April 18, 2008
If the Florida State men’s track and field team is going to wins its fourth Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor title in a row, it’s going to need some of the last day magic it has used to capture the last two NCAA Outdoor Championships.
After two days of competition, the Seminoles – who have won the last seven ACC track titles and nine of the last 10 – find themselves in third place after Friday’s (April 18) action at the at George C. Griffin Track on the campus of Georgia Tech. FSU has 38 points, which is 15.5 behind leader NC State and 10 back of North Carolina. The Seminoles are a point ahead of Clemson.
“We’re a little disappointed with the men,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “We’re a few strides, a few gut checks, a few squeezing it out at the end efforts from being in the driver’s seat. We shouldn’t be wondering about what’s going to happen tomorrow.
“Now you put yourself in a position where you get a key injury or something weird happens then all of sudden you don’t win the meet, no matter how hard your kids compete. We put ourselves in harm’s way and we are too good of a team to do that.”
While they are in fifth place with 32.5 points, the women’s team is only six points from moving up to third. Virginia Tech continues to lead the meet with 72 points, followed by Virginia at 45.
“The women had a really good day, they did about as good as we could expect,” Braman added. “The women didn’t leave a lot out there, they got after it pretty well. Kim had a lifetime best to win the long jump, we have half the field in the 400m and the top two in the 800 so those are just some of the great performances today.”
Highlighting Friday’s action was a trio of championships performances. Senior Luke Gunn (Derby, England) broke the track record with a winning time of 8:38.33 that is the fastest time in the country so far this season. Classmate Mark Buckingham (Huddersfield, England) took fifth with a regional qualifying time of 9:00.12.
The Seminoles won the long jump in both the men’s and women’s meets by a pair of freshman. Ngoni Makusha (Mandedza, Zimbabwe) took the men’s title while Kim Williams (Kingston, Jamaica) took the gold in the women’s meet after a runner-up showing during indoors.
On his fourth attempt, the rookie launched a season-best jump of 7.91m/ 25-11.5 that ties the second-longest jump in school history and is the third best in the nation during outdoors. Makusha’s jump is the longest since Joe Allen set the school record of 7.94 in 2001 and equals Mark Freeman from 1983 for the number two spot.
While she didn’t’ know it at the time, Williams won the long jump title during her first jump. The rookie had identical jumps of 6.30m/20-08.00 in her first two attempts. Her winning mark rates as the sixth-best jump in school history.
At the end of the day, the Seminoles added four new NCAA East Regional qualifying marks and improved on four others. Florida State advanced 20 runners, 10 from both teams, into Saturday’s finals.
On the men’s side, the Seminoles top qualifying race of the day was the 200m dash. Running the event for the first time this season, sophomore Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) notched the eighth-best time in the nation with his top time of 20.78. Junior Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) came in second at 20.86 and rookie Brandon Byram (Gallatin, Tenn.) took fifth with a 21.00.
Even though FSU only had two runners in the women’s 800m run it pushed both of them through to the finals. Posting the fourth fastest time in the nation this year was sophomore Hannah England (Oxford, England) with a time of 2:05.85 to earn the top spot for the finals. Coming in fifth during the prelims was Pilar McShine (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) at 2:07.52.
The women’s best event of the day was the 400m dash where FSU took half of the eight spots in the finals. Posting a career-best time of 53.61 was senior Dana Massiah (Arima, Trinidad and Tobago) to win her heat and finish second overall. Winning her heat and coming in fourth overall was senior Kandia Batchelor (Hillsborough, Fla.) in a season-best time of 54.66.
Running her best time of the season was freshman Brittany St. Louis (Arima, Trinidad and Tobago), who posted a 54.58 to qualify fifth. A spot behind her was senior Keyla Smith (Daytona Beach, Fla.) in a time of 54.70.
Florida State has two of the top four runners in the finals of tomorrow’s 110m high hurdles. Senior Drew Brunson (Snellville, Ga.), who grew up 20 miles from Georgia Tech – won the prelims with a time of 13.77. Coming in fourth was freshman Gonzalo Barroilhet (Santiago, Chile) at 13.97
Sophomore Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich.) – who won the mile at the ACC Indoor Championships – posted a time of 3:49.07 to finish first in the 1500m run. Also getting into the finals was senior Chris Nickinson (Pensacola, Fla.) as he ran a career-best time of 3:50.33 to take sixth in the preliminaries. The women put one runner in the 1500m finals as Audrey Hand (Virginia Beach, Va.) ran a season-best time of 4:33.83 to win her heat and move on Saturday’s final.
Getting closer to the form that made him an NCAA participant as a freshman, junior Javier Garcia-Tunon (Miami, Fla.) won the prelims of the men’s 400m hurdles in a time of 51.75. Also making it to the finals was senior Elliott Wood (Sydney, Australia) in 52.10 that ranked him sixth.
The Seminoles also got two in the finals of the men’s 800m run. Senior Tommy Noyes (North Canton, Ohio) won his heat and finished third overall at 1:51.13. Running the event for the first time this year, Andrew Krummins (Melbourne, Australia) posted a time of 1:50.62 that was the second fastest in the prelims.
Junior transfer Nicole Marcus (Tallahassee, Fla.) had the third-fastest time in the women’s 100m dash. She ran a 11.72 to move on to Saturday. Getting the last spot in the finals of the 100m was freshman Teona Rodgers (Tampa, Fla.) with a time of 11.93.
The women got points out of the high jump from sophomore Tiara Swanagan (Orange Park, Fla.). She tied Clemson’s Anastasia Wilson for fourth by clearing a height of 1.72m/5-07.75. The first competitor of the day for the Seminoles was junior Tim Reen (Jupiter, Fla.). He took eighth in the high jump, clearing a height of 2.01m/ 6-05.00 on his final attempt.
The final day of competition kicks off with Florida State’s first competitors in action at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Live stats can be found at www.theacc.com.