March 14, 2008
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –
Even when the odds might not be in its favor, don’t count out the Florida State men’s track and field team. The Seminoles got a personal-best from every athlete on Friday’s (March 14) first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship and find themselves in first place with 26 points.
FSU has a seven-point lead over Arizona State while Tennessee is third at 17 points. Four teams are tied for fourth with 10 points.
What makes the Seminoles’ team effort even more impressive is that seven-time NCAA champion – including a pair of 200m indoor titles – Walter Dix (Coral Springs, Fla.) is home in Tallahassee with strep throat.
“I guess that shows a lot of heart, a lot of courage,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said of the men’s effort. “They stepped right up and put ourselves right back in here. They made a statement that we’re a team, we have a world-class leader in Walter Dix who is not here, but we’re more than one man. I think that’s exciting, that’s not a knock on Walt, we’d love to have him here.
“We had a really good first day. We’ve got a lot of work to do and unfortunately with not going head-to-head with LSU it’s out of our control. We have to get through and do our thing and hope it’s enough. We’ve certainly put ourselves in a position to win this meet.”
Bolstering Florida State’s effort was a record-setting performance in the 60m hurdles by senior Drew Brunson (Snellville, Ga.). After a pair of false starts, Brunson edged South Carolina’s Jason Richardson by .003 with a winning time of 7:527. He broke the school record of 7.56 set by two-time Olympian Arthur Blake. Brunson’s title is the fourth indoor hurdle title in school history but the first since Phillip Riley in 1995. During the prelims, Bruson posted a then career-best time of 7.60.
“This great, I battled back from injuries, I battled back even before the race with some little cramps and it makes it even more satisfying because this is my last year,” Brunson said. “This is my last year, but my first NCAA Indoor so it was great to win.”
“It’s amazing,” Braman said of Brunson. “Phillip Riley was unbelievably good, he was a national champion. He was a great great sprinter/hurdler. Arthur Blake was sixth in the Olympics finals in Seoul in 1988 and is pretty much one of the better collegiate American hurdlers and Drew takes his record. He kept his composure, focused on what he was doing, didn’t panic and he needed that last little bit.”
The Seminoles got 10 points from the 200m dash as Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) finished second with a personal-best time of 20.50 that rates fourth in the world this year. Equaling his career-best that he also ran in the preliminaries, junior Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) posted a seventh-place time of 20.79.
Both runners posted previous career-best times in the prelims. Running side-by-side in lanes five and six, Clark posted a 20.60 – the fourth fastest time in the world this year – while Garvin was close behind at 20.79.
Getting Florida State its first points of the day was freshman Ngoni Makusha (Mandedza, Zimbabwe). He broke the overall school record on his fifth jump by leaping 7.97m (26-01.75) to take third.
The day started with freshman Gonzalo Barroilhet (Santiago, Chile) holding a 42-point lead in the heptathlon through four events. The rookie posted career-best marks in three of the four events.
“He really set the tone,” Braman said of Barroilhet. “He came in and said `We’re here and we’ve got a shot at this thing. Guys I’m picked for sixth, I’m leading and my best events are coming.’ A lot of things are going well for us and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Garvin just snuck into Saturday’s finals of the 60m, beating Florida’s Jeremy Hall by .002 and Clemson’s CJ Spiller by .006. He just missed his personal-best with a time of 6.662.
The only Florida State female in action on day one was Hannah England (Oxford, England) during the prelims of the mile run. The sophomore made her move on the next to last lap to take second in her heat and overall with at time of 4:41.32.
Barroilhet starts his quest for the heptathlon at 11 a.m. with Rayon Taylor in the triple jump at 5:30. The running event start at 6:15 p.m. Live stats and video can be found at Arkansas home page: www.ladybacks.com