TAMPA, Fla. – Capping a day of record-setting and championship qualifying, junior Militsa Mircheva’s 10th-place finish in the 10,000-meter run delivered Florida State’s fifth spot at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The native Bulgarian will be making her first NCAA Championship appearance after finishing the lengthy day’s NCAA East Preliminary nightcap in 34:16.36; one of seven ACC runners to secure a top-12 finish and a trip to Eugene, Ore. and Historic Hayward Field for the June 6-9 finale.
“Militsa ran an incredibly tough race,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “That was a tough field and she had to fight like crazy. I’m really proud of her.”
Mircheva will be joined by three of her FSU women’s teammates – Lauri Paredes, Gleneve Grange and Ieva Zarankaite – and Kenneth Fisher from the men’s squad.
“I thought we had a really good first day,” Braman said. “The 100-meter athletes were really on their game and field events went almost as good as we could expect”
In addition to those securing NCAA Championship spots, freshman Ka’Tia Seymour broke Michelle Finn’s 32-year-old Florida State record in the 100-meter dash, racing her way into the finals in 11.13 to shatter the 11.20 mark set by the USA Olympic relay gold medalist.
She will be joined in Friday’s 100-meter quarterfinals by freshman teammate Jayla Kirkland (11.34) and junior Shauna Helps (11.44).
Andre Ewers and Darryl Haraway got the momentum going in the men’s 100, advancing to make it a perfect 5-for-5 among Noles short sprinters heading to the quarterfinal round. Ewers didn’t come away with an FSU record, but the junior did lay down the fastest time from the field of 48, cruising across the line in a wind-legal and new personal-best of 10.08. Haraway, a junior competing in the 100 at the NCAA East meet for the first time, joins him with a qualifying time of 10.33.
“The highlight of the day was Ka’Tia’s school record,” Braman said. “Michelle Finn was as good as we’ve ever had and Ka’Tia has taken that record in her first season.”
Paredes, another freshman, wasted no time securing the first NCAA berth of the day for the Noles in the javelin. The Paraguayan’s opening throw of 53.33 meters (174-11) stood as the fourth-best mark of the day, an upgrade of two spots for the No. 6 seed.
Fisher, a graduate transfer from Bethune-Cookman, touched down with an opening men’s long jump mark of 7.72 meters (25-4), which stood up as the eighth-best mark in the field. An indoor All-American in his first year for the Noles, he will try and pair an outdoor honor with that feat. He will be making his first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships since going back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.
Florida State’s shot put duo of Grange and Zarankaite took completely different tracks to landing spots in Eugene. Grange, a senior, unloaded an opening round throw of 16.85 meters (55-3.5) to settle the issue early. Zarankaite, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma State, needed a third-round mark of 16.09 meters – and an 18-centimeter advantage on a tie-breaker – to seal the 12th and final qualifying spot.
Both Grange and Zarankaite, NCAA Outdoor qualifiers last year in the discus, will be making their first appearances at the final site in the shot put.
“Kenneth Fisher was really clutch and left no doubt about qualifying,” Braman said. “Gleneve also was on her game, as she always is, but Ieva had to gut out a pressure-packed third throw and grabbed the last spot to Nationals. Laurie put together a strong first throw and that’s all it took.”
Were it not for a pair of long jump fouls by Corion Knight, which denied the fourth-seeded senior from Wakulla High a spot in the top-12, the opening day of competition at the USF Track & Field Stadium would have virtually followed the form chart.
Among others who competed but did not advance were Brandon Tirado (58.89m/193-2) in the men’s hammer, Maudie Skyring in the 1500 (4:29.31) and Kyle Fearrington in the 400 (48.07). Graduate student Stanley Linton finished 30th in the men’s 10,000-meter run (30:38.34), while redshirt freshman Steven Cross dropped out just short of the halfway mark.
“We need another strong day tomorrow if we’re going to be in the position we want to be in at Nationals,” Braman said. “There are no do-overs anymore.”
The Seminoles will face another busy day with an adjusted schedule, due to the inclement weather expected in the area.
Austin Droogsma and Noah Agwu will kick things off in the men’s discus at 8:45 a.m., looking to add their names to the list of Noles headed west with top-12 finishes. Sophomore Nicole Breske will make her second consecutive NCAA East appearance in the women’s pole vault at 9:30 a.m.
On the track, freshmen Trey Cunningham and Tyricke Dickens will compete in the first round of the 110-meter hurdles at 12 p.m., followed by sophomore Cortney Jones in the 100-meter hurdles at 12:30.
Top-seeded Shanice Love will try and continue the momentum of the women’s throws group when the discus begins at 1:15 p.m., with Zarankaite and Grange also looking to added a second event to their championship schedules.
Ewers and Haraway will follow at 1:30 p.m. in the men’s 100-meter quarterfinals, followed by the women’s sprint trio of Seymour, Kirkland and Helps at 1:45.
Ewers will be back on the track for the first round of 200-meter dash qualifying at 3 p.m. He is the No. 1 seed in the field, while redshirt junior Michael Hall will chase his first NCAA Championships appearance in the 8 p.m. steeplechase quarterfinal.
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Flotrack will offer a live stream to subscribers throughout the three-day meet, which can be accessed here: http://live.flotrack.org/#/event/6035-2018-di-ncaa-east-preliminary-round