March 21, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla.- Beautiful, clear skies over the panhandle gave way to an equally beautiful opening day of outdoor competition for the Florida State track and field team. Day one at the Snowbird Invite came to a close with a wave of garnet and gold crashing across the finish line in the men’s 5000m, led by junior Steeve Gabart.
“It was a good day for us,” said head coach Bob Braman. “We picked up a lot of personal best times and some great runs from Steeve and Lydia Willemse. That’s kind of what we are looking for in the first meet of the season, we’re just focusing on training and not really thinking about nationals yet.”
Gabart (Miami, Fla.) posted a 14:16.06, besting his previous top career mark by almost 30 seconds. Sophomore Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich.) also shattered his personal-best mark with a second-place time of 14:29.63. Running unattached, freshman Matt Leeder, who will represent his native Canada next week in the World Cross Country Championships, posted a 14:31.58 mark for third place. Sophomore Trey Andrews (Titusville, Fla.) finished fourth with a time of 14:37.01 and senior Chris Nickinson (Pensacola, Fla.) rounded out the top five with a 14:41.91 mark.
In the women’s 5000m, junior Willemse (Forest, Ontario) finished fifth with a time of 16:55.34 in her first outdoor race of the season. Senior Debbie Huss (Wyomissing, Pa.) crossed the line next for the Seminoles with an eighth-place, 17:05.69 mark. Finishing in 12th, 13th and 14th place respectively were junior Christina Woytalewicz (17:17.18), sophomore Amanda Quick (17:21.06) and senior Kirsten Hagen (17:24.12).
Elsewhere in the women’s events, junior Shannon Stuckman finished second in the women’s 400m hurdles with a 1:02.57 mark. Also in the 400m hurdles, junior Quiana Holsey took seventh with a time of 1:03.40. Sophomore Caila Coleman managed to crack the FSU all-time top ten list in the hammer throw with a 136’05.00″ toss for 10th place.
“All in all today was a great season opener,” said Braman. “But we’ve still got a lot more to do tomorrow. With the shorter events on the track we will probably see more regional qualifiers tomorrow than we did today, it just takes the distance runners a little longer to get going.”
Day two of the Snowbird Invite will get underway at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow with the 4x100m relay. The Seminoles will also be at home next weekend, hosting the FSU Relays at Mike Long Track March 27-29.