PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Kellion Knibb secured a clean sweep of the 122ndPenn Relays discus titles for Florida State Friday in most dramatic fashion, unleashing a meet and Franklin Field record on her sixth and final throw for the championship section title. It was the first of two wins on the day by the Seminoles as the shuttle hurdle relay quartet of McKoya Banton, Melissa-Maree Farrington, Peta-Gay Williams and Meme Jean delivered the Seminoles first championship wagon wheel since 2009.
“We had a spectacular day,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “Our kids fought through rain and temps in the 40s and did so at the highest level. Kellion’s win and Penn Relays record was amazing, but so was our win the shuttle hurdle relay.
“Our men’s 4×100 easily won their heat to qualify for tomorrow’s Championship of America and Meme doubled back impressively to earn a spot in the 100 hurdles final as well. I’m really pleased with our focus and effort.”
Knibb’s throw of 58.55 meters (192-1) took down the meet record held by Washington’s Aretha Hill (57.76m/189-6) since 1996, and moved her past Maryland’s Chiona Onyekwere (53.02/173-11) for the win.
It was the second Penn Relays title for Knibb, who won the 2014 title but missed all of last year’s outdoor season due to injury.
“Kellion has become a big-time, clutch performer,” Braman said. “To win on the final throw in the rain is unbelievable, but when you add in a 46-degree wind-chill and a Penn Relays record, it’s truly special.”
Perhaps more impressively, it was the second – or third, depending on your perspective – discus win of the meet by a Seminole.
Sasha-Ann Lebert captured the collegiate division discus title on Thursday with a lifetime-best mark of 51.44 meters, and FSU signee Shanice Love captured the high school championship with a meet record (54.72) a short time later. Love took down the previous high school record set in 2013 by Gleneve Grange, who is on the FSU roster but sitting out this season.
All four – Knibb, Lebert, Love and Grange – are Jamaican and either are, or will be, coached by FSU alum and two-time Jamaican Olympic shot putter Dorian Scott.
“Coach Scott’s ladies are our leaders right now,” Braman said.
Running a close second are coach Brandon Hon’s hurdle group, which delivered Florida State its first Penn Relays women’s relay title since 1983.
The shuttle hurdle relay quartet group won in 55.15, aided by South Carolina’s anchor crashing to the ground over the final hurdle just as she was about to be caught by Jean.
“I was just telling myself, ‘You have to get tight, you have to get tight. Quicker, quicker, quicker, in order to catch her,’” Jean said afterward. “That’s what I was doing. I knew I would come and get her. It was too bad she fell. It would have been a great finish.”
The Seminoles got solid first and third legs from Banton and Williams, and what Braman described as “monster” efforts from Farrington and Jean for the victory. FSU’s win came without the services of Nicole Setterington, who is ranked 27thnationally in the 100 hurdles, but was unable to make the trip due to her final exam schedule.
“I knew if all of us did our best we could get it,” Farrington said.
The Noles did just that, delivering the school its first relay title since the men won the 2009 4×400. Perhaps even more satisfying, the women have their first iconic wagon wheel since the powerhouse 1982 and 1983 Seminole ladies swept the 4×100 and 4×400 events in back-to-back years.
Florida’s State’s men will have an opportunity to add another relay title Saturday at 1:40 p.m. in the Championship of America 4×100 relay. The Noles quartet Raheem Robinson, Darryl Haraway, Keniel Grant and Edward Clark advanced to the final by winning their Friday heat in the rain and cold in 40.56.
Jean will be hunting her second title of the meet Saturday in the 100-meter hurdle finals after qualifying fourth (13.62) just 30 minutes after anchoring the winning shuttle hurdle relay. That final is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Chad DaCosta will round out Saturday’s list of performers at Franklin Field when he competes in the championship section of the men’s discus.
You can stay abreast of the action via Twitter @FSU_Track or check back at Seminoles.com for a complete recap.
Freshman Eleonora Omoregie’s second NCAA Championships appearance of the year included two clearances but ended with an exit at 1.82 meters to place 15thand earn second-team All-American honors.
“Eleonora was battling the entire competition,” Braman said. “She and Coach Nobles made good adjustments and she just missed on her third attempt. It was a great freshman year – a double ACC champion and second-team All-American.”
With a second-attempt clearance at 1.78 meters (5-10), her second clearance of the day, Omoregie out-performed her seed (16th) and cleared one more bar than she did when she placed 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Couple that group with freshman Veronika Kanuchova, who was fourth in the hammer, 100-meter hurdles qualifying underclassmen Peta-Gay Williams and Cortney Jones, and 400-meter qualifier Shaquania Dorsett, and the Noles have a strong base to go along with one of the nation’s top signing classes.