June 12, 2008
Des Moines, Iowa – Freshman Ngoni Makusha earned Florida State’s first individual crown of the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a monstrous 8.30m/27’03.25″ leap in the long jump finals–the fourth-best jump in the world this year, the best in FSU history and the best Drake Stadium has ever seen.
“Not only is Ngoni winning huge, but it gives us a big boost,” said head coach Bob Braman. “A lifetime best from Gonzalo was just phenomenal; 7907 is just ridiculous and wins most years, he just ran into a buzz saw in (Ashton) Easton. I’m very proud of them.”
Makusha stole the spotlight away from Florida State’s talented cast of All-American veterans with his first leap of the day, am 8.25m/27’00.75″ mark that was sure to bring him the gold. But after a shorter second jump and two passes, Makusha took to the runway again beneath the setting sun and launched himself to a whole new level.
Makusha’s top leap created a ripple in the air that traveled all the way from Iowa to his home country of Zimbabwe, where he now holds the nation’s long jump record and receives an automatic bid to represent Zimbabwe in the 2008 Olympics.
“I’ve been working really hard with coach (Dennis) Nobles, working really hard on my technique,” said Makusha. “I was feeling really comfortable as I was coming towards the board and everything was right to the point. I think I’m starting to put some things together.”
Fellow freshman Barroilhet had the honor of putting the Seminole men’s first points on the board with a school-record 7,907 points to finish third and score the first 6 points of the meet for FSU.
Barroilhet was fifth heading into today’s final five events. A second-place finish in the 110m hurdles with a 14.11 moved him into fourth place, then he climbed again into third with a personal-best throw of 43.12/141’06.60″ in the discus.
In the pole vault the NCAA Indoor Heptathlon Champion claimed the event crown with a 5.20m/17’00.75″ mark to remain in third. Barroilhet nearly topped his best mark with a 55.84m/183’02.00″ toss in the javelin, putting him down 93 points to decathlon leader Jangy Addy of Tennessee. Barroilhet clocked a 4:50.79 in the 1500m, not enough to overtake Addy, but the rookie still earned the bronze in his first collegiate outdoor championship meet.
Senior 15-time All-American and seven-time National Champion Walter Dix easily jogged his way through the first two rounds of the 200m semi-finals with a 21.04 and a 20.51 respectively. Fellow All-American, sophomore Charles Clark also advanced past the first and second rounds as he topped his heat with a 20.29 mark in the prelims and took sixth with a 20.71 in the semifinals . The pair will try to score big for the Seminoles Saturday afternoon in the 200m finals which will be aired on CBS.
“We’ve got to do what we do at the NCAA Championships,” said Braman, “Which is not survive and not do okay, but rather have some guys just stick it out there and try to be the one to make us better. We’ve got a lot of good guys out there tomorrow and they’re the guys you want to put out there.”
After advancing through the first round, junior Michael Ray Garvin came up short in the 200m semifinals with a time of 21.17, missing the final cut by two spots.
In his first race since the prelims at the East Regional Championships, senior Drew Brunson put up his career-best time of 13.40 in the men’s 110m hurdles. Brunson, the indoor 60m hurdles champion, finished second in the first round of competition to advance to the semifinals on Friday.
Senior Elliot Wood was unable to snag one of the final eight spots in the men’s 400m hurdles. Wood finished 13th in the semifinals with a time of 51.09.
On the women’s side, Florida State advanced three competitors in their respective events.
All-America distance runners Susan Kuijken and Hannah England made their NCAA Championships debut in the second heat of the women’s 1500m run. England, the NCAA Indoor Mile Champion, advanced at the top of her heat with a 4:17.36 mark while Kuijken finished in eighth to secure a spot in Saturday night’s final race as well.
Freshman standout Teona Rodgers ran an impressive race in the 100m hurdles, clocking a 13.37 just two hundredths of a second off her personal best. Rodgers’ time was third-best in her heat and 12th-best overall, enough to push her into the semifinals tomorrow afternoon, Friday June 13.
In the women’s 800m run, sophomore Pilar McShine wasn’t able to advance past the second round as she crossed the line in 2:08.03.
A difficult handoff in the women’s 4x400m kept the Seminole relay team of All-Americans Keyla Smith and Kandia Batchelor along with Brittany St. Louis and Dana Massiah out of the semifinals with a time of 3:37.79.
Competition will resume tomorrow morning in Des Moines. Senior All-American Ray Taylor will kick things off for the Seminoles at 4:15 p.m. as he tries to defend his crown in the men’s triple jump.
Portions of Friday night’s events will be televised on CSTV, check your local listings for more information.