June 9, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. – Michael Putman posted a season-best on his sixth and final discus throw Wednesday to earn All-American honors and get the Florida State men’s track & field team on the scoreboard in the NCAA Championship at historic Hayward Field.
Putman uncorked a throw of 183-10 (56.03m) to move up one spot in the final standings and claim three points for the Seminoles on a day when the weather conditions were less than ideal.
“It was a big moment but I figured I had nothing to lose,” said Putman, whose previous season-best (183-4) came in early March. “I just came out here and fought. I wanted to throw with all my heart and I did that. I was just ready and waiting for this moment.”
The Seminoles had a few moments on the first of four days of competition.
Junior Pasca Cheruiyot landed the top finals finish of the day for the FSU women, crossing the line with a fifth-place finish in the 10,000 meters in a personal-best time of 33:23.22, which ranks second in school history.
Cheruiyot ran in the top 10 the entire race, climbing as high as second before settling for the best national finish by the `Noles since Vicky Gill’s school-record effort in 2004.
“That was a fantastic race for her; over a minute PR,” said FSU coach Bob Braman. “She made that race. No one in that race had more guts than Pasca. That was as hard as anybody could do it. The women needed a little pick-me-up.”
The men’s 4×100 relay team of David Ambler, Brandon Byram, Maurice Mitchell and Brian Chibudu punched their ticket to Saturday’s final as an automatic qualifier with a second-place heat finish in 39.30. FSU posted the sixth-fastest time among the eight qualifiers.
Their female 4×100 counterparts – Candyce McGrone, Marecia Pemberton, Amy Harris and Teona Rodgers – finished third in first heat in 44.29. With the top two teams in each of the three heats automatically qualifying, plus the next two fastest times, the Seminoles’ first heat standard held up through the second heat but not the third.
Battling shoulder-to-shoulder up the home stretch in a battle for third place in the third heat, both Texas Tech (44.24) and Baylor (44.27) nudged the Seminoles from a spot in the finals.
“The women’s 4x100m was really disappointing … to miss it by two one-hundredths,” said Braman. “Once we lost Danielle Jeffrey, which could give a good handoff, we lost the rhythm. This hurts because we were thinking we would be fourth or fifth even with a mixed crew. It will be hard to make up the points because we don’t have a big women’s team.”
Unfortunately, it was not the low point of the day for the Seminoles.
Mitchell, who came into the championship meet with the second-fastest time in the 100 (10.04w) this season, collapsed face-down on the track after finishing fourth in the second heat in a non-qualifying 10.32.
Braman said Mitchell was felled by a calf cramp, but he expects his sophomore sensation to be able to compete in Thursday’s 200 meter semifinals.
A few minutes later, Pemberton – who also came into the meet with the second-fastest women’s 100 (11.12w) in the nation this season – also came across the finish line with a fourth-place heat finish (11.52). The freshman, who had not lost a 100-meter race during the outdoor season, failed to get to the finals.
Sophomore Kevin Borlee enjoyed a more pleasurable opening day on the University of Oregon campus, qualifying for the finals in the 400 meters (45.70) after a fast third-place finish in the first heat. Borlee, who finished fourth at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, was the fifth-fastest qualifier overall after the three semifinal heats.
“Kevin Borlee was in a really, really hard heat,” said Braman. “He had the fifth-fastest time, but he was in the fastest heat. Great job for him to really suck it up and get it down the last 100 meters.”
Junior Brittany St. Louis finished fifth in the first heat of the women’s 400 (54.24) and failed to advance in her final race of the collegiate season.
At the close of the opening day, the story for the FSU men – who are in 10th place with three points – was clearly Putman.
“First of all he was seeded 20 out of 24 and this was not his main event,” Braman said. “He qualifies sixth and has two guys pass him in the final round. Then in his last throw he throws his season best to move him back up to sixth place. Those were three huge points for our men’s team.”
Putman, who will compete in the shot put on Saturday, was mentally up for the challenge of competing in his first NCAA Championship on a stage where former FSU throwers Garrett Johnson and Dorian Scott have excelled.
His performance brought a big smile to associate head coach and throws mentor Harlis Meaders.
“Michael had a fantastic day,” said Meaders. “He took care of business and I am proud of him stepping up. We are looking forward to the shot put for his next goal.”
So is Putman, who would like to add another piece of hardware to his first NCAA trophy.
“This wasn’t just for me,” Putman said. “This was for my team; the alumni. I had big shoes to fill following Garrett and Dorian. Coach (Harlis) Meaders recruited me and expected me to score points at nationals. We’re Seminoles. We fight and we don’t come here to lose. We come here to fight and to score. That’s why we’ve been so successful the past couple of years.”
For complete results go to http://www.flashresults.com/2010_Meets/outdoor/NCAA/.
For all information regarding the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships go to www.ncaa.com. Fans can follow the Seminoles throughout the meet on Twitter @fsugridsid and www.seminoles.com for daily recaps, photo galleries and video highlights.
Men’s Discus Final
2. FSU (Ambler, Byram, Mitchell, Chibudu) 39.30 Q
7. Kevin Borlee 45.70 Q
9. Maurice Mitchell 10.32
9. FSU (McGrone, Pemberton, Harris, Rodgers) 44.29
15. Marecia Pemberton 11.52
14. Brittany St. Louis 54.24
Pasca Cheruiyot 33:23.32