April 19, 2003
RALEIGH, NC – The Florida State men’s track and field team successfully defended its title as conference champions on Saturday afternoon at Paul Derr Track on the campus of NC State, sending legendary head coach Terry Long out on top in his final ACC tournament. The Seminoles scored a team high 202 points to sweep both the indoor and outdoor ACC titles for the first time in team history. The women’s team moved up one spot and finished as the tournament runners-up accumulating 157 points.
The men’s competition came down to two teams with Florida State and Clemson vying for the conference championship for the fourth year in a row. Two years ago the Tigers got the best of the Seminoles down in Orlando, Fla. winning the title by only six points. Last year the Tribe got their revenge running away with the conference crown scoring a team high 201.5 points. In 2003, Florida State came out looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time in team history. The Tribe headed into Saturday’s finals with a 35 point lead over Clemson, a lead the Seminoles refused to relinquish.
The 200m dash was a big momentum swing for the Seminoles as they took three of the top four spots in that event which solidified the victory. Along with Thorpe, Brian Dzingia ran a personal best time of 21.35 to place second, while Cedrick Robinson finished in fourth place in a time of 21.38. Sean Campbell rounded out the scoring in that event with an eighth place finish at 21.97.
In the men’s hurdle competition, senior Danyne Brown won the 400m in a time of 51.39, while he placed third in the 110m at 14.26. Joe Paiva had a great showing in his first conference meet, finishing fourth and in the process establishing a regional qualifying and personal best time of 52.60. Nabavi Oliver rounded out the scoring in the 400m hurdles with his sixth place finish at 53.02.
Freshman Kevin Cook ran the best race of his collegiate career in the 5K on the final day of competition. He was the top performer for the Garnet and Gold placing seventh in a time of 14:25.85.
In the field events, the Seminoles had two second place finishers with freshman Willie Johnson in the men’s triple jump (15.17m) and freshman Garrett Johnson in the discus (51.79m). In his final competition for the Seminoles, senior Gary Visser placed seventh in the decathlon compiling a total of 6283 points.
The women entered the final day of competition trailing second place Virginia by only 19 points. But with a big day of scoring in the track events, the Seminoles sprinted past the Cavs’ and accumulated 157 points to take second. This is the second straight year the women have finished in second and fifth time overall in conference history.
Leading the way on the women’s side in the final day of competition was senior Kim Jones and freshman LaKendra McColumn. Jones won her second consecutive title in the 100m hurdles in a time of 13.54, while McColumn picked up two third place finishes in both hurdle events. She finished the 100m in a time of 13.99, while running the 400m at 1:00.02 both times meeting the NCAA Regional qualifying standards.
Freshman Evelyne Niako had a great meet in her first ACC competition. She placed a team high second in the women’s 400m (54.21) and fourth in the 200m dash. Her time of 23.88 in the 400 was a personal best for Niako. Tamara Campbell made All-ACC honors in the 400m with her third place finish at 54.40. Sophomore Kim Walker placed fifth in the 100m dash (11.90) and eighth in the 200m dash (24.52) despite fighting flu symptoms all weekend.
The women’s heptathlon came down to the very last event to determine this year’s conference champion. UNC’s Tatyana Kirichenko edged out freshman Deanna Lane by two points to take the title. Lane finished the event with 5134 points, a collegiate best as well as good to qualify for a provisional bid to the NCAA Championships. The Tribe’s Chelsea Downs came in seventh with 4234 points, also a personal best.
In the field events, Latoya Legree was the top performer for the Garnet and Gold placing third with a mark of 12.86m in the women’s triple jump. Cerenity Young, Makiba Batten and Amanda Kinney all placed in the finals of the women’s shot put. Young finished in fifth with a throw of 14.69m. Batten’s mark of 14.41m was good for seventh, while Kinney placed eighth at 13.72m.
The Florida State women’s relay teams swept the competition winning the 4x100m and 4x400m. The 4x100m relay team of Shauna Quinn, Jones, Walker and Niako took the event in a time of 44.98. That time was a season best for the Tribe. In the 4x400m relay, the Seminole squad of Quinn, Campbell, Gerber and Niako ran away with the event in a time of 3:35.78, almost three seconds faster than second place finisher Virginia.
The Seminoles will next compete at the Penn Relays, April 24-26 in Philadelphia, PA in preparation for the NCAA Regional Championships coming up in May.