May 26, 2006
Despite an almost two hour rain delay, the Florida State men’s and women’s teams have put themselves in a great position for tomorrow. Senior jumper Johnta Griffin (Orlando, Fla./Florida A&M) and redshirt junior Garrett Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Baptist Academy) scored 12 points to give the men’s team 5th place after day one. Evelyne-Cynthia Niako (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and redshirt junior Alycia Williams (Palm Coast, Fla./George Mason University) advanced into the finals of the sprint events and lead the way in scoring in the finals.
“You can’t have a perfect day but we came close,” beamed third-year head coach Bob Braman. “I felt like in places we didn’t qualify, we still did really well. We had nothing disastrous happen and it was just a big day for us. Johnta (Griffin) was a huge surprise and a big plus. Garrett Johnson’s place in the discus was a bog plus. Cynthia (Niako) had a great day and Alycia Williams makes the finals.
Sophomore Walter Dix (Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Springs) advanced to the 100m finals with a season-best 10.12 in the second heat. Teammate Greg Bolden (Morrow, Ga./Albany State) advanced through the preliminary round with a 10.50 in the heat as well.
In his second race of the day, the indoor 200m national champion Dix breezed through the first heat with a time of 20.51. Teammate and 400m-relay leg Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) was right on his heels with a collegiate best 20.97.
Putting the first points on the board for the Seminoles was senior long jumper Johnta Griffin (Orlando, Fla./Florida A&M) who entered the regional championships with the 13th farthest mark in the region. After setting a personal best of 24’10.5″ (7.68m) on the first jump of the six-attempt series, he bettered that distance and with a third-place showing of 25’2″ (7.69m) and a spot to compete in the national championships meet.
Fellow jumper Rafeeq Curry (Miami, Fla./ACE Academy) finished just outside the top nine finalists, hitting the sand in 24’3.5″ (7.40m). Despite not finishing in the top five, the seven-time All-American triple jumper still has one of the top marks in the country and has a chance to advance to nationals in the at-large selection.
Redshirt junior Garrett Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Baptist Academy) added to the team score, contributing six points in the discus with a mark of 189’11” (57.88m). The third-place performance guarantees the nation’s top shot putter a spot in the discus as well at the national championship meet.
Junior vaulter Matt Hurley (Tallahassee, Fla./Chiles) finished among the top ten pole vaulters in the finals, clearing the bar at 16’7.25″ (5.06m). He tied for ninth with Connecticut’s Victor Radzevich and Cornell’s Evan Whitehall.
The men’s 4x100m relay missed breaking the NCAA East Region record of 39.02 set by a 2004 Seminole quartet, running 39.03 in today’s prelim. Lead man and indoor All-American Bolden handed the baton to fellow junior transfer Ronald Wright (Baltimore, Md./Barton Country Community College) through the first exchange who handed off to 100m regional finalist Garvin. Junior captain and All-American Cedric Nabe (Geneva, Switzerland/Lycee St. Joseph), who anchored the 2004 NCAA East Regional record-setting team, ran the final segment for the 2006 group that led all finalists.
“I was just trying to focus on the race,” explained Nabe. “I waited for Mike (Ray Garvin) to hit the mark and I just took off. I didn’t feel like I was forcing it too much. I felt really good. I haven’t run for months so this was big.
“Running our first time together as a group all year was the biggest factor,” he continued. “My freshman year, (the 4x100m relay) was consistent. Even though we messed up our exchanges, it was easier to run. Today, we knew we were going to run fast but that was our first time together and my first time running the relay this year.”
Senior captain Evelyne-Cynthia Niako (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) had the fastest at-large qualifying time in the 100m prelims, posting a career-best 11.34 in the first heat. The mark is the sixth fastest in FSU history and third fastest time in the last 20 years.
The 2003 All-American returned after the two-hour rain delay with a strong 200m performance, recording the second speediest mark of all 30 competitors with a 23.27 clip.
Sophomore Ricardo Chambers (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) began the defense of his 400m regional title, leading all advancers and registering the only sub-46 second time of the preliminary race at 45.95.
In the 1500m, redshirt senior Natalie Hughes (Grand Junction, Colo./Palisade) and junior Tom Lancashire (Bolton, England/Turton) advanced to the finals. Lancashire had the second fastest advancing time with a clip of 3:46.48. Hughes crossed the line in 4:26.56 to automatically qualify for tomorrow’s finals.
Fellow sprinter Alycia Williams (Palm Coast, Fla./George Mason) earned one of five automatic final berths in running a lifetime best 53.36 and leading the third heat of the 400m preliminary race.
Senior LaKendra McColumn (Lithonia, Ga./Southwest Dekalb) secured a spot in the 400m hurdles finals with the fastest at-large time of 58.25. Earlier in the afternoon, McColumn had the sixth fastest advancing time in her heat with a 14.10.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, sophomore Elliott Wood (Sydney, Australia/Narrabean Academy) made his first regional final, running 50.97 in heat three. redshirt freshman Javier Garcia-Tunon (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) missed the quarter hurdle finals by six-hundredths of a second, running a lifetime-best 50.90. Earlier in the afternoon, Garcia-Tunon added another lifetime best in placing 15th in the 110m hurdles in 14.10
Other finishers: Redshirt senior Andrew Diakos (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) hit 179’2″ (54.60m) on his second attempt in the preliminary round of the hammer throw… Senior Sarah Reed (Punta Gorda, Fla./Illinois) had the 12th farthest throw in the finals at 47’9″ (14.55m)… Redshirt sophomore Tommy Noyes (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) ran 1:51.07 in the 800m preliminary race.
The event finals begin tomorrow for FSU with the men’s and women’s triple jump at noon. The running events have a later start beginning with the 4x100m relay at 5:00 pm. For complete results and updates, please visit www.seminoles.com.