April 6, 2006 - by
Hurley Clears 17-Feet, McColumn and Diakos Post Season-Best Marks at Texas Relays

April 6, 2006

Austin, Tex. – The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays has always been one of the meets that brought out the best competitors in the country. Four stepped to the stage today (Thursday, April 6, 2006), wearing Garnet and Gold, putting together some of the best performances of their careers and the season out there.

Junior Matt Hurley (Tallahassee, Fla./Chiles) cleared the highest bar of his career, vaulting 17’0.75″ (5.20m) to take second in the pole vault. With the new personal best, he betters his regional standing and moves into the top ten in his event in the nation. On the FSU all-time top ten performers list, he moves into a tie for sixth place with Jason Dean. It marks the first time since Jeff Atkinson in 2002, that a Seminole has cleared 17-feet.

“It’s a big breakthrough for him,” said associate head coach Harlis Meaders. “He’s been practicing really well and we’re excited that he was finally able to accomplish that.”

Senior LaKendra McColumn (Lithonia, Ga./Southwest Dekalb) is quietly putting together one of the most consistent seasons of her career. In each outing, including today’s 58.49, 400m hurdles performance, she has bettered her season-best en route to her target time of 57 seconds. In advancing through the preliminary race at the meet, she recorded the second fastest time in her heat and fifth speediest advancing time overall. She runs in the finals on Saturday at 12:15 pm.

“Being ranked number one in the conference and top three in the nation in addition to having done well in every meet this year, it was a good opportunity for LaKendra to get on a national stage with more pressure and against better runners,” continued Meaders. “She has proved that her consistency is going to take her to the top and her performance today will give her another chance (this weekend) to run against that high level of competition.”

Redshirt senior Andrew Diakos (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier) is also ahead of the curve, almost clearing the 200-foot mark in the hammer for the second time in his career. In the elite group of the nation’s best hammer competitors, he finished fourth with a mark of 199’4″ (60.75m), just a foot shy of his personal best. Teammate Matt Wernke (Tallahassee, Fla./Chiles) finished in the top 15, hitting 170’9″ (52.04m).

“It’s always good for our student-athletes to get to see different faces,” said Meaders. “We’re fortunate or unfortunate, depending on how you look at it, to have three of the best throwers in the nation in our conference. Andrew had his season best which puts us into the right frame of his training. I don’t think we’re peaking but we’re just being consistent. He’s obviously a better thrower this year than last year. We’ve been somewhat successful but our goal has always been to score at nationals. Getting through big meets like this and regionals helps us to get to that goal.”

More competition lies ahead tomorrow when the nation’s fastest 4x100m relay team takes the track early tomorrow morning, featuring the reigning NCAA 100m Champion Walter Dix. Fellow national title holder Garrett Johnson will throw the discus in section A during the afternoon session.

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