BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Florida State’s Sasha-Ann Lebert, Christine Griggs and the women’s distance medley relay carried Friday’s opening action for the Seminoles at the Conference Clash, with each claiming runner-up event finishes at the CrossPlex indoor track facility.
Lebert placed second in the weight throw with a mark of 19.11 meters (62-8.50) and Griggs put together a late big surge for second in the 5000 meters (17:18.11).
In the final event of the night the Seminole quartet of Chelsea Jarvis, Shaquania Dorsett, Georgia Peel and Bridget Blake rolled to the No. 10 time in program history (11:19.11), just behind Purdue for the win.
“I thought the distance ladies had a good night,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “The DMR put themselves in a good position for ACC’s and Christine Griggs ran a strong race to get second.
“Sasha-Ann continues to impress and she’s getting very consistent with her 19-meter throws. A 20-plus [meter] throw is definitely coming soon.”
Lebert, a winner at the CrossPlex last week in her Seminole debut, led the competition heading into the finals but was eclipsed by Ole Miss’ Raven Saunders, who is the current world leader in the shot put.
Griggs, a senior competing in just the second indoor meet of her career, methodically reeled in the field in the 5000 meters. Moving from sixth to second over the final 10 laps around the banked, 200-meter Mondo surface. A full 12 seconds off the lead with 800 meters (four laps) to go, Griggs merely ran out of room in her chase to catch Texas winner Katie Ruhala (11:16.57).
The FSU women’s distance medley relay team was equally impressive in its first endeavor of the season. A big, late move by Jarvis on her opening 1200-meter led (3:27.4) put the Noles in front and Dorsett, a freshman, held it with her 55.1 400 split. Peel followed with a 2:11.4 800-meter split, relinquishing the lead on the final turn, but setting up Blake for an eight-lap battle with Purdue over the final 1600-meter led.
Blake brought the baton home in 4:45.1, but could not reel in the Boilermakers’ anchor Katie Hoevet. Purdue won in a facility record 11:16.44, which is good for the early national lead. The Seminoles also smashed the previous facility mark with the second-fastest time in the country thus far this season.
In addition to the opening day finals, freshman Edward Clarke qualified for Saturday’s 60-meter dash final (6.79). It was the first 60-meter dash of the Jamaican youngster’s career.
Meme Jean (8.35) and Nicole Setterington (8.40) advanced to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles as the No. 5 and No. 8 seeds. Setterington set a new personal-best for the second consecutive weekend, while Melissa-Maree Farrington missed the finals by one-thousandth of a second, also registering a life-time best 8.40. All three were in the same heat, which was won by Jean.
“The women’s hurdlers were also a high point for us,” Braman said. “Nicole and Melissa PR’d and Meme won her heat in a smooth and controlled effort.
“I thought Edward ran really well, especially in his first collegiate 60, and against a strong field. He’ll have a chance at an even bigger race in the final tomorrow.”
Freshman Shauna Helps failed to reach the 60-meter dash finals, but her 14th-place time of 7.48 is the 11th-swiftest in FSU program history.
In addition to the finals qualifiers, senior high jumper Cristobal Hurtado-Arteaga soared to his second consecutive high jump clearance of 2.05 meters (6-8.75), which was good enough for seventh place overall.
“Cristobal has been jumping consistently 2.05 meters and you can feel that a lifetime best is really close,” Braman said.
The young Seminoles aren’t through, as action resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. in the unique, dual-meet scored event, which pits eight Southeastern Conference schools against a collection of seven schools from the four remaining Power 5 conferences.
With one day in the book, the Power 4 challengers lead the SEC women 28-24, while the SEC holds a 28-21 lead on the men’s side.
Saturday’s competition will see the Seminoles send Der’Renae Freeman and Jogaile Petrokaite into action in a highly anticipated long jump competition, while Kiara Wright will try and build on her indoor best high jump, set last week.
Peel and Blake will be in the fast heat of the women’s mile, while Jarvis should be among the top contenders in the 800. Otniel Teixeira will make his indoor season debut in the mile for the men.
“Overall I think the majority of our athletes didn’t let the big stage get to them,” Braman said. “Now we have to start having some breakthroughs. We have some big opportunities tomorrow on both sides, so we’re really excited about that.”
You can follow the action via Twitter @FSU_Track or keep abreast of the live results at noles.co/23k7DSq