January 30, 2020 - by
Heptathlon Trio Shakes Off Rust On Opening Day

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LUBBOCK, Texas – In their first competitions following surgery, Florida State’s Dante Newberg and David Lott really didn’t know what to expect entering Thursday’s start of the heptathlon at the Texas Tech Invitational.

That they’ll return Friday for the final three events of the competition in fifth and 11th place, respectively, with teammate Hunter Napier in 16th, is a positive sign.

Competing in his first combined event since undergoing heel surgery at the conclusion of the 2018 season, Newberg compiled 2,904 points through four events and stands fifth in the field of what began as 19 competitors. And while he didn’t post any personal-bests along the way, the fifth-year graduate student is within 144 points of his day 1 total when he went on to place third at the 2018 ACC Indoor Championships.

“I just need to keep getting healthier and get back into the swing of competing,” said Newberg, whose best event finish came in the high jump; the fourth event of the day. “I had a few good jumps to build off of in both events.”

Newberg was just 3 centimeters off his personal-best in the long jump (6.80m/22-3.75) and closed the day with a 1.91-meter clearance in the high jump (6-3.25).

Heptathlon Trio Shakes Off Rust On Opening Day

Lott also finished the day on a high note, rattling off personal-bests in each of his final three events to post a Day 1, personal-best total of 2,784 points. That total is 224 points better than his first-day score at the 2019 ACC Indoor Championships, where he eventually finished fifth.

“The main thing was just to stay healthy because I’ve been battling injuries for about a year,” Lott said. “I had surgery after last season on my patella tendon. I’m very happy with my results today…I’m just looking forward to staying healthy tonight so I can have a big day tomorrow like I did the second day of the ACCs.”

Lott posted personal-bests in the long jump (6.67m/21-10.75), shot put (12.27m/40-3.25) and high jump (1.88m/6-2) to close out the day. It was just the kind of effort he needed after an injury-riddled junior season which limited his competitions.

“The main thing was re-finding the confidence in myself,” Lott added. “…Once I got out of that 60 I was like, ‘OK, my body is not going to fall apart.’’

Napier, responding to a disappointing performance in the long jump, countered with a personal-best on his first shot put attempt (10.82m/35-6) and closed the day with his best indoor high jump mark since 2018. With 2,462 points, he’s just 12 back of his Day 1 personal-best

Heptathlon Trio Shakes Off Rust On Opening Day

“There were definitely some positives to build off of for the rest of the season,” jumps and combined events coach Keith Herston said. “It’s still early; still January. We’re a little rusty and have some kinks to work out, but with more meets, more time, more practice we’re going to be able to get everything together.

He will be looking for a little more consistency on the final day of competition, which begins with the 60-meter hurdles at 1 p.m. (CT) and is followed by the pole vault and 1,000-meter run.

“All of these guys are seniors so it’s time to execute in the competition when the stress is high and compete to the best of their ability,” Herston added. “As long as they do their best, we will be pleased.”

The balance of Friday’s action will begin with the women’s and men’s triple jump at 6 p.m., with Trentorria Green and Jacore Irving representing the Noles. Jhevaughn Matherson will make his 60-meter dash season debut in the preliminary round at 6:40 with designs on joining teammate Taylor Banks in the semifinals at 8:40.

FSU’s quartet of Trey Cunningham, Caleb Parker, Braxton Canady and Tyricke Highman earned passes to the 60-meter hurdle semifinals at 8:10 p.m.

The finals for the men’s 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash are set for 9:55 and 10:15 p.m., respectively.

You can follow the Noles throughout the weekend via Twitter @FSU_Track and check out Seminoles.com for nightly recaps.

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