TALLAHASSEE – For the fourth time this season and the seventh time in his career, Florida State junior hurdler Trey Cunningham has collected ACC Track Performer of the Week honors.
At the star-studded Tiger Paw Invitational, Cunningham broke his own ACC and FSU records in the 60-meter hurdles for the second time this season, sailing across the finish in Friday’s finals in 7.51. In the process, the season-long NCAA Division I leader matched the seventh-fastest time in collegiate history, equaling the standard set by Tennessee’s Aries Merritt at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Cunningham finished second in the final, behind three-time NCAA champion and record-holder Grant Holloway, who was competing indoors as a professional for the first time. Holloway won in 7.38, wrestling the world lead from the Winfield, Ala. native, whose runner-up time is the second-fastest time in the world this year.
The top collegian in the field, Cunningham bested a field which produced four of the nation’s top seven times in the NCAA this season. Teammate Caleb Parker ran a personal-best of 7.61 in the final, which ranks third nationally this season.
Cunningham’s record run in the final followed remarkably consistent marks of 7.65 and 7.64 in the preliminary and semifinal rounds, giving him three of the six fastest times nationally this past weekend. He has produced 10 rounds of 7.65 or faster this season, including four at 7.54 or faster.
Unbeaten against collegiate competition this season, The Bowerman watch list candidate will return to action at the ACC Indoor Championships next week at Notre Dame, where he will attempt to become the first athlete to win three consecutive conference 60-meter hurdle titles. Cunningham set the conference championship meet record (7.64) last year at Virginia Tech.
Duke’s Jeff Howser is the only other man to win three ACC high hurdles titles, winning 60-yard high hurdles titles in 1968, 1969 and 1971.
Noles slip to No. 7 nationally; women fall from top-25
After a record run of four consecutive USTFCCCA No. 1 rankings, the Florida State men slipped to No. 7 in the national ratings index this week, while the women dropped out of the top-25 for the first time from the No. 18 position and currently sit at No. 29.
Both squads were impacted in a week which saw major shake-ups in both polls, in part based on performance, and also because for the first time this season only 2019 marks were considered for the rankings.
Complete USTFCCCA rankings can be found here:
Handful of Noles chasing NCAA marks this weekend
While the vast majority of the FSU men’s and women’s teams are locked into training in preparation for the Feb. 27-29 ACC Indoor Championships at Notre Dame, seven athletes will compete this weekend.
Kasey Knevelebaard and Maudie Skyring will travel to the JDL DMR Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C., where they will chase NCAA Championship qualifying marks in Saturday’s mile run. Knevelbaard is coming off a 3:59.00 mile performance this past weekend – the No. 2 time in FSU history – but is ranked 20th nationally. Skyring ran a personal-best time of 4:37.64 – No. 8 all-time among Noles – but sits in 22nd position on the national rankings list.
Only the top 16 individuals in each event advance to the March 13-14 NCAA Championship meet in Albuquerque, N.M. The 200-meter flat track at JDL provides both of them the opportunity to benefit from a scientific conversion, accounting for the disparity between racing on flat as opposed to traditional banked tracks.
For example, should Knevelbaard run the exact same time as last week at JDL on Saturday, his converted time would be 3:55.99, which would rank No. 2 nationally. Likewise, Skyring’s time would convert to 4:34.15, which would place her at No. 7 on the national list.
Bert Freire will join Knevelbaard in the men’s mile and is also entered in the 800.
Director of Field Events Dorian Scott will travel to Notre Dame, where four athletes will compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday. Milton Ingraham and Sanjae Lawrence will compete in the men’s shot put. Nadia Maffo, who currently ranks 27th nationally in the weight throw, is entered as is shot putter Amani Heaven. In addition to improving on their marks they will get acquainted with the throwing surface in advance of the ACC Championships, which will also be contested at the Loftus Sports Center.