Feb. 11, 2012
GENEVA, Ohio – Amanda Winslow collected the biggest of four victories by the Florida State women’s track & field team Saturday at the SPIRE Invitational, winning the 3,000-meter title in wire-to-wire fashion in 9:09.83.
Winslow’s new personal best eclipsed the NCAA automatic qualifying standard, assuring the Lawrenceville, Ga. native a spot in next month’s Indoor National Championship meet in Nampa, Idaho.
Winslow had plenty of company in the winner’s circle among Seminoles. Junior sprinter Marecia Pemberton, making her season debut, posted the fastest qualifying time in the 60-meter dash preliminaries and made it stand with a 7.48 in the final.
Senior Amy Harris, coming off a victory at the Razorback Invitational in the long jump, made it two in a row by sailing 6.24m (20-5.75) for the win.
“Hannah Brooks crushed everybody the last 200 meters,” Braman said. “This was supposed to be the big oversized, fast track and it wasn’t.”
The victories weren’t as prevalent on the men’s side, with freshman Stefan Brits supplying the Seminole men with their lone triumph in the long jump. Brits pulled out the win on his final attempt of the night, covering 7.11m (23-4), to win by a half-inch.
Braman said a sterile atmosphere in stands around the 300-meter oval, and a few teams pulling out of the meet, could have impacted the performances.
“A lot of our guys didn’t get pumped up and we took some whippings,” Braman said.
The long-awaited debut of All-American Maurice Mitchell did not produce the kind of results he had hoped as the senior standout settled for a third-place finish in the 200 in 21.19. He was upstaged by teammate Horatio Williams, who clocked a season-best 21.06 – the sixth-fastest time in the nation this season – to finish second.
Freshman 400-meter specialist Stephen Newbold made a huge improvement over his inaugural race of the season, posting a fourth-place finish in 47.34.
Junior cross country All-American David Forrester pared five seconds off his season-best time in the 3,000 meters, racing to a third-place finish in personal-best 7:57.93. The race came down to a four-man finish as Forrester, like Winslow, came within four seconds of the FSU indoor record held by Luke Gunn.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay team never really overcame a botched baton pass between the first and second legs, but still brought it home in a very respectable time of 3:10.37 to finish third. Mitchell, Newbold, Williams and Navarrete made up the quartet.
There were a number of other season-best performances turned in by the `Noles. Kayleigh Tyerman (16:26.69) and Jennifer Dunn (16:33.0) finished second and fourth in the 5,000 meters, while Chelsi Woodruff recorded a huge PR at 3,000 meters (9:40.54). Freshman Desmonae Gray advanced to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles in a season-best 8.66 and finished seventh, while Briana Cherry-Bronson scored a breakthrough sixth-place effort in the weight throw at 17.87m (58-7.50).
Michelle Jenije saw her two-meet win streak snapped, but still came away with a runner-up finish in the triple jump (12.99m, 42-7.50).
On the men’s side, sprinter David Ambler laid down a season-best 6.74 to finish second in the 60-meter dash. Justin Byrd also qualified for the 60-meter hurdle finals with his season’s fastest pass in 8.05.
Though there was no team scoring, the Seminoles made a strong showing in the pole vault, with Andrew Lahaye and Gonzalo Barriolhet each clearing 6.05m (16-6.75), good for fourth and fifth. Drew Marcello was ninth after going over the bar at 4.90m (16-0.75).
While there was room for improvement, Braman generally came away pleased with the Seminoles, who completed their final tune-up for the Atlantic Coast Conference meet in two weeks.
“We competed hard, got better and got ready for conference,” Braman said. “I was glad to see it, especially on the women’s side. We got wins and we got season-bests from a bunch of athletes, including all of our quarter milers.”
The Seminoles will get back to work before heading to the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston for the ACC Championships, which should be a shootout.
“It’s going to be a definite showdown between us and Virginia Tech,” Braman added. “We’ve got to put all the pieces together if we’re going to beat Virginia Tech in two weeks.”