EUGENE, Ore. – Florida State’s women pull the curtain on the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships with designs on a big finish behind four quality qualifiers. The Noles enter the final day of competition tied for 22nd place with four points – from hammer thrower Veronika Kanuchova – but have been leaning on their other field events all season.
High jumping freshman Eleonora Omoregie gets a day of compacted action started in the high jump, followed closely be the discus trio of Kellion Knibb, Gleneve Grange and Shanice Love – a trio of Jamaicans mentored by fifth-year coach Dorian Scott.
It’s not inconceivable that the Noles make a charge toward the top 10, with Knibb leading the way in her final collegiate competition.
Here’s an event-by-event breakdown of the Seminoles in in action Saturday at Historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus:
Omoregie, the two-time Italian Senior Championships silver medalist, returns to Eugene for the first time since the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships. She enters the competition with an outdoor season best of 1.82 meters (5-11.5), which ranks 16th in the field of 24.
With an 2016 outdoor PB of 1.85m and an indoor best of 1.88 in March, Omoregie has a podium finish well within range in her first season with the Noles.
The Challengers: UNLV’s Kaysee Pilgrim (1.90m/6-2.75) is the top seed, but Mississippi State’s Logan Boss (1.89/6-2.15) and the Georgia tandem of Madeline Fagan and Katiana Gusin have both cleared 1.88 (6-2) and excelled on the big stage. Weather conditions, should they persist as they did on the men’s side, could well open the field for an upset.
How to Watch: Exclusive coverage of the women’s high jump begins at 5:50 p.m. (ET) will be streamed on ESPN3/WatchESPN at http://www.espn.com/watch/_/id/3093753/ncaa-track–field-outdoor-championships-womens-high-jump-final
Two of her last three meets have produced throws in excess of 53 meters, including her SB 53.56m (175-9) at the Seminole Twilight. With a pair of IAAF World Junior appearances under her belt, Love, who celebrated a birthday on Friday, won’t be overwhelmed on the big stage and could join the meet-long trend of surprising finalists out of the first flight.
Women’s Discus – Kellion Knibb, Graduate Student
& Gleneve Grange, Redshirt Junior
Flight 2, 10thth and 5th in Order, respectively, beginning at approximately 7:10 p.m. (ET)
As the 2016 NCAA silver medalist, Knibb’s runner-up mark of 61.44 meters would have won the nine previous national titles. In her final season of eligibility the Jamaican-born star held the nation’s No. 1 ranking until May 12.
Knibb, the No. 2 seed nationally at 62.07m (203-7), has been pointing to this moment since she set foot on the FSU campus five years ago as throws coach Dorian Scott’s first signees. And while she recently became the first four-time ACC women’s discus champion in history, it’s the NCAA title the IAAF World Championships qualifier covets most.
Grange makes her NCAA debut as the No. 8 seed overall behind her season-best of 57.02m (187-1), which ranks second in FSU history behind Knibb. The ACC Championships Most Valuable Field Performer after runner-up finishes in the discus and shot put, she has repeatedly shown the ability to rise to the occasion in big events. In fact, she finished first in the only two events her teammate Knibb, was not the top collegiate finisher.
With Knibb and Grange joined by Love, Florida State is just the sixth school in NCAA Championships history to advance a trio of throwers to the discus finals behind historically strong UCLA and Arizona State.
The Challengers: Kansas State’s Shadae Lawrence (62.59m/205-4) is the top seed after breaking Knibb’s three-year stranglehold on the Jamaican national record. Competition will also come from Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen (60.17/195-7), who has already set the NCAA record in the hammer and also earned first-team All-American honors in the shot put. Kent State’s Danniel Thomas, one of six Jamaicans in the field, is coming off a stunning victory in the shot put. It’s a wide-open field including five of the top-10 finishers from a year ago.
How to Watch: Exclusive coverage of the women’s discus will begin at 5:55 p.m. (ET) with a live stream on ESPN3/WatchESPN at http://www.espn.com/watch/_/id/3093750/ncaa-track–field-outdoor-championships-womens-discus-throw-final