TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With four ACC discus championships, an appearance in the 2016 Summer Olympics and the opportunity to earn more titles and accolades in the weeks ahead, Kellion Knibb’s Florida State legacy is unquestionably secure. But while trophies and championship banners are nice, Knibb’s legacy will take on a more tangible form both at this week’s NCAA track and field regionals and well beyond the completion of her collegiate career.
That’s due to the trail that the Jamaica native blazed and the example she set for Gleneve Grange and Shanice Love, two fellow FSU throwers and countrywomen.
The three will share the spotlight on Friday, when they compete at the NCAA East Preliminary in Lexington, Ky.
“It’s like we’re sisters,” said Grange, who hails from Kingston, Jamaica. “It’s just such an awesome atmosphere.”
A quick look at the trio bears out the sister dynamic. Knibb, a fifth-year senior and graduate student, is the all-business big sister who barely cracks a smile until her work on the track is complete.
Grange, a junior, might have the most gregarious personality of the bunch, with big-time results to match.
And Love, a freshman who competed against Grange in Kingston, is the group’s baby, learning from those who came before her while still finding her own way.
All three held Jamaican junior national records prior to their arrivals at Florida State. Knibb’s record was broken by Grange, who in turn had her mark bested by Love.
Not that they ever remind each other of that.
“It’s good to know that they’re improving,” Grange said. “It’s a good feeling … even though my record is gone.”
The opportunity for bigger and better things at the collegiate level helps ease the sting.
With Knibb at the forefront, all three throwers have high hopes of finishing among the top 12 in their event and qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Knibb and Grange are seeded first and third, respectively, in the region, with Love carrying the No. 18 seed.
All three echoed the instruction of their coach, fellow Jamaican and former Olympic thrower Dorian Scott – when asked what it would take to advance.
“I just think I have to be very technique-oriented,” Knibb said. “I don’t want to focus on throwing far. I want to focus on my technique.”
And Grange: “I just need to remember technique is the key to everything.”
If Knibb’s two younger teammates follow her example, they ought to be just fine.
After a junior season in which she finished unbeaten against collegiate competition, Knibb fell just short at NCAA championships with a throw of 61.44 meters – good enough for second place and to meet the Olympic standard, but not good enough to leave her feeling satisfied.
As a result, Knibb has spent her senior year almost singularly focused on taking care of her last piece of unfinished business.
That means a championship ring in the discus and, just for good measure, taking a run at the shot-put title, too.
“It would be like the icing on my entire collegiate career,” Knibb said, “to finish with a national championship.”
However the next few weeks play out, the fact remains that Knibb’s time at FSU is nearing its end.
Which is where Grange and Love come in.
Together, they represent the next wave of Seminole throwers, a group looking to build on Knibb’s foundation.
Carrying on Knibb’s work while stepping out of her shadow is a top priority for each.
“You have to live up your name also, but you have to try and keep up with Kellion,” Grange said. “Because she’s doing good. Just having her presence here is like, ‘OK, you need to focus, you need to lock in.’”
Added Love: “You have to be the best person you can be and continue the legacy.”
It’s a legacy that seems to build by the day.
In a country known mostly for its sprinters – think Olympic superstar Usain Bolt or Asafa Powell – women’s throwing often goes mostly unnoticed.
Knibb started to change that, and last year was one of just five female Jamaican throwers to compete in Rio de Janeiro.
So while she’s led the way for her cohorts at Florida State, in a way, all three are among the pioneers of their sport.
“I like it,” Love said with a laugh. “Three Jamaican discus throwers – chillin’, vibin’ and everything. It’s great.”