May 3, 2009
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Crushing previous personal records and showing their Garnet and Gold were a few of the distance runners from the Florida State track and field teams competing at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on the campus of Stanford late last night. Cobb Track and Angell Field welcomed several elite athletes from universities and training Olympians to compete at one of the most difficult meets the distance group has faced.
Although competition was stiff, it didn’t hinder the Seminoles from reaching their goals of setting new records and earning regional qualifications.
On the women’s front, assistant coach Karen Harvey led three outstanding Seminoles all in different events. Sophomore Pilar McShine kicked-off the meet in the 800m run where she set a new personal record with a time of 2:04.83. McShine’s time now stands in the top 10 performances of the nation and fourth in FSU history.
Up next was team captain Lydia Willemse in the steeplechase. The senior reset her personal record with a finish time of 10:05 and now sits in the top six times in the country. Willemse’s time is also the second-best performance in FSU program history.
Closing out the day for the women was Susan Kuijken with her debut in the 1500m run where the Seminole finished with a time of 4:08. Kuijken, one of Florida State’s most decorated athletes, hit the track for one of the toughest events of the meet where the senior battled against top athletes and Olympians. Her 1500m performance was a new lifetime best record, ranks second in the NCAA and also garns the second top FSU performance in the All-Time Top 10 list.
“Susan ran a courageous race,” Harvey added. “This was Susan’s debut in the 1500m, and she showed no fear in racing against many Olympians and world class runners.”
The lone Seminole competing for the men was freshman Matt Leeder in the 5000m run. Leeder dominated his heat with a finish time of 13:54.4 which reset his previous personal record. The time also is noted as the fourth-best performance in FSU history.
“Our runners really took advantage of the fast track and heavy competition at Stanford,” Harvey said. “The atmosphere brought the best out of Seminoles tonight.”