COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Gaining experience isn’t always easy, but it is invaluable. That was Florida State track & field coach Bob Braman’s takeaway following Friday’s opening action at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Of the five Seminoles competing Friday inside Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium, four were making their first appearances on the championship stage.
“All of our kids laid it on the line at ACC’s and we came here a bit worn down,” Braman said. “As these elite athletes get older and more experienced, they’ll circle this meet on their calendar, not ACC’s.”
FSU’s trio of ACC champions – Eleonora Omoregie, Jogaile Petrokaite and Darryl Haraway – were unable to get the Noles on the scoreboard, nor were conference podium finishers Austin Droogsma and Melissa-Maree Farrington.
Omoregie, the lone freshman in the women’s high jump field, posted the top finish among Seminoles, tying for 11th in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 1.76 meters (5-9.25).
“Eleonora has been nursing a bad calf,” Braman said. “She’s going to have three more years of national meets so I know she’ll rebound from this.”
Droogsma, a redshirt junior, was the only Seminole to out-perform his seed entering the meet. With a top mark of 18.16 meters (59-7) he placed 13th; one spot higher that he was seeded.
“Austin had a solid day and beat his seed,” Braman said. “He had some great warm-up throws and just didn’t catch one.”
Haraway never really had the opportunity to make a run at the finals in the 60-meter dash, aborting his attempt midway down the track in his preliminary heat. Jogging across the line in 7.14, he was 14th overall.
“Darryl’s hamstring got tweaked earlier this week and it really bothered him in warmups,” Braman explained. “He’s had a fantastic season and his future is really bright.”
Petrokaite, the lone Nole with NCAA Indoor Championship experience, was unable to improve on his opening long jump attempt of 6.09 meters (19-11.75). After fouling her final two attempts the junior from Lithuania finished 14th.
“I felt bad for JoJo,” Braman said. “She’s been so good all year, but two fouls really limits your production.”
Farrington came tantalizingly close to delivering the Noles their lone points of the day. The senior, competing in her first NCAA pentathlon competition, was among the top eight in the standings through the first four events, only to have it slip away in the fifth final event.
With her competitive juices flowing from the start, Farrington won her heat in the 60-meter hurdles in a season-best time of 8.40 and followed up with a personal best-matching 1.72 meters (5-7.75) to capture her high jump flight by three bars.
With 1,918 points – one point shy of her career best through two events – she moved on to the shot put. Despite the 16th-best effort in the field (11.46m), Farrington emerged with a career-best total of 2,543 points through three events and stood eighth overall.
She regained a spot in the overall standings (seventh) with a long jump of 5.80 meters pushing her total to 3,332 points with the 800 remaining; well within reach of first-team All-American honors and the Florida State school record.
Those hopes were dashed with a 2:32.69 800 as the Australian tumbled to 15thoverall, finishing with 3,992 points.
“Melissa-Maree did a fantastic job through four events and just didn’t have it in the 800,” Braman said. “If she can get her 800 up with her other events she’ll be hard to beat. She competed really hard all day.”
Junior transfer Montel Nevers will carry the garnet and gold banner for the Noles on the final day when he competes in the triple jump, scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET). Nevers, who won the British University Championships indoors last year for Leeds Beckett University in record fashion, nabbed the 16th and final spot in the field when he leaped 15.88 meters (52-1.25) on his sixth attempt.
You can keep track of Nevers’ progress via Twitter @FSU_Track.