GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Competing on opposite coasts approximately two hours apart, Florida State track & field standouts Kellion Knibb and Zak Seddon, posted collegiate leading national marks on Friday. Knibb, in just her second competition since missing all of the 2015 season with an injury, registered the nation’s top discus throw at the Florida Relays.
The redshirt junior and Jamaican native finished second overall, despite eclipsing the previous meet record with her a mark of 59.55 meters (195-4). Post-collegian Paige Blackburn was the winner in 60.92 meters.
“That’s just a fantastic performance for Kellion,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “It’s great to have her back healthy and dominating. Being the national leader in pretty special.”
Two hours later at the Stanford Invitational, Seddon gave the Seminoles their second nation-leading performance of the day. With an eye on the Olympic standard in the 3000-meter steeplechase, the senior from Great Britain came up just shy. His consolation was a lifetime-best time of 8:33.09 and a runner-up finish to post-collegian Hilary Bor (8:30.70).
Seddon was hoping to post a Rio-worthy time of 8:30 – the Olympic Games standard – but instead settled for the fastest collegiate time of the year, breaking the previous season-best by 15 seconds. In addition to eclipsing his own previous-best (8:34.42) set as an FSU freshman in 2013, he settled for the third Stanford Invitational runner-up finish of his career.
“I’m really proud of Zak,” Braman said. “That’s a fantastic time for this early. He’s been really focused on making the Olympic standard and I think he’ll easily do that next time out.”
All in all, it was an outstanding day for the Seminoles in both Gainesville and Palo Alto, Cal.
Among the highlights, senior Otniel Teixeira finished seventh in the 800-meter run at the Florida Relays in a personal-best 1:48.03; the seventh-best mark in FSU history. Sasha-Ann Lebert, competing as a graduate student in her first outdoor season for the Noles, took over the No. 6 spot on the Seminoles’ all-time list of discus marks by placing sixth with a throw of 49.21 (161-5).
The Seminoles also received a strong performance from senior Der’Renae Freeman in the long jump, as she matched the No. 2 mark in the country this season with a leap of 6.35 meters (20-10) to finish as the top collegian and third overall in Gainesville.
Junior Nicole Setterington led a solid trio of Seminoles in the 100-meter hurdles, racing to the finish in 13.30 to place 10th overall and fourth among collegians. She was followed by graduate student teammate Meme Jean (13.38), who was sixth among collegians and freshman Peta-Gay Williams (13.42). Though all three recorded slightly wind-aided results, they also assuredly secured spots in the NCAA East Preliminary meet in May.
Neither Shauna Helps, nor Jande Pierce had help from the wind as they finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in the invitational 200-meter dash with personal-best times of 23.94 and 23.97.
“I thought the ladies did a nice job today; lots of region marks and several PR’s,” Braman added. “Nicole, Peta-Gay, Shauna, Jande, Der’Renae and Sasha all performed well.
“The men had some season-best and career-bests, but Otniel’s 800 was definitely the highlight – No. 7 all-time is pretty special and this was only his season debut.”
Joining the list of athletes recording personal-bests were junior Courteney West, who lopped eight seconds off her previous best in the 1500 (4:35.54), and Tara Rooney (4:44.71).
Even more impressively, two other FSU athletes coached by Dorian Scott in the throws but competing unattached this season – Veronika Kanuchova and Gleneve Grange – won the women’s hammer and college women’s discus, respectively. Kanuchova turned in a lifetime-best of 67.45 meters (221-3), while Grange won with her collegiate-best mark of 54.22 (177-11).
Also at Stanford, senior Georgia Peel opened her final season with a top-10 national mark in the 1500 (4:20.62), while redshirt sophomore Bridget Blake’s season-opening 3000-meter steeplechase produced a time of 10:24.35. Senior Christine Griggs capped the action in Palo Alto with a lifetime-best 35:07.00 in the 10,000 meters, narrowly missing a spot on FSU’s all-time top 10 list.
Despite the threat of inclement weather Saturday in Gainesville, the Seminoles will turn their attention to relay action. You can get live updates via Twitter @FSU_Track, monitor live results http://results.deltatiming.com/tf/2016-florida-relays or watch the Florida Relays live stream at http://es.pn/1TkSIUn.