March 11, 2012
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
NAMPA, Idaho – Florida State senior Michelle Jenije turned in the finest performance of her collegiate career when it mattered most Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Jenije opened the night at Jacksons Track with a career-best leap of 13.54 meters (44-5.25) in the triple jump on her first attempt, which stood up for a silver medal finish. The opening leap smashed Jenije’s previous career best (13.19m) and delivered the Tallahassee native the first podium finish of her collegiate career.
“It was very exciting,” Jenije said. “When I saw the mark I was just stunned and felt so blessed. …
“I know I have potential for greater things. I felt it in me. I definitely trained for it. I just prayed about and hoped everything would come together today and it did. It’s a blessing. I’m really excited. I can’t complain about getting second. I wanted to win, but I can’t complain.”
FSU sophomore Phillip Young also flourished in his first NCAA appearance in the triple jump. Like Jenije, Young also used a career-best jump to climb on the podium for the first time. Young set PR’s on two of his first three jumps of the competition, leaping an all-time best 16.00m (52-6) on his third attempt to secure a sixth place finish.
Seminoles’ coach Bob Braman was especially excited for the performances of the two triple jumpers, especially after waiting four days from the time the team arrived in nearby Boise.
“It was a huge career-best by Michelle,” Braman said. “That’s getting it done. It’s really difficult in this environment to at least do what you needed to do to get into the meet. To come in here and lifetime best, it’s almost unheard of.
“Phillip went straight to business – boom, boom, boom. He had a season second-best jump, a season-best and a season-best – in that order.”
Young entered the competition with a previous best mark of 15.87m, and was seeded 12th in the 16-man field. His finish gave the Seminoles a final tally of 22 points, which left them tied for eighth place with fellow ACC foe Virginia Tech and Texas A&M. In all, 65 men’s teams registered points in the meet.
The Seminoles initially finished tied for ninth but a late disqualification of Texas A&M in the 4×400 relay – the final event of the night – moved them up a spot in the final pecking order. FSU’s men have now finished eighth or better seven of the last eight seasons.
“It really feels great,” said Hyman, who was making his first career NCAA Indoor Championships appearance. “Last year I wasn’t here, so this year was a really big accomplishment for me. I listened to coach [Ken Harnden] all the way and his advice really took me far. I came in third and I have to be happy with it. I have to thank God for everything he’s done for me.”
The Florida State women finished 20th overall in a meet where 62 teams scored.
Hannah Brooks opened the final night of the two-day championship with a sixth-place finish in the mile run. Brooks kept pace in the middle of the pack throughout the tactical race, which led to a wild, two-lap finish.
When the leaders made their move, she was up to the task and brought it home in 4:40.96, right on the heels of Virginia’s Morgane Gay. It secured the graduate student All-American honors for a third consecutive season, on the heels of 2011 outdoor track and cross country honors.
“Hannah Brooks’ effort against a great field was really good,” Braman added.
Amanda Winslow was running in the thick of Saturday’s tightly-packed women’s 3000-meter final when she mysteriously fell off the pace midway through and finished 17th.
“I think we had really good efforts,” Braman said, capsulizing the performance of both the men’s and women’s teams. “In Kemar Hyman’s first championship he gets third and coming in he was the third seed. …. Mitchell had the four races, which is tough, and he had some cramping issues which I think kept him from being his absolute best.
“We lost some points on some tight things here and there. With the people we had, you can’t come in and expect to get every single point. There were points to be had that we didn’t get, but I didn’t feel like we left them. I feel like other people got them.”
Seven of the 10 Seminoles who made the trip closed the indoor season on the podium at the national championship meet.
With the indoor season complete, the Seminoles will now turn their focus where it’s always remained: on the outdoor season. FSU will send a group to the USF Invitational next weekend then prepare to host the highly-anticipated FSU Relays March 21-24 at Mike Long Track.