June 11, 2003 - by
Batten, Johnson, Gerber Advance After Day One Of Competition At NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

June 11, 2003


The Florida State track and field team entered the 2003 Outdoor Championships at Sacramento State University with the highest number of athletes (23) to qualify for the NCAA’s since the early ’80s. With this in mind, the Seminoles were eager to go out and compete for a pair of team titles amongst the nation’s best. But the garnet and gold struggled on Wednesday advancing only three athletes through 11 events after day one of competition. Leading the way for Florida State was Laura Gerber in the 800m run, Makiba Batten in the discus and Garrett Johnson in the shot put.

Senior Laura Gerber made her way into the semi-finals of the women’s 800m run after winning the second heat in today’s qualifying round. Gerber crossed the finished line in a time of 2:07.24 and will run Thursday for the right to advance to Saturday’s final.

Senior Makiba Batten had the best showing of any Seminole on Day One of competition at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the women’s discus. Batten a 2000 All-American in the discus, finished third in her heat and fourth overall. On her first attempt of the afternoon, she established a mark of 170′ 9″ (52.05m), which was good to get her into Friday’s final. Batten set a collegiate best mark of 181′ 2″ at the FAMU Relays earlier this season. She is the school record holder in the event and entered this week’s championship as the No. 8 ranked thrower in the nation.

Freshman Garrett Johnson was the final qualifier for the Seminoles on the first day of competition in the men’s shot put. On his first attempt, Johnson won his flight by establishing the mark to beat at 60′ 11.25″ (18.57m). His throw was good for seventh overall and a place in Friday’s event final. Fellow teammate Dorian Scott did not fair too well in his attempt to qualify for the final round. Scott struggled all evening long to get a good throw off due to the shot put slipping off his neck. Moisture on his neck caused havoc for Scott in each of his three attempts to establish a competitive mark. His best throw of the evening was recorded at 54′ 11.25″ (16.74m), good for 24th place.

In the men’s long jump competition, senior Kolby Jones posted his second longest jump of the season at 24′ 8.25″ (7.52m). He finished seventh in the second flight and 19th overall to finish seven places behind the needed qualifying standard to reach the finals. In his final two meets of his collegiate career, the West Des Moines, IA native accumulated his best performances as a Seminole compiling two of his furthest jumps at the East Regional (25′ 0″) and then tonight at the NCAA Championships.

Senior Kim Jones saw her season in both the 100m hurdles and long jump come to an end after Day One of competition. In the long jump, Jones placed fifth in her flight posting a mark of 20′ 3.75″ (6.19m). She would finish in a tie for 14th overall and miss the cut into Saturday’s final by only two inches. Earlier in the day, Jones placed 21st in the 100m hurdles in a time of 13.75. On the men’s side, Danyne Brown finished 22nd in the 110m hurdles in a time of 14.15 and missed out on making the cut into the semi-finals.

Senior Jeff Atkinson, making his first NCAA Championship appearance, cleared the bar in the men’s pole vault at 16′ 4.75″ (5.00m) and finished in a tie for 16th. Brian Dzingai, who qualified for the most events (4) on this year’s Florida State team, placed 24th in the 100m in a time of 10.89. Both Atkinson and Dzingai did not qualify for the next round in their respective events.

The men’s 4x100m relay team did not compete on Wednesday evening. Sophomore sprinter Craphonso Thorpe was unable to make the trip out to Sacramento for the Seminoles due to a sore hamstring suffered two weeks ago at the NCAA East Regional Championships.

The 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships continue Thursday, June 12 with nine Seminoles competing in individual events, while both the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams will be in action. Here is a look at who will be in action on Day Two of competition in Sacramento, Calif.

Lacy Janson - pole vault
Brian Dzingai - 200m dash
Laura Gerber - 800m run (Semi-finals)
Rafeeq Curry and Willie Johnson - triple jump
Natalie Hughes - 1500m run
Latoya Legree - triple jump
Vicky Gill - 10K (Final)
Joep Tigchelaar - 10K (Final)
Women's 4x400m relay - Laura Gerber, Tamara Campbell, Evelyne Niako, Shauna Quinn
Men's 4x400m relay - Brian Dzingai, Sean Campbell, Cedrick Robinson, Joe Paiva
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