Feb. 9, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Florida State track & field teams logged more than 7,400 frequent flyer miles over the weekend, with athletes spread out over three meets from Seattle, Wash., Birmingham, Ala. and Fayetteville, Ark. in their final tune-up before the ACC Indoor Championships.
It was a productive effort across the board, which has head coach Bob Braman feeling a lot better about the direction of the Seminole men and women.
There were no fewer than 19 new personal-best marks established over the course of competitions on Friday and Saturday, in addition to quite a few season-bests.
“Obviously the national people stepped up and that was exciting – primarily the two 60-meter guys (Marvin Bracy and Dentarius Locke,” Braman said. “They really put a message out there. It was a typical last meet before conference, where you like were really excited about the direction certain people are going. …
“All in all there are some really encouraging things and we’re going to go to the conference championship meet with a chance to compete. I know a month ago I didn’t feel that way. We’re finally getting into form, so that’s exciting.”
Braman and women’s distance coach Karen Harvey took a small but strong core of distance runners to the Husky Invitational and came away with five new personal-best marks. On Saturday, Jakub Zivec shaved 13 seconds off his previous best in the 3000 meters (8:08.21) to open the day. David Forrester registered the No. 2 time in the ACC with his 4:01.51 season debut in the mile. Darrin Gibson also notched a season-best in the 800 (1:49.85), which also ranks second among ACC runners.
The women received a second consecutive outstanding race from Jessica Parry, who crushed her personal-best in the 3000 with a time of 9:15.97, taking over the ACC lead In that event. Colleen Quigley was right behind her with a new best of 9:16.75, which is second among conference runners.
Amanda Winslow was solid again in the mile, placing 10th in another loaded field – eighth among collegians – in 4:36.35. Freshman Georgia Peel was close behind, lowering her all-time indoor mile best to 4:37.21 to place 12th overall and 10th among collegians. They now rank 1-2 among ACC runners at the mile distance.
There were fewer big marks by the Seminoles at the Tyson Invitational on Saturday, but associate head coach Ken Harnden was no less encouraged. Phillip Young put together a strong performance in the triple jump, closing out the competition with an ACC-leading leap of 15.89 meters (52-1.75) on his final attempt to place sixth overall.
The women’s 4×400 relay team of Sage Watson, Elizabeth Ichite, Sarah Chandler and Marsha Ariol shaved five seconds off their previous season best to tally the ACC’s second-faster time of the year in 3:41.42.
Harnden also liked sophomore Stephen Newbold’s 400-meter relay leg of 46.33; a promising sign froth defending ACC indoor champion.
The 19 personal-best marks in the last meet before the ACC Championship did not go unnoticed.
“That’s a great weekend,” Harnden said. “Anytime you see improvement across the board – with at least half the people that traveled getting at least season-bests or PR’s – it means we’re doing some things the right way.”
With Bracy and Locke leading the way with the nation’s two fastest times in the 60-meter dash on Friday, and Stefan Brits registering an ACC-leading long jump of 7.72 meters (25-4), there were not shortage of positives.
“I think we established ourselves a little bit, back to the old days of Florida State, with getting people if not in the (NCAA Championship) meet, then very close to the meet Phillip, Stefan, Marvin, Locke. That’s always a good thing. Then the women are starting to move in the right direction and that’s good.”
There were quite a few highlights at the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday as well, most notably new career-best standards by junior Stargell Williams in the shot put and sophomore Markindey Sineus in the weight throw. Williams unleashed a strong series of throws, including an all-time best – indoors or outdoors – of 17.10 meters (56-1.25), which ranks fifth in the ACC.
“Stargell had a huge meet and I was very, very excited about that,” Harnden said of the Chiles High graduate. “It puts him where coach (Dorian) Scott thought he was in practice, so showing that in competition was really good.”
Competing in his first meet of the season after dealing with a family tragedy, Sineus rose to the occasion with a throw of 17.64 meters (57-10.50), which ranks sixth in the ACC.
“Markindey has had a really rough go of it personally and to be able to come back and compete at your best ever … He’s done an amazing job,” Harnden said. “The whole team is supporting him big-time.”
The Seminoles will have two weeks of practice before heading to Virginia Tech for the ACC Championship meet, Feb. 22-23.