June 24, 2012
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than a decade in the making, Lacy Janson can finally add the Olympian to her resume as one of the most decorated pole vaulters in US history.
Janson claimed the third and final spot on the US Olympic team Sunday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon at the trials. The Sarasota native and Tallahassee resident cleared 4.50 meters (14-9), but had to await a final attempt at 4.55 by competitor Mary Saxer before securing a trip to the 2012 London Games.
“I felt on,” Janson said. “I was on point through 4.50.”
A strong headwind, which turned the women’s pole vault competition into a four-athlete showdown for three slots, halted Janson’s strong start. After clearing the first three bars (4.25m/4.40/4.50), each on her first attempt, the former Seminole star stalled at 4.55 with three consecutive misses.
“I was at the mercy of whatever was going to happen,” Janson said, afterward. “I just walked away and said, `Whatevever happens, I accept it. I’ve tried my best.’ I was waiting for the sound of the crowd to tell me what happen. I hate it for Mary. Fourth is the worst, but the sound of the crowd told me I was in third place and going to the Olympics. That was pretty awesome.”
It was a moment of redemption for Janson, a six-time All-American at Florida State who had two NCAA and eight ACC titles to her credit, but finished 10th at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
Janson, who last competed for the Seminoles when she graduated as an Academic All-American in 2006, continues to train with FSU assistant coach Dennis Nobles.
Her Olympic berth was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing day for the Seminoles. Walter Dix, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 100, pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury in the semifinal and despite advancing, finished last in the finals.
Maurice Mitchell finished fourth in the first heat of the semifinals (10.23), right behind Dix, but could not overcome a slow start. Still, it marked the first time the Seminole star – who was sporting a Nike uniform – advanced to the semifinals of the US national championship meet in the 100 for the first time.
“It’s better than last year,” said FSU Director of Sprints, Hurdles & Relays Ken Harnden. “He did a good job. He didn’t react well to the gun and that’s frustrating … It was his worst race of the season and unfortunately it was at a bad time. We’ll turn the page and get ready for Friday.”
Mitchell and fellow Seminole Horatio Williams will compete in the preliminary round of the 200 on Friday in Eugene. Dix is also scheduled to compete but his status is unknown after he jogged through the final of the 100 Sunday.
Joe Allen, who last competed for Florida State in 2001 and holds the third-best long jump in school history, finished 10th in Sunday’s long jump finals. Allen, who won ACC long jump titles in 2000 and 2001 for the `Noles, qualified sixth for the finals on Friday with a jump of 7.75 meters (25-5.25).
Michelle Jenije will compete in the triple jump finals Monday at 8:45 p.m. (ET) before the action slows down for the `Noles until later in the week on the University of Oregon campus.