IOWA CITY, Iowa – Impressive debuts by a host of newcomers and significant improvements on last week’s season-opening meet by several others carried the day for the Florida State track & field teams Friday as the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.
Freshman Eleonora Omoregie won the high jump in her debut as the two-time Italian National silver medalist introduced herself with the best mark by a Seminole in 27 years – and the No. 3 clearance all-time indoors. Less than three weeks after arriving in Tallahassee from Udine, Italy, Omoregie cleared 1.80 meters (5-10.75) to beat an FSU-heavy field.
The last Seminole to clear a higher bar was school record-holder Holly Kelly (1.84m/6-0.75) in 1990.
Omoregie’s winning height was not only good for a share of the ACC lead, but earned her a share of ninth-place nationally on the descending order list.
“Eleonora is a huge talent,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “Her 1.80 clearance would’ve been good at 1.88. She will be a force for us at Nationals.”
The Seminoles swept the top four spots in the high jump, with freshman Safia Morgan matching her personal-best (1.70) for second place.
Senior Keniel Grant provided the Seminoles with their only other win of the day, and he did it with flare, busting out his best indoor leap in three seasons on his final attempt. Grant soared 7.61 meters (24-11.75) to outdistance his freshman teammate Carlos Becker, whose collegiate debut produced a personal-best 7.38 (24-2.5).
Grant’s mark ranks 10th nationally and second in the ACC this season, with Becker fifth among conference jumpers.
“Keniel did a great job,” Braman said. “He and Coach Nobles are in total synch right now. They’re making adjustments in the 10-centimeter or less range. He has a shot at Nationals.
“Carlos was really good in his debut. He’s still learning so much in this event and that 7.38 is a top 3-4 finish at ACC’s.”
Friday’s action began with Veronika Kanuchova competing as a Seminole for the first time. The three-time Slovakian National hammer silver medalist didn’t waste any time leaving her mark in the weight throw, launching her opening attempt of the competition 17.35 meters (56-11.25), which not only stood up for a fourth-place finish, but was good enough to vault her into sixth place on FSU’s all-time list.
Sophomore Brandon Tirado made the biggest improvement among Seminoles who competing for the second consecutive week, and in the process jumped for 10th on the school’s all-time list in the weight throw into a share of fourth place.
Tirado came into the competition off a career-best mark of 17.28m (56-8.50) last week, and recorded five legal throws better, capped by his final attempt best of 18.75 meters (61-6.25). That was good for second place in the competition, a fifth-place ranking among ACC competitors and a share of the No. 4 slot on FSU’s all-time top 10, alongside Jody Lawrence.
It was a great way to start the day and the meet for the Noles.
“Brandon did a really nice job,” Braman said. “He had five personal bests and climbed the ladder to No. 4 all-time. He has a chance to be an impact ACC thrower if he keeps improving like this. Coach Scott also got a nice opener from Veronika; No. 6 all-time in her first competition with the weight is really exciting.”
The Seminoles also received scoring performances from Darryl Haraway and Jamal Pitts in the 200, as they finished fifth and sixth in 21.83 and 21.94, respectively. Kimmie Cunningham recorded a personal-best 200 (25.28) for fifth place, shaving nearly a half-second off her time from Clemson.
A full day of competition awaits the Seminoles on Saturday, where they will be playing catch-up in the team scoring. FSU’s men are in fourth place with 35.5 points, trailing host Iowa (60.5), Iowa State (47) and Northern Iowa (42). The Seminole women are also fourth with more ground to make up, closing out day one with 26 points. Iowa (65), Iowa State (55) and Northern Iowa (53) are packed together in a tight battle.
The action begins at 1 p.m. (ET) when Olympian Kellion Knibb and fellow Jamaican Gleneve Grange climb into the shot put circle. The first race on the track is 4:55, with Peta-Gay Williams making her season debut in the 60-meter hurdles alongside Nicole Setterington and Melissa-Maree Farrington.