July 12, 2008
Bydgoszcz, Poland –
When Teona Rodgers joined the Florida State track and field team in the spring they coaches knew they had added a talented runner to the team. Now they can say they have a world champion on the squad. The freshman raced to a gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the IAAF World Junior Championships on Saturday (July 12).
The World Junior Championships are open to any competitor age 20 and under.
Having won her first two preliminary races, Rodgers (Tampa, Fla.) saved her best race for last. She posted a winning time of 13.40, which is just .05 off her personal-best, to beat Jamaica’s Shermaine Williams (13.48) and Belkis Milanes of Cuba (13.49). Rodgers opened the meet with 13.53 then ran a 13.43 during the semifinals.
“This is just a tremendous accomplishment for Teona,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “She really came on at the end of the season and really surprised some people by earning All-America honors at the NCAA meet. A lot of credit has to go to (assistant coach) Jackie Richards and the hard work that she has put in with Teona. This is going to give her a lot of confidence and she’ll be a force for the next three years.”
She was just the third American female to win an individual gold medal at the meet. Richards, who works with the female sprinters, hurdles and relays at FSU, is an assistant coach for Team USA.
An at-large selection to the NCAA Championships after she earned All-Region honors at the NCAA East Regional meet, Rodgers advanced to the semifinals of the hurdles at the national summit. A 13.53 in the semis placed her in the top eight amongst American competitors and earned her All-America honors.
Rodgers is one of four current and future Seminoles competing in the meet. Fellow freshman Brittany St. Louis (Arima, Trinidad & Tobago) advanced to the semifinals of the 400m dash and would have gone on to the finals, but she was disqualified. She also ran a leg on the Trinidad 4x400m relay that posted a season-best time of 3:38.14.
Incoming freshman Danielle Jeffrey (Kingston, Jamaica) ran on the opening leg of the Jamaican 4x100m relay in the prelims that notched a time of 44.55. Freshman Kevin Williams (Kingston, Jamaica) ran a 48.42in the 400m dash and classmate Matt Leeder (Brockville, Ontario) posted a time of 3:49.57 in the 1500m run.