March 30, 2006
Tallahassee, Fla. – For the first time this year, the Seminoles will split squads, with one group heading just down the road to Gainesville and five FSU runners traveling across the country to Stanford, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational. The distance group will compete on Friday (March 31) night while the larger group at UF take center stage all day Saturday (April 1).
Stanford Preview… The group of five runners competing in three events at the Stanford Invitational are looking to go the distance, literally, and earn berths to the NCAA East Regional… 2005 NCAA steeple qualifier Barbara Parker and newcomer Lydia Willemse will hurdle the barriers in Cali in hopes of adding to the group headed to Greensboro in late May. Only six women in the country have met the 3K steeple standard of 10:50.25 and of that group, the sixth and final qualifier is from the East Region… If the trio of Susan Kuijken, Natalie Hughes and Abbie Wilshire break 16:52 in the 5000m this weekend, then they will be in elite company, as only one person on the East Coast has met the region mark and only two overall in the nation have run faster… The lone representative on the men’s team headed to California is All-American Andrew Lemoncello. After running a 14:24.13 5000m time at the FSU Relays, the indoor ACC 3K and 5K champion will open up this weekend in the 10,000m race.
After FSU Relays, Six FSU Women Headed to NCAA East Region Meet… Led by three-event NCAA qualifier LaKendra McColumn, six female FSU student-athletes and the 4×100-meter relay earned spots at the NCAA East Region Championship in Greensboro, N.C. from May 26-27, 2006. McColumn bettered her 400m hurdle time, clocked a faster 100m hurdle mark and anchored the 400-meter group past the meet entry standard. Leadoff relay leg and top jumper Alyce Williams also met the meet requirements in the triple jump and the 4×100-meter squad. Senior captain LaToya Legree joins Williams will be the second in the triple alongside Williams. Top Seminole thrower Lindsey Nelson improved her chances of making it to the national meet with a regional berth in the shot put. NCAA Indoor Pole Vault Runner-up Lacy Janson and newcomer Tori Allen round out the group, in sharing the runway at the NCAA East Region Championships.
McColumn Posts Second-Fastest 400m Hurdle Time of Year… Senior LaKendra McColumn ran the second-fastest 400m hurdle time through the first month of the 2006 outdoor campaign in winning the event at the FSU Relays last weekend. She cleared each obstacle and finished the race in 58.17, just three-tenths of a second behind her career-best and seventh-fastest in FSU school history mark of 57.85.
McColumn Honored By ACC… For her three regional qualifying time performance, LaKendra McColumn was honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference as the league’s top female performer. In her second meet of the 2006 campaign, her 400m hurdle time of 58.17, is the second fastest in the country this year behind only Texas’ Melanie Walker’s 56.87 clip. Stepping her game up to the next level, the three-time All-ACC honoree picked up her second NCAA East region mark in as many days, in winning the 100m hurdle in 13.86. The graduate student in her fourth and final season of eligibility came back on Saturday to anchor the 4x100m that met the regional standard with a time of 45.48, the second fastest time in the conference and sixth fastest in the country this season.
Hurley Hurls Over Pole Vault Standard, Secures Berth To Regional Meet… Junior pole vaulter Matt Hurley cleared the NCAA East Region standard in taking second place in the event at the FSU Relays. Hurley’s entry to compete among the region’s best came when he tied a personal-best height of 16’6.75″ (5.05m). It is the third time in as many years that the Tallahassee, Fla., native is entered in the meet. He is one of 17 vaulters in the nation to have met the regional requirements as of March 28.
In Joining Janson, Allen Moves Into League of Her Own… In clearing the bar in the pole vault on Saturday, newcomer Tori Allen did something that no one has done since regional qualifying started in 2003. The X-Games Champion is the first pole vaulter other than Janson to qualify for a regional meet With her 12’2″/3.80m mark, she also moved into the top five all-time on the Seminoles pole vault list.
Hurdlers Listed Among Top Four In the League… Three hurdlers are among the conference leaders in their respective events. Javier Garcia-Tunon and LaKendra McColumn are the top 400m hurdlers in the league while freshman Tywayne Buchanan is right behind Garcia-Tunon at number two. LaKendra McColumn, who is also the second-fastest quarter hurdler in the nation, has the fourth-fastest 100m hurdle mark in comparison to other ACC competitors.
Multiple Qualifiers, Multiple Events… The women’s team is quickly coining the phrase – `Multiple qualifiers in multiple events”. In two meets, two areas have two qualifiers (triple jump and pole vault), one person has met two individual and one relay regional requirement (McColumn) and another person will compete at the NCAA East Region meet as a leg of a relay and a field competitor (Alyce Williams). LaToya Legree’s and Alyce Williams’ triple jump performances on Saturday placed both in the running for an event title at the NCAA East Region Championship. Teammates Lacy Janson and Tori Allen had the same plan with both regionally qualifying in the pole vault this weekend as well. Alyce Williams has the dual role in the triple jump and is expected to lead off the 4x100m relay in Greensboro, N.C., in May. Anchor relay leg LaKendra McColumn is entered in two hurdle events in addition to the 4x100m relay.
Garrett Johnson Day In Leon County… Garrett Johnson officially has his own day, according to the Leon County Government and County Commissioner Bill Proctor, who designated March 19th of every year for the national champion Seminole and 2006 Rhodes Scholar. Johnson was also recognized by the Florida House of Representatives for his academic and athletic achievements when Representative Carl Domino sponsored a resolution on March 29 as a part of FSU Day at the Capitol. The representatives passed the bill unanimously (115 yeas, 0 nays) recognizing Johnson for his success.
Multi’s Duo Quickly Gaining Ground and Experience… The decathlon area of the Seminole track and field team is steadily developing into a strong group with a lot of depth thanks to sophomore Matt Frith and junior Jacob Peacock. Frith is the top returning decathlete to the squad this year after finishing in fourth place at the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships and scoring points towards the Seminoles’ third outdoor title.