EUGENE, Ore. – There has was no consoling the most decorated women’s thrower in Florida State track & field history Saturday at Historic Hayward Field.
Opening her final NCAA Championships appearance with a first round throw of 59.19 meters (194-2), graduate student Kellion Knibb held the
discus lead through 60 throws, only to be heartbroken in the end.
In a span of less than two minutes Knibb slipped from first to third behind Kansas State’s Shadae Lawrence and Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen, and was unable to answer on her final attempt.
“My heart breaks for Kellion,” Florida State head coach Bob Braman said. “I’ve only seen that happen to us one other time and it was Stefan Brits last year indoors. What a career for Kellion, though. I couldn’t be more proud of who she is and what she’s accomplished as a Seminole.”
Her legacy will stand for a long time. A three-time, first-team All-American – and until Saturday, the only Seminole All-American in the discus – the first four-time ACC discus champion, Knibb won three Penn Relays titles, where she twice set the meet record and was named Most Valuable Field Performer.
Those accomplishments, along with an impeccable academic career, seemed unimportant as she sobbed uncontrollably in the arms of her coach Dorian Scott.
It was that kind of day for the Seminole women, who picked up six points from Knibb and one from Gleneve Grange, who finished eighth in the discus in her NCAA debut. FSU’s women closed the competition tied for 19th with 11 points.
“A top 20 finish is never an easy task at this level, but we were awfully close to top 15,” Braman said. “I’m really pleased with the direction of the women’s program. We had nine ladies make this meet and we have another seven or eight coming who have demonstrated they can compete at this level. Add in two potent relays and I like our future.
“Kellion Knibb is an irreplaceable warrior, but we’re sure going to look hard to find another.”
Braman won’t have to look far to find some of those future scorers. Knibb and heptathlete Melissa-Maree Farrington are the lone Seminole qualifiers who won’t be back in 2018, but three others competing on the final day will.
Grange, the ACC Field MVP, used a second-round discus throw of 54.48 meters (179-11) to earn a spot on the podium in her NCAA Championships debut. She is also the school record-holder in the shot put, indoors and outdoors.
“Gleneve did a nice job by scoring in her first NCAA discus appearance,” Braman said. “I know she wanted to finish high but this event was really strong. She’ll lead us back next year to nail some big points.”
Demonstrating poise beyond her years, freshman Shanice Love improved on each of her three flight 1 discus attempts, capped by a season-best of 54.37 meters (178-4). Entering the competition as the No. 23 seed, Love finished third in the flight, just off her lifetime-best of 54.72m, which is the Jamaican junior national record.
Ironically, it was her teammate and fellow Jamaican, Grange, who bumped Love from a crack at the finals with her second attempt in flight 2.
“Shanice did a marvelous job,” Braman said of the second-team All-American. “She comes into her first NCAA Championships and posts the best throw of her young collegiate career. That’s really clutch for a freshman.”
Freshman Eleonora Omoregie’s second NCAA Championships appearance of the year included two clearances but ended with an exit at 1.82 meters to place 15thand earn second-team All-American honors.
“Eleonora was battling the entire competition,” Braman said. “She and Coach Nobles made good adjustments and she just missed on her third attempt. It was a great freshman year – a double ACC champion and second-team All-American.”
With a second-attempt clearance at 1.78 meters (5-10), her second clearance of the day, Omoregie out-performed her seed (16th) and cleared one more bar than she did when she placed 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Couple that group with freshman Veronika Kanuchova, who was fourth in the hammer, 100-meter hurdles qualifying underclassmen Peta-Gay Williams and Cortney Jones, and 400-meter qualifier Shaquania Dorsett, and the Noles have a strong base to go along with one of the nation’s top signing classes.