June 14, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa – Throughout the NCAA Track and Field Championships Seminoles.com is going to be providing fans with live updates from the meet.
3:05 p.m. (CST) Update
When Ray Taylor transferred to Florida State in the fall he said he was coming here to help the Seminoles win the national championship. He may have done just that with his performance today. Picked by no one to score any points, Taylor put down five huge points with his fourth-place performance in the triple jump. He used a career-long jump of 16.53m/54-02-75 to push the Seminoles to 37 points and that much closer to the team title. The wind was a positive 5.0 meters per second so it won’t count for any records or top 10 lists but the points he earned is worthy much much more.
Many don’t know, but Taylor has a pretty interesting story. Last year he won the triple jump title at Cornell – his teammates actually won this year’s title – but had graduated with an extra year of eligibility left. Ivy League rules prevent student-athletes from competing as graduate students so Taylor thought his career was done. Like most Ivy League graduates, Taylor had a great job waiting for him, a job on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. However, after looking at his options, Taylor put his job on hold for the opportunity to compete at Florida State.
He was banged up during the indoor season and only finished eighth so even though he didn’t defend his title, the fourth place finish is big for Taylor and may be the difference in getting that illusive team national championship that he came to Florida State for.
But Taylor’s second leap had the rest of his team–led by their head coach Bob Braman–dancing in the stands as the Jamaican-native blasted his career-best leap with a 15.93m/54’02.75″ mark. The jump put Taylor in second headed into the field of nine finals.
Although he wasn’t able to put up a bigger leap, Taylor’s top jump still earned him fourth place which came as a packaged deal with his fourth All-America title and five huge points for Florida State to keep the Seminoles in the lead by six over LSU.
If Florida State can get at least 15 points out of their final three competitors–Walter Dix, Charles Clark and Drew Brunson (all former national champions and All-Americans) the Seminoles will seal the deal on their third-consecutive NCAA title.
Elsewhere in Des Moines, we’ve been following the story of the terrible flooding across the state of Iowa all week and unfortunately this morning, the tragedy reached the state capital. Sometime just before 4:00 a.m. central time, a levee on the north side of Des Moines gave way. Furtive efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers and National Guard were unable to stem the flow and a second temporary levee had to be erected.
Twenty-four of your 29 Florida State athletes here in Des Moines gave up their time to go down to the affected areas this morning and assist in the sand bagging efforts. Joined by a few other teams competing in this weekend’s national meet, the Seminoles banded together to provide as aid to the city that has been such a tremendous host to them for the last week.
Be sure to tune in later this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. EST for the final two hours of competition here at Drake Stadium live on CBS. Florida State’s final three events of the day–the men’s 200m, the men’s 110m hurdles and the women’s 1500m will all be televised live before a national audience.
12 p.m (CST)
Setting the scene
Just as it has the last few days and should be, the big story here in Des Moines is not the NCAA Track & Field Championships, but rather the flooding. Early this morning a levy north of downtown broke and flooded a significant area. Again our hotel is fine and the track has not been affected, but thoughts and prayers of everyone go out to those people coping with the floods and working to minimize the damage.
A lot of the great things that the Florida State student-athletes do away from competition rarely get noticed, but hopefully here is one that does given the attention that is being paid to the flood and the track meet. In the wake of the levy breaking and the flooding it caused, this morning the majority, if not all, of the FSU athletes not competing today have decided to go down to the United Way center near the flooding and volunteer. Most of the time student-athletes get singled out when they make the wrong decisions, hopefully this time they’ll get some attention for going above and beyond. We hope to have some photos up on the website either this afternoon or when we get back to Tallahassee.
Now onto the business at hand on the track…
It’s the final day of the 2008 NCAA Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, but it seems like we just got here yesterday…The Seminoles are right where they need to be in first place (32 points) ahead of LSU (31 points) and Auburn (26 points). Going in FSU’s favor is that it has four athletes in competition: Ray Taylor (triple jump), Walter Dix (200m), Charles Clark (200m) and Drew Brunson (110m hurdles) while the LSU Tigers (200m & 800m) and Auburn Tigers (hurdles & shot put) only have two each. If everyone does what they are suppose to do, Florida State should come out on top, but that’s why they run the meet.
As coach Braman pointed out last night, the senior class has really stepped up at this meet and will need to do so again today for the Seminoles to have a chance to win. So far, half of FSU’s points (16) have comes from seniors. Of course the future is still bright considering that the other half has come from freshmen Ngoni Makusha and Gonzalo Barroilhet. While you don’t want to get too over confident, the four guys the Seminoles are bringing into today’s action have 10 national championships and 27 All-America awards under that credit. That’s going to bat with some heavy hitters.
Even though most of the attention is going to be focused on the men’s team, the women will make some noise today as well. The dynamic duo of Kim Williams will try to get her first national championship after coming in second during the NCAA Indoor meet.
It’s going to be a great day of competition. Check back at Seminoles.com for live updates and turn on CBS at 4 p.m. (EST) to catch all the coverage live. Hopefully you’ll be able to see Florida State hoist the national championship trophy around 6 p.m.