JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida State’s ladies came to play on the opening day of NCAA East Preliminary competition, cashing in on five of eight NCAA Championship qualifying opportunities Thursday.
Sophomore Lauri Paredes and senior Jogaile Petrokaite left no doubt, posting the top qualifying marks in the javelin and long jump, respectively. Paredes earned the first spot on the plane to Austin, Texas for the June 5-8 NCAA Championships with a mark of 53.99 meters (177-1).
“Lauri competed like a tiger,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “She was not happy to finish second at ACC’s and couldn’t wait to get back on the runway. That’s a quality win today and in poor javelin conditions. She’ll have that same fire when she hits Nationals.”
Petrokiate claimed her first NCAA Outdoor appearance since 2016 when she soared 6.30 meters (20-8).
Rougui Sow, who edged Petrokaite for the ACC title two weeks ago, finished fourth in the long jump to add her name to the championship travel itinerary. The graduate transfer from South Carolina will make her third consecutive appearance at the big show.
“JoJo and Rougui continued their habit of answering the challenge,” Braman said. “Those two are at their best when they’re chasing the leaders, and it helps when they’re chasing each other. They did a really fantastic job.”
Veronika Kanuchova endured some tense moments in the women’s hammer. She was in 16th place heading into her third and final attempt, but prevailed with throw of 62.90 meters (206-4), where propelled her to fifth place in the field of 48. That’s the position the Slovakian finished at the 2017 NCAA Championships, which she will have an opportunity to improve on following her clutch performance.
“That was a big-time gut check for Veronika and she passed the test,” Braman said. “I’m really proud of how she gathered herself.”
Senior Militsa Mircheva capped the opening day of qualifying by placing fourth in the 10,000-meter run. The savvy veteran was well-positioned from the opening gun and finished strong in 33:30.60; one of nine ACC runners to claim top-12 spots and the accompanying NCAA berths.
Overall, it was a solid opening day for the Noles at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.
The Seminole men had only two opportunities to secure national berths on the opening day. Senior Brandon Tirado posted the second-best hammer throw of his career (63.44m/208-2) and finished 19th; 18 spots better than his previous career best finish.
“I’m proud of Brandon,” Baman said. “His second-best throw ever just wasn’t good enough today. He’s a self-made man who’s been a great leader for us.”
The 19th-ranked men fared far better in first-round qualifying events, advancing three to Friday’s 100-meter dash quarterfinals and two to Friday’s 400-meter dash quarterfinals.
Freshman Bryand Rincher was fastest among the six 100-meter Noles, finishing third in his heat to automatically advance in 10.27. Michael Timpson was fourth in 10.30, and moves on as the fastest qualifier on time.
Senior Andre Ewers grabbed an auto spot in the quarterfinals by placing second in his heat in 10.33. Freshman Jhevaughn Matherson was the first man out, missing the finals by seven one-thousandths of a second (10.27).
“I thought Bryand and Michael ran great,” Braman said. “If they can build off this race then they’ll make it to Austin. Andre executed well and honestly didn’t try to win his heat. His composure was impressive…
“Jhevaughn was obviously a heart-breaker but he’ll get a chance to run big for us in the relay.”
Junior Kyle Fearrington and freshman DaeQwan Butler are moving on to the 400 quarterfinals as the field of 48 was cut in half. Fearrington automatically advanced as the runner-up in heat 3 in 46.82. Butler advanced on time in 46.58 after placing fifth in heat 2.
“They weren’t going to be denied,” Braman said of the two ACC finalists.
Not only did the Seminole women advance five to Austin, they are well-positioned to add to that field-event heavy group on the track.
Sharing the same heat in Thursday’s 1500-meter first round, Jodie Judd and Maudie Skyring will get a chance to add their names to NCAA list on Saturday. They advanced automatically by placing third and fourth. Controlling the race from the front of the pack, Judd (4:22.98) and Skyring (4:23.07) eased on to the quarterfinal round.
“Jodie and Maudie were in full control,” Braman said. “This was a great rehearsal for the finals where it may be tactical. They handled all the challenges really well.”
Ka’Tia Seymour cruised to a heat win the 100-meter dash (11.37) and is headed to Friday’s quarterfinals, along with teammate Jayla Kirkland (11.49), who advanced as the fastest qualifier on time.
Friday’s action begins at 12 noon with the women’s discus, where top-seeded Shanice Love will compete in the third flight.
On the track, top-seeded Cortney Jones will begin her quest for a third consecutive NCAA Championships appearance in the 100-meter hurdles at 4:30 p.m. Trey Cunningham, the No. 4 seed, will compete in the first round of the 110-meter hurdles at 5 p.m.
The meet will be streamed live by FloTrack, which requires a subscription, with Thursday’s broadcast beginning at 4:30 p.m. https://noles.co/2VzGn2y
Live results can be accessed at https://noles.co/2EhZ31b
Follow all of the action throughout the meet via Twitter @FSU_Track and Instagram @fsu_track.
A complete recap of the day will be posted to Seminoles.com.