TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Pushing through a pair of early lightning delays, which led to an adjusted college schedule, the 37th FSU Relays produced plenty of Friday highlights for the host Seminoles. Led by a largely young sprint contingent, the Seminoles secured a fistful of wins and near-certain NCAA East Preliminary qualifying spots while competing well in the quadrangular meet with Alabama, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.
“The challenge was to come in here with an adjusted schedule, short recovery in adverse conditions and try to get some positive work done,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said. “I felt like of all the collegiate teams we did the best job. We kept our focus; we did a lot of good things.”
Meme Jean kicked the collegiate action off in fine form, winning the 100-meter hurdles in the fourth-fastest time in FSU history (13.20), the first-year graduate transfer paced five Seminoles in the top eight. Melissa-Maree Farrington (13.61), Nicole Setterington (13.63), Peta-Gay Williams (13.78) and Grete Sadeiko (14.15) followed in third, fifth, seventh and eighth.
With freshmen Raheem Robinson, Darryl Haraway and Edward Clarke handling the baton through the first three legs and senior Alistair Moona fighting off a late challenge from Mississippi State, the Seminole men’s 4×100 relay flawlessly executed a 39.41 season-opening mark. That’s a standard that will certainly secure a postseason berth for the squad.
Not to be outdone by the men, the FSU women’s 4×100 relay team of Jean, Shauna Helps, Jande Pierce and Der’Renae Freeman won in an equally-impressive, season-opening time of 44.81. Freeman delivered the win, hawking down Alabama’s winner on the anchor; part of a big day by the senior best known as an All-American long jumper.
“To open the season with some really good 4×100 [relays], some real good hurdling, good sprinting and solid field event efforts – particularly on the women’s side – I was real pleased,” Braman said.
Haraway and Clarke followed up their relay contribution just minutes later with a 1-2 finish in the 100-meter dash in 10.34 and 10.36, respectively; marks that will almost certainly earn a trip to UNF for the NCAA first round in May.
Freeman used the fastest season-opening 100-meter dash of her career (11.93) to place second.
Returning senior All-American steeplechase standout Zak Seddon kept the momentum going for the men, winning the early-season 2000-meter event in a snappy 5:38.79. On the women’s side, freshman Sarah Candiano’s steeplechase debut was good enough for a third-place finish (7:45.90).
Redshirt freshman D’Mitry Charlton was fifth overall in the 400-meter hurdles (53.60), behind teammate James Rhoden (52.36), who was competing unattached.
Pierce followed up her impressive third leg on the winning 4×100 by capturing the 200-meter dash in the second-best time of her career (24.23). Jamal Pitts led the Seminole men’s 200 contingent, finishing seventh in 21.42.
Redshirt sophomore Bridget Blake kept the winning ways going for the Seminole women, winning in 4:28.33, followed by Courteney West (fifth, 4:43.61) and Madison Harris (seventh, 4:44.65). Capping the night for the distance women, Bella Poole (18:18.19) and Marianne Aguilar (18:34.72) placed fifth and sixth overall in career-best times.
Otniel Teixeira was third in the men’s 1500 (3:50.55), right behind unattached Seminole Harry Mulenga (3:48.81).