May 6, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. –
With the NCAA East Regional Track and Field Championships less than a month away on their home track, it appears that the Florida State distance duo of Luke Gunn and Mark Buckingham is going to put on quite a show.
For the second time in as many races, Gunn (Derby, England) posted the fastest 3,000m steeplechase time in the country as he ran a time of 8:31.17 to win the race at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. His personal-best mark also improves his number two time in school history as he trails only record holder Andrew Lemoncello’s 8:27.29 and is the 12th-best in the world this season.
At last year’s NCAA Championships, Gunn placed eighth with a then-best time of 8:37.30. His time of 8:31.17 would have placed third at last year’s meet. Two weeks ago he made his season debut in the event by running a time of 8:38.33 to win the ACC Championship and establish the best time in the country.
Also running his lifetime-best during the meet was Buckingham (Huddersfield, England). He dropped 11 seconds off his fastest race to take fifth in the second section of the steeplechase. His time of 8:49.23 vaulted him up to number three in Seminole lore and is in the top 15 nationally. Buckingham’s time would have qualified him for the finals of the race at the national summit.
“Both Luke and Mark had a great race and are really setting themselves up for great meet at regionals and hopefully nationals,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “They’ve really been pushing each other very hard during the outdoor season and really want to score points for the team at nationals. Luke was in the mix at last year’s NCAA meet so he knows what it takes to win a championship and he’s been so focused in his training. Mark made a big break through by breaking through that 8:50 barrier and he’s got the potential to score at the national meet.”
Florida State is back in action this weekend when it plays host to the Seminole Twilight, May 9-10, at Mike Long Track.