February 13, 1998
The term “rebuilding year” defines the 1998 women’s track and field team. A talented recruiting class will be called on to replace five All-Americans and a handful of conference scorers.
“The women’s team faces the largest mass graduation of quality athletes since the national championship team in 1984,” said head coach Terry Long. “We really are rebuilding in all areas of the program, but we did bring in an outstanding group of freshmen and I think they could become one of the strongest groups we’ve had.”
In the sprints, All-American Zuzette Mullings returns in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. Tonya Carter is an NCAA qualifier (4x100m) and will compete in the same sprint events.
“Zuzette and Tonya have both sprinted well and appear to be the front-runners starting out,” said Long. “Filling in behind them will be hight school All-American Teresa Bundy, and Jennifer Mayhue and Tangela Wobbleton who will both run the 400m as well. Sophomore jumper Shelby Cannon and Tallahassee freshman Chinette Johnson will also challenge.”
Senior All-American Rikke Ronholt, an NCAA qualifier in the 400m hurdles, is the top returnee in the event. Newcomers Grianne Redmond (100m hurdles) and Fiona Norwood (400m hurdles) were top quality junior athletes in Ireland before arriving at FSU and are expected to contibute immediately. Another freshman, Philadelphia native Ayana Townsend, will compete in both hurdle events. Aysha House, Danielle Riley and Melanie Black return off redshirt years to give the Lady Seminoles a deep and talented group.
In the middle distances, Ronholt will run the 800m along with Marleena Crosby and Nicole Singleton. Sophomore Diana Hartnup joins Singleton in the 1500m along with freshman Cynthia Campbell.
“Campbell will eventually be our top 5K runner as well,” said Long. “Natalie Reid is another freshman who has adapted well after spending the fall with the cross country team and should be able to help us there.”
Mullings and Cannon return as the top jumpers and will be backed up by Terita Norton, Christa King and Johnson.
“It looks like Zuzette (Mullings) could qualify for nationals in the sprints and the jumps,” said Long. “I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if Chinette (Johnson) did also. She shows an awful lot of talent. Overall, the long and triple jumps are very solid.”
Senior Christine Daniels is the top returnee in the high jump and is expected to compete for conference honors and a spot as a NCAA qualifier. The twin sister combination of Michaela and Shannon Steele will push Daniels as they enter their sophomore seasons. Shannon also throws the javelin and is the lone returnee in that event.
The pole vault will see its first season of action in ’98 and the coaching staff will work with Lindsay Adkins and King in the new event.
With the graduation of Shannon Cook and the late transfer of Andrea Pappas, Lakeisha Mose comes back as the only thrower with any significant experience. Mose will compete in all the throws along with several untested freshmen.
“With all the losses, the women are a major rebuilding program,” said Long. “You aren’t normally going to lose a dozen athletes in a year. We will have to be a little stronger in areas we haven’t been in the past. I think the distance runners will have to pick up the slack, where in the past maybe it was the sprinters, throwers and jumpers who have picked it up. We will have some long days out there, but the talent nucleus is there for the future.”