June 7, 2006
Sacramento, Calif. – The first day (June 7) of the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships is in the record books for the top-ranked Seminole men and Top 20 women as the group advanced six through the opening rounds at the Alex G. Spanos in Sacramento, Calif.
Redshirt junior All-American Garrett Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Baptist Academy), senior seven-time All-American Rafeeq Curry (Miami, Fla./ACE Academy), senior All-American Andrew Lemoncello (St. Andrews, Scotland/Stirling), sophomore All-Americans Ricardo Chambers (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) and Walter Dix (Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Springs) all lived to see another day of competition in their respective events. The second-seeded, men’s 4x100m relay was the only non-advancer on the first day after being disqualified for exchanging outside the zone.
Lemoncello made advancing to the 3000m steeplechase finals for the second time in as many years look relatively easy, running 8:38.55 and crossing the line second in his heat. The 2005 All-American entered the meet with the second fastest time in the nation and is scheduled to run in the final on Saturday, June 10 at 2:20 p.m.
Dix cruised through the fourth and final heat of the 200m dash, running 20.62 into a 1.1 wind. The seven-time All-American led all advancers in posting his slowest time all season. Rookie Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) automatically qualified for the semifinals with the third speediest time in his heat (20.85).
Chambers recorded the fastest time among all 400m runners in the preliminary race and recorded the second fastest time in college this year in running 44.99. The two-time All-American is only the second collegiate quarter miler to run sub-45 in 2006, in just his third outing of the season.
Johnson threw 183’6″ (55.93m) to qualify for the discus finals. The All-American hit the seventh farthest mark in the group on his second throw.
The men’s 4x100m relay started the day with a disqualification in the third heat for exchanging outside of the zone. The second-seeded quartet, that exchanged relays for only the third time this year, consisted of junior All-American Greg Bolden (Morrow, Ga./Albany State), junior transfer Ronald Wright (Baltimore, Md./Barton County Community College), Garvin and All-American anchor junior Cedric Nabe (Geneva, Switzerland/Lycee St. Joseph).
“If you look at the NCAA relays the past few years, there’s always a team that just doesn’t make the passes,” said head coach Bob Braman. “Last year, Arizona State got disqualified in the finals and they were one of the co-favorites. That’s why we’ve got 21 events and four days. The van’s not packed. We’re going to be fine.
“If we’re the only one (team making mistakes), it certainly means we have to have a perfect meet or near perfect meet. But it’s the nature of track and field…we would just like to have (the mistakes) even out.”
Senior Evelyne Cynthia Niako took the third qualifying spot in her heat, advancing to tomorrow’s semifinals with a time of 23.14. The 2003 All-American held the ninth spot overall in the preliminaries.
Senior Barbara Parker (Norfolk, England/ Loughborough) missed qualifying for the finals by less than five seconds, running her second fastest time of the year 10:22.57.
On his final jump of the three-attempt, qualifying round, senior All-American jumper Rafeeq Curry (Miami, Fla./ACE Academy) made the 12-man, long jump final with a distance of 25’3.25″ (7.70m). His mark was the fifth farthest overall and the second farthest this year. It is the first time in his career that he is in the long jump final at a national meet. Curry returns tomorrow for the long jump final at 6:30 p.m.
Fellow jumper Johnta Griffin (Orlando, Fla./Florida A&M) ended his two-year career at FSU with the 16th -best distance in the long jump. Competing in his first individual event at a national championship, the All-ACC honoree hit the sand at 24’1″ (7.34m).
The Seminoles wrap up the qualifying rounds tomorrow, June 8. Redshirt senior Lacy Janson (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney) takes the track in her final collegiate championship with pole vault qualifying at 4:30 p.m. Johnson follows with the opening round of the men’s shot put at 5:30 p.m., ahead of fellow thrower senior Sarah Reed’s (Punta Gorda, Fla./Illinois) shot put tilt at 7:15 p.m.
On the track, Dix is scheduled to compete in the 100m qualifying round at 3:30 p.m. If he advances, the 2005 200m NCAA National Champion will run the semifinals at 5:35 p.m.
Quarter hurdlers senior LaKendra McColumn (Lithonia, Ga./Southwest Dekalb), sophomore Elliott Wood (Sydney, Australia/Narrabean Sports) and redshirt freshman Javier Garcia-Tunon (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit) are slated for 4:10 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.
The sixth-speediest, women’s 4x400m is the last race of the day for FSU with a start time of 6:30 p.m.