TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Riding a strong preseason of preparation, Florida State junior sprinter Shauna Helps didn’t waste any time announcing her readiness for the start of indoor competition.
Helps laid down the second-fastest collegiate 200-meter dash time in the country Saturday at the Clemson Indoor Complex, racing to a second-place finish at the Orange & Purple Invitational in 23.82. The performance earned the Jamaica native ACC Women’s Indoor Track Performer of the Week honors for the first time in her career.
“This is a great honor for Shauna,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “Right out of the blocks she wanted to establish herself as the one to beat and her Clemson performance certainly did that.
“This year the ACC schools, including ourselves, recruited several elite women’s sprinters, but the road to the top in the ACC still goes through two-time ACC Outdoor Champ Shauna Helps. I’m proud of how she’s handled that challenge. It’s great to see her reaching new heights each season.”
Helps, who has won back-to-back ACC 100-meter titles and setting the meet record last season, finished second at Clemson to post-collegian and Team USA gold medalist Joanna Atkins. She pushed Atkins through the first 170 meters of the race around the high-banked, 200-meter oval before coming up just shy of the victory.
Her time trails only Tennessee’s Shania Collins (23.45) on the national descending order list early in the indoor campaign. Helps is looking to secure one of the top 16 spots at the conclusion of the regular season and qualify for her first NCAA Championships in an individual event this season.
Several other Noles turned in top-10 national marks at the season-opening meet.
Senior Austin Droogsma turned in the best indoor season-opening shot put performance (19.06m/62-6.5) in a runner-up finish. His mark also ranks No. 2 nationally behind Ohio State’s Nicholas Demaline (19.70/64-7.75).
Fellow senior shot putter Gleneve Grange registered the No. 8 shot put mark nationally (16.16m/53-3.5) in a second-place finish, and leads all ACC performers.
Senior All-American Montel Nevers is tied for sixth nationally in the triple jump (15.28m/50-1.75), while graduate transfer Kenneth Fisher ranks seventh in the long jump (7.52m/24-8.25). Nevers leads the ACC, while Fisher ranks second among conference jumpers.
The Seminoles return to action Jan. 19-20 at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa. The two-day meet will provide a full complement of competing Noles with plenty competition as perennial nationally-ranked LSU, Arizona, Wisconsin, Kansas State and ACC rival Virginia are among the nine teams in the field.