March 1, 2008
CHAPEL, HILL, N.C. –
Call it a back-to-back three-peat, a sextuple success, or a six-time sensation. Any way you put it, the fact remains that the No. 2-ranked Florida State men’s track and field squad is the team to beat in the ACC with their sixth-straight indoor conference championship. The men won six events and finished the day with 138 points. Florida State’s No. 14-ranked women matched their best ACC finish in a second-place time with North Carolina at 88.5 points and four first-place finishes.
In total, the Seminoles claimed ten individual ACC titles, posted five automatic qualifying marks and broke four conference records in three days’ work inside the Eddie Smith Field House on the campus of the University of North Carolina. The men’s 50.5-point victory is their second largest during their six-meet winning streak.
“The guys get fired up for the meet and it’s a big deal for them to win,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “Sometimes as a coach you come to the meet and you’re worried guys getting hurt but kids really enjoy it. It’s not the national championship, but they still get up for it. For a lot of the athletes it’s their last race until April so they’re going to give it everything they’ve got.”
FSU set the tone for its best conference performances to date in the first race of the day –the women’s one-mile run. Junior Susan Kuijken and sophomore Hannah England both bested the previous ACC Championship Record and earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament as Kuijken took first with the third-best time in the nation of 4:36.91 and England took second with the fifth-best time in the nation of 4:37.35. Sophomore Amanda Quick also scored for the Seminoles, finishing in seventh place with a 4:57.48 mark. The trio gave Florida State first place in the meet by .50 points.
“The women ran well and Karen’s (Harvey) distance girls were ridiculously good,” Braman noted. “Lydia ran a great race and Amanda Quick picked up big points that were need and then there was the mile. To go one-two over the defending national champion on her home track, I can’t begin to describe how big that was.”
The Seminole men stepped to the line minutes later for their mile run and posted three more scoring times. Sophomore Daniel Roberts took first with a time of 4:10.80, just ahead of senior Mark Buckingham who finished second-place time of 4:11.00. Freshman Matt Leeder scored in sixth place as well with a 4:12.87 mark.
Senior Drew Brunson won his first ACC title with a new conference record time of 7.69 in the men’s 60m hurdles, moving the men into first place by more than 27 points. Brunson’s new career-best time also gave him FSU its third automatic qualifying mark of the day.
“On the national scale I think we got the things accomplished that we wanted to,” Braman added. “I think we made some huge steps forward with Drew Brunson and Gonzalo Barriolhet. I think this meet showed how deep we are. I think we did some things to set us up for the future and we’re better off now than we were coming into the meet.”
Junior Charles Clark won the men’s 400m dash with a time of 47.77 while freshman Pablo Navarette finished with a fifth-place time of 49.10. Senior Luke Gunn captured the men’s 3000m title with a time of 8:13.32. Senior Andrew Krummins came from behind to take second in the men’s 800m dash with a time of 1:51.79 to put the Seminoles up by 52.5 points with two events remaining.
In the jump events, freshman Kim Williams claimed her first ACC title with a leap of 44’00.75″ in the triple jump for her second automatic qualifying mark of the season. Sophomore Tiara Swanagan finished third in event with a 41’06.00″ jump in her first competition of the indoor campaign. On the men’s side, junior Tim Reen finished the men’s high jump in third place. Reen cleared a 6’08.25″ mark to earn six points for the Seminoles.
Back on the track, junior Michael Ray Garvin won the men’s 200m finals with a 21.55, followed immediately by freshman Brandon Byram with a second-place time of 21.64. Garvin also finished third in the 60m dash with a time of 6.75.
Freshman Kamorean Hayes picked up a fourth-place finish in the women’s shot put with a 50’00.75″ mark, immediately followed by sophomore Allyn Laughlin with her career-best indoor toss of 49’06.50″ for fifth. For the men in the field, freshman Michael Putman finished in sixth place with a best toss of 54’10.75″.
On the track for the women, Junior Lydia Willemse finished fourth in the women’s 3000m race with a provisional-qualifying time of 9:33.85, her career-best mark of the season. Fellow junior Keyla Smith finished third in the 400m dash finals for six points. Freshman Teona Rodgers picked up another four points for the Seminoles with a fifth-place, 7.50 finish in the 60m hurdles. Rodgers also finished eighth in the women’s 200m finals with a time of 25.23.
“Keyla Smith was outstanding in the 400,” Braman said. “She won the consolation heat to get into the finals then moved up to third to get on the podium. That kind of effort is unbelievable. This gives the women a chance to go to outdoors, get close and make a run.”
Many Seminoles will be back on the track next weekend as they try one more time to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. A number of athletes, including seven-time national champion Walter Dix, will be at the Iowa State Last Chance Meet while others will go to the Alex Wilson Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame.