Feb. 7, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– With Thursday’s addition of three men and one woman to its 2014 signing class, the Florida State track & field program continued to assemble a championship base for the future.
The Seminole men picked up two more signees ranked No. 1 in the United States – sprinter Mustaqeem Williams from Woodbridge (Va.) Forest Park and shot putter Ben Bonhurst of Smithtown (N.Y.) West – to go along with Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier distance standout Michael Hall.
Meanwhile, the FSU women dipped back into its rich United Kingdom pool to reel in Chelsea Jarvis from Merseyside, England, who currently ranks No. 5 nationally at 800 meters among Under-20 runners. Jarvis also excels at 1500 meters and will run compete in cross country.
“Clearly our focus was to go after young talent at the very top and that’s the most sought-after group,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “It’s difficult to go out and get the 5-stars, and boy did we do that.”
One day after landing arguably the top three sprinters in the United States – Kendal Williams, Trentavis Friday and Zyaire Clemes – the Seminole men added perhaps its most dynamic athlete in Mustaqeem Williams.
“He puts an unbelievable top on that class of four sprinters,” Braman said. “One of my coaching contacts said he is the finest track athlete to come out of Virginia in 20 years. He’s a special, special guy.”
Williams holds a share of the No. 1 ranking nationally over 200 meters for returning high schoolers with Kendal Williams. His time of 20.64 came into a -1.8 headwind. Owner of six Virginia state titles, covering the 100, 200 and long jump, he is currently the top-ranked long jumper indoors with a nation-leading mark of 24-6.
“The thing about Mustaqeem is he has kind of a Ngoni Makusha profile; the same kind of stats and skills Ngoni did at his age,” Braman added. “He’s really strong and runs the rounds very well.”
Bonhurst got a jump-start on the 2014 season when he unleashed the nation-leading shot put of 64-1 last month; nearly three feet further than his outdoor best in 2013. The reigning New York state champion, he is coached by his mother, former Penn State thrower, Haidee Ganz-Bonhurst.
“This is now the third elite thrower in the last 12 months that Dorian Scott has put in the program,” Braman said. “He’s an elite guy who is throwing as far as Garrett Johnson [former FSU NCAA champion] was as a high schooler.”
Hall rounds out the men’s group currently on board. A late-bloomer in cross country, he finished 15th at NXN National Championship meet in the fall. An outstanding athlete, Hall has really established himself on the track, where he boasts a 1600-meter personal-best of 4:09.45 in a runner-up finish at the Ohio Division I state championship meet. He has also run 1:54 for the 800.
“He’s got incredible talent; a former basketball player who is a really talented athlete,” Braman said of Hall. “What I like about Michael Hall is he’s a winner. We see him as an NCAA-level guy with elite speed and talent. He has that range to help us in track and cross country.”
Jarvis is the first signee of the class for the Florida State women and continues a long-standing tradition of outstanding middle distance stars from the UK to come to Tallahassee, the likes of Hannah England, Barbara Parker, Hannah Brooks and current Seminole Georgia Peel.
“We are thrilled to have Chelsea Jarvis joining our cross country and track & field programs,” FSU women’s cross country and distance coach Karen Harvey said. “I am particularly excited about the wealth of knowledge and passion she has for running. Chelsea has a fantastic coach in the UK who is setting her up to peak and develop as she matures in the sport. There is plenty of room for growth at FSU and beyond.”
Jarvis placed fifth at last year’s IAAF World Youth Championships in the 800 meters and boasts a personal-best of 2:05.89 at that distance. She also has best of 4:24.31 for 1500 meters and 57.7 for the 400.
FSU is expected to add more athletes to its signing class over the next couple of days.