IOWA CITY, Iowa – Unfazed by travel issues which had a handful of Florida State athletes arriving for the Larry Wieczorek Invitational just hours before the start of competition, Corion Knight and Kenneth Fisher turned in strong performances to lead the Noles Friday; the first of two days of competition.
Knight, who transferred from Florida Memorial where he was an NAIA national champion, won his NCAA Division I men’s high jump debut in garnet & gold.
“To slip on the FSU uniform, I was crazy excited,” said Knight, who starred at Wakulla High School. “The delay in the flights kind of got to me a little bit, and I have a little heel injury, but it didn’t stop me too much. I could have done a little better, but I was super excited to have my NCAA debut.”
Knight won with a winning mark of 2.10 meters (6-10.75) in a competition which was decided by fewer misses. He cleared his first two bars on his first attempt Friday afternoon, after arriving in town just before lunch.
“My first win for FSU is big for me,” Knight said. “The height wasn’t what I expected or what my coach expected, but it’s a different level. It’s a work in progress. We’re working hard. We’re going to see bigger results very soon.”
While Knight produced the lone outright win by FSU on the day, he wasn’t the only bright spot. Graduate transfer Kenneth Fisher, who was also caught up in the travel issues, produced his best jump on his sixth attempt to finish third overall.
“Coming out I felt great,” said Fisher, who scored first place points for the Noles as the top collegian in the field. “I got through the run-throughs and felt big and explosive, but when it was time to jump my body just shut down. I was like, ‘I’ve got to get to the finals.’ I started piecing it together and started to get it going.”
Fisher made the finals, along with FSU freshman Jacore Irving, and delivered when it mattered most. His final attempt produced a season-best 7.55 meters (24-9.25), which trailed only winner Damar Forbes and runner-up Jarrion Lawson.
Irving, the former Sneads High standout, produced a legal lifetime-best mark of 7.22 meters (23-8.25) to finish seventh overall and fifth among collegians.
“I’m pretty happy,” Fisher said. “I’m consistently jumping 7.5 (meters), which is back to my freshman year when I got my PB, so I’m en route to do some big things this year.”
FSU coach Bob Braman was also happy with what he saw from the Noles.
“I couldn’t be more proud of those guys who never made excuses for the travel problems and came out and competed really well,” Braman said. “That’s not a common mentality in track & field and it’s really encouraging.”
Joining Knight and Irving among productive Florida Panhandle natives for the Noles was junior Madison Harris. Another Wakulla High product, Harris did more than just compete in the first 600-meter race of her career, she won her section by coming from fourth to first on the final time around the banked 200-meter track.
“It was fun,” said Harris, who finished fourth overall and was the third-fastest collegian in 1:33.17. “It was a little nerve-wracking how everyone went out so fast. It looked like, ‘Snap, I’m going so slow.’ I knew from watching a couple of the other heats that I’d reel them back in. The first lap I probably looked so slow to everyone. The second lap I would catch them and the third lap is the race.
“That was my thing is high school so I brought it back, I guess.”
The FSU women also got scoring performances from a trio of pole vaulters as Nicole Breske finished fifth with a season-best 3.70-meter (12-1.5) clearance. Summer Schafers and Amanda Lewis followed in sixth and sixth, each posting personal-best indoor clearances of 3.55 (11-7.75).
The Noles ladies sit seventh among nine teams after a light opening day schedule, with 15 points. Host Iowa leads with 52.33, followed by Minnesota (51.33), Kansas State (37.33), Wisconsin (31.50), LSU 31 and Virginia (21).
The Seminole men are fifth out of eight teams, thanks to additional scoring contributions from Brandon Tirado and Tom Hogarty. Tirado was fifth in the weight throw with a season-best heave of 18.89 meters (61-11.75) and Hogarty was fourth in the 3000, also in a season-best (8:36.72).
LSU leads the men’s team scoring with 52 points, followed by Wisconsin (43), Iowa (35.5), Iowa State (31.50) and Florida State (28). Kansas State (19), Arizona (8) and No. 16 Virginia (6) round out the field.
Action resumes Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET) with the women’s shot put.
You can follow the Noles throughout the day via Twitter @FSU_Track and check back with Seminoles.com for a complete recap Saturday night.