with a technical change.”
Gleneve Grange finished third (55.89/183-4) and Shanice Love (50.50/165-8) was fifth, each flirting with season-best marks. Grange, however, wasn’t through. The redshirt junior came back with a personal-best in the shot put (16.16m/53-0.25) to finish second and move to No. 3 on FSU’s all-time list.
Overall it was a strong closing day by the Noles, who posted five victories, pushing their two-day total to 11, and registered 11 more personal-best marks.
Before moving over to the discus, Droogsma opened the day with a win in the shot put, out-classing the field with a top mark of 19.16 meters (62-10.5).
“Onyia was unbelievable,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We felt like he was ready for a big one but that’s nearly 60 meters. It was great to see Austin doing double duty. I really liked him getting that PB in the discus, and Fred Jones is showing great promise.”
Sophomore Armani Wallace put together his finest triple jump series of the season, capped by a personal-best 16.13 meters (52-11) on his sixth attempt to take the victory over teammate Montel Nevers. Nevers’ 15.51 (50-10.75) was a season-best.
“Armani was really in a groove today,” Braman said. “He was all around 16 meters the entire competition and then hit the personal best on his final jump. I feel like Montel is getting back into his rhythm after that All-American Indoor season. With two jumpers well over 16 meters that will yield big points at nationals.”
Cortney Jones and Nicole Setterington finished 1-2 in the 100-meter hurdles, though their heat was marred by a tumble that took teammate Peta-Gay Williams out of the race over the second hurdle. Sophomore Shaquania Dorsett was the class of the field in the 400-meter dash, finishing strong in a season-best 53.03.
Aside from the victories, there were a handful of impressive individual efforts, none more notable than Michael Hall’s seventh-place finish in the 1500-meter run.
Racing against an elite field, Hall more than held his own, charging to the finish in a lifetime-best 3:43.70. By shattering his previous best of 3:47.02, Hall cracked FSU’s all-time top 10 list at No. 7.
“Mike ran really tough,” Braman said. “That’s a big lifetime best for him and he held his own in a really strong national class field. That’s the kind of race that can advance him to nationals if he duplicates or exceeds it at regions.”
Shauna Helps went head-to-head with Harvard’s Gabrielle Thomas, one of the nation’s best, and finished second in a lifetime-best 11.53.
“I’m really pleased with Shauna,” Braman said. “She’s so strong right now that she can close with anyone. She’ll run really fast once she begins to work on the speed and block starts. And Alina [Stewart, sixth in 12.12] held her own in her first big-time collegiate 100-meter field.”
Among other noteworthy efforts, Tara Rooney’s steeplechase debut ended with an ACC Championships qualifying time of 10:48.73. Madison Harris followed up her 800-meter PB on Friday with a 1500-meter PB (4:37.68).