March 27, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As several hundred athletes crowded around, Florida State Brooke Bastien turned the corner to history. With the flash bulbs lighting up Mike Long Track and Field, Bastien cleared the final hurdle in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase to finish the monumental race in first place. Her time of 11:00.67 is the seventh-best time in the nation to date, and sets a new Mike Long Track and Field record. Bastien led the pack of 21 athletes, the largest field of any 3,000m steeplechase in the history of the event.
Bastien came to Florida State in the fall of 1999 from Jacksonville University. The junior from Brooksville, Fla., made an immediate impact on the FSU cross country team. She continually contested the `Noles top runner, Amy Pleckaitis, for the top time on the team. Bastien saw increasing improvement in the cross country season, that was clearly a show of things to come from the young Seminole. In 2000, Bastien managed to claim a second-place finish at the Appalachian State Invitational before finishing the season with All-South Region Honors with a 13th-place finish. Bastien managed to improve 46 spots from her finish in the 1999 ACC Cross Country Championships finishing 14th in 2000.
Bastien’s track career has improved just as steadily as her cross country career. In 2000, Bastien ran the squad’s second-best 1500m time before collecting season-best marks in the 5000m and 3000m in last year’s FSU Relays. Bastien returned to Mike Long Track a year later to make history on the track.
“This is a very exciting time for Brooke,” FSU head cross country and distance coach Bob Braman says. “I think there are two specific things that are significant about this event. The first is the fact that this was her first steeplechase race ever. She is raw, new talent. We knew her fitness was there, but she is very new at the event. The second thing is that the most significant jump in the steeplechase is the water jump, and she has yet to run a race in which she does not scrape her knee. She’s not running that great out of the water, which simply means that she still has the ability to improve.”
The 3,000m steeplechase is traditionally a grueling race that takes a hard toll on the athlete’s body. Bastien, after winning her first steeplechase ever, will take the weekend off from the race before facing the challenge again at the Clemson Quad meet on April 7. Before that, she will undergo a strategic practice schedule.
“We train about once a week going into the water jump, it is hard to do any more because of the toll on the body,” Braman says. “We also try to train by setting up the jump in front of the long jump pit, but jumping into sand can still cause injuries. The training in practice is in collaboration with the meets that she is running in. Brooke hits the water jump seven times in every race, and by the end of the season she should have completed four races. Right now she is doing it completely on guts and technique.”
Florida State will travel to Gainesville, Fla, this weekend for the Florida Relays. Bastien is not scheduled to compete a steeplechase event, but she is scheduled to compete in the distance events.