EUGENE, Ore. – Prowling around the center of Historic Hayward Field, Kellion Knibb wore the look of a predator. Florida State’s redshirt junior came to the NCAA Championships hunting a title in the discus and she was not going to let three consecutive fouls be a distraction.
On the heels of a pair of monster fouls in pursuit of Wisconsin senior Kelsey Card’s lead, Knibb cut loose a lifetime-best fifth throw – 61.44 meters (201-7) – to claim the silver medal.
In the process of posting the best NCAA discus finish by a Seminole – male or female – since Bradley Cooper’s 1979 title, Knibb extended her own Jamaican national and FSU records. And she did it against arguably the finest field she has ever faced.
Card won with a best mark of 63.52 meters, but Knibb edged bronze medalist Valarie Allman of Stanford (61.42), with fellow Jamaican, Kansas State freshman Shadae Lawrence fourth (61.18).
“I am extremely proud, but at the same time I’m kind of disappointed because all it really took was one throw and I had several chances,” said Knibb, who improved on her fifth-place finish in 2014 after missing all of last season. “I’m still happy that I went out there and laid it all out there on the field.”
That was evident as three of legal marks ranked among her top six this season. More to the point, she produced a career-best on the biggest stage, after overcoming the fouls, including one – on her third attempt – which may well have eclipsed Card’s winning mark.
“That was definitely the best competition she has faced, by far, ever,” FSU throws coach Dorian Scott said. “She showed good mental toughness; she showed she was ready to give her best when the pressure was at the highest. It’s what I expect out of her. We’ve been undefeated all season under all types of crazy circumstances. I expected her to perform big and she showed me what she does.”
Florida State coach Bob Braman heaped high praise on Knibb.
“Kellion was a warrior today,” Braman said. “She is the best field event battler we’ve had since Kimmi Williams. She wasn’t going to go quietly.”
Knibb’s eight-point scoring contribution led the Seminole women to a share of 29th place overall.
Graduate student Sasha-Ann Lebert came up just shy of advancing to the discus finals, with a third-throw best of 52.09m (170-10) to finish 18th.
“I thought Sasha did a nice job,” Braman added. “Her final throw just missed second-team All-American honors by 12 centimeters.”
Redshirt junior Grete Sadeiko came precariously close to adding to FSU’s team scoring total, finishing a career-best 11th while competing in the heptathlon for a third time in Eugene. Sadeiko made a hard charge on the final day, climbing from 15th to 10th before losing a spot after the 800 meters (2:23.67).
“Grete did a really nice job and came up just short of scoring,” Braman said. “She’s second-team All-American for the second consecutive year, so that’s pretty stout.
“Overall our ladies had a fantastic year; an ACC title and more national qualifiers than in any year in recent memory. What we’ve got to do next is progress those second-team All-Americans to first-team scorers and we’ll be in the hunt for a podium finish.”
Sadeiko’s day-long climb into scoring contention began before she even set foot on the long jump runway. With the withdraw of Arkansas’ Taliyah Brooks she moved up a spot to 15th-place before Saturday’s action began.
The Estonia native came into the day with 3,306 points and began stacking on points in bunches. She climbed two spots to 13th in the overall standings after her opening long jump (5.89m/19-4) attempt netted 816 points.
Her biggest move came in the javelin, where her top throw in 14 months – 44.92 meters (147-4) – ranked third against the field of 23 and netted 762 points. That pushed Sadeiko’s total through six events to 4,884 points with Northern Iowa’s Paige Knoble (4,968) and Texas A&M’s Annie Kunz (4,952) standing between her and a spot on the podium entering the 800.