May 10, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
In the past, the Florida State track and field teams were known for having great athletes in specific areas, but not much depth across the board. That appears to be changing in the Seminoles’ favor as they got several new regional qualifying marks and improved on a number of others during Saturday’s (May 10) competition of the Seminole Twilight.
On the day, Florida State added eight new NCAA East Regional marks and improved on eight more. FSU will serve as the host of this year’s regional meet.
“We got a lot done and I was pleased with the effort the last two days,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “I was really happy to see some seniors step up in their last home meet and have some great performances. You can see the beginnings of us starting to set ourselves up for regionals and nationals.”
Having already run at the time was the best 800m mark in the nation, which currently ranks second, sophomore Hannah England (Oxford, England) ran the best 1500m time in the NCAA. She posted a time of 4:12.24 – which bests the previous top time by a second and a half – to take second. She came in .07 behind former Seminole Barbara Parker, who set the track record with a time of 4:12.07.
Had it not been for the battle between England and Parker, the highlight of the race would have been the run of junior Susan Kuijken (Nijmegen, Netherlands). The NCAA runner-up last year in the event, she opened the outdoor season with a regional qualifying time of 4:22.85 to take third. Like England, sophomore Pilar McShine (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) added a regional mark in the 1500m to ago along with one in the 800m. She posted a fourth-place time of 4:23.46.
Not to be outdone, the women’s 4x400m relay bolstered its status with the eighth-best time in the country. The team of Keyla Smith (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Brittany St. Louis (Arima, Trinidad & Tobago), Kandia Batchelor (Hillsborough, Fla.) and Dana Masiah (Arima, Trinidad & Tobago) trailed the Florida contingency for nearly the entire race. Down the final stretch Massiah found another gear and passed the Gators for the victory in a time of 3:33.31.
“I think the women had a great meet today,” Braman added. “Hannah was great in that battle with Barbara Parker and Susan looked good for her first time out. The 4×400 was really strong and there is more there. Coach (Jackie) Richards has always been a stickler for technique and she’ll clean that up and get them even faster. It was a good set of four runs, but the handoffs were dicey.”
Posting his best jump of the outdoor season was senior Ray Taylor (Sanguinetti, Jamaica). He uncorcked a leap of 16.13m/52-11.00 to take second and move up to fourth in FSU history. Taylor’s jump is the seventh-best in the NCAA. In the women’s triple jump, sophomore Tiara Swanagan (Orange Park, Fla.) also improved on her regional mark as she jumped a personal-best 12.99m/42-07.50 to move up to sixth in FSU lore.
Scoring a new regional mark was sophomore Stephen Wilson (Brandon, Fla.) he posted a time of 1:50.23 to get in just under the 1:50.40 standard. Joining him in the 800m will be senior Tommy Noyes (North Canton, Ohio) with his fourth-place time of 1:05.37.
In the men’s 1500m run, one Seminole improved on his mark and another qualified for his first regional. Sophomore Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich) raced the fifth-best time in school history with his time of 3:44.31 to win the event. Running in what would have been the final home meet of his FSU career, senior Chris Nickinson (Pensacola, Fla.) notching a fourth-place time of 3:46.61 that rates him eighth in Seminole lore and qualifies him for his first regional meet.
Running the 400m for the first time in his collegiate career was junior Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J.). All he did was posting a winning, regional qualifying mark of 46.61.
After nearly missing in the 100m dash, redshirt freshman Brian Chibudu (Harare, Zimbabwe) got a regional mark in the 200m dash. He posted a time of 21.08 to take third in the event. Coming in fifth with a time of 21.23 was freshman Brandon Byram (Gallatin, Tenn.).
“Chibudu had a nice day and Ngoni (Makusha) did some decent sprinting,” Braman noted. “We’ve got some options there when those guys are healthy. I’m pleased because we got a lot of things done and we didn’t run our big guys like Charles (Clark), Gunny (Luke Gunn) or Bucky (Mark Buckingham) and Drew Brunson ran some different events.”
Putting down a regional qualifying mark in the men’s 110m hurdles was freshman Gonzalo Barroilhet (Santiago, Chile). He posted a time of 13.85 that is the ninth-fastest in school history to take third in the event.
Improving her regional qualifying time in the 100m dash was junior Nicole Marcus (Tallahassee, Fla.). She ran a time of 11.66 to win the event. Coming in third was freshman Ashley Cruder (Denver, Colo.) at 12.24 while Auja Pughsley (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was fourth 12.24.
A pair of Seminoles moved up on the 400m hurdle list. Senior Elliott Wood (Sydney, Australia) improved to 50.98 to win the race while junior Javier Garica-Tunon (Miami, Fla.) lowered his time to 51.31.
Junior Matt Wernke (Tallahassee, Fla.) opened the day’s competition by capturing the hammer throw title with a top mark of 58.00m/190-03 which is just off his best throw of the year. Sophomore Travis Whitfield (Jay, Fla.) came in second at 54.71m/179-06.
Florida State had three of the top five spots in the women’s pole vault. Junior Tori Allen (Indianapolis, Ind.) was third with a height of 3.70m/12-01.50. Tying her at that height was sophomore Lizbeth Mabry (Gulf Breeze, Fla.). Rounding out the top five was senior Jacintha Anderson (Largo, Fla.) at 3.40m/11-01.75.
Also competing unattached was freshman Michael Putnam. He took second in the men’s shot put with a toss of 16.95m/55-07.50 that would have qualified him for the regional meet.
A third-place effort was turned in the 200m by Auja Pughsley (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) at 24.10. Marcus was fourth with a time of 21.13. Turning in a fourth-place time in the women’s 400 meters was Hskeni Richemond (Sufferin, N.Y.) with a time of 54.73.
The Seminoles will have one more chance to qualify for the NCAA East Regional meet at the Georgia Tech Invitational, May 16-17.