TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Toppling a 28-year-old school record, redshirt freshman Lauri Paredes’ Florida State debut in the javelin was one of a handful of highlights for the Seminoles at Friday’s 39th running of the FSU Relays.
With her mother and aunt in the Mike Long Track stands while visiting from Paraguay, Paredes’ throw of 53.50 meters (175-6) took down Kari Keith’s 1990 mark of 53.30m; one of the oldest in the FSU record and the last one among the throws events which pre-dated sixth-year throws coach Dorian Scott’s tenure.
“You can’t ask for much more than a school record in your collegiate debut,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “She’s really going to be a special athlete over the next four years.”
Paredes’ mark was among several special performances on the day by the Noles men and women, who combined for five victories in the single-day, seven-team collegiate meet. Three of those victories produced nation-leading marks.
In all, there were six new entries to FSU’s top-10, all-time list, and even more certain NCAA postseason qualifying marks. Those are pretty healthy consolation prizes for the men’s second-place finish in the team scoring behind fourth-ranked Florida (161-113), and the women’s third-place 119.5-point total behind Southern Miss (130) and Florida (128) in a team battle which wasn’t decided until the closing 4×400 relay.
Equal to the performances on the track and in the field was the celebration of two incredible careers as Florida State retired the jerseys of eight-time NCAA champion Walter Dix and former world record-holder Kim Batten before an impressive crowd.
Hurdlers Trey Cunningham and Cortney Jones set the tone in the first track event of the afternoon. Cunningham laid down a winning time of 13.63 in his first collegiate 110-meter hurdles race, which ranks No. 4 all-time at FSU, trailing only an Olympian and a pair of national title winners.
“He’s just learning the event, and he’s able to run one of the top FSU times ever,” Braman said, referring to the 42-inch hurdles. Fellow freshman Tye Dickens was fifth in an impressive 13.98.
“Breaking 14 seconds in just his second collegiate 110-meter hurdles race is no small feat.”
Jones, racing for the first time since placing fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles, matched her lifetime-best in the 100-meter hurdles season-opener to win in 13.06. Naturally, it was the fastest opener of the sophomore’s career.
Both times are perched atop NCAA Division I.
It wasn’t the only time the Noles women seemingly rode the wave behind a men’s effort in a similar event. While the men’s 4×100 relay team of Raheem Chambers, Andre Ewers, Darryl Gay and Edward Clarke were second in a certain NCAA postseason qualifying mark (39.65), the women were just a little bit better.
FSU’s quartet of freshman Jayla Kirkland, junior Shauna Helps, Jones and freshman Ka’Tia Seymour roared to victory in 44.16, and also punched their postseason ticket.
“The women were spectacular, especially considering this is their first time together,” Braman said. “The men ran well with a patched together group and they should be nationally competitive once they get Darryl Haraway healthy and back in the lineup.”
As it turned out, Seymour and Helps were merely warming up for an even bigger performance in the 200-meter dash. On the heels of her sixth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Seymour dropped a personal-best winning time of 22.75, with Helps on her heels in her personal-best of 22.97.
“Those are amazing March times for anyone,” Braman said.
Not only do they rank 1-3 nationally, Seymour is now No. 3 on FSU’s all-time list, with Helps checking in at No. 8.
Paredes wasn’t the only Nole shining in the field events. Sophomore Shanice Love posted her second consecutive discus victory – and personal-best – leading a 1-3-5 finish by the Noles with a winning hurl of 56.52 meters (185-5). That mark ranks No. 3 nationally and all-time among Seminoles.
Ieva Zarankaite, who was third in the discus, picked up a position in the shot put when she crushed a personal-best mark (16.32m/53-6.5), which is No. 3 on FSU’s all-time list.
The Seminoles also posted quite a few postseason qualifying marks, including Kenneth Fisher (7.53m/24-8.5) and Armani Wallace (7.50/24-7.25) in the long jump, where Montel Nevers (7.34/24-1) also recorded an encouraging personal-best. Corion Knight most certainly punched his postseason ticket in the high jump (2.15m/7-0.5) with a runner-up finish.
In all, it was great start to the two-day meet, which also produced three high school meet records as well as a facility record by Florida’s Anders Eriksson (71.75m/235-4) in the hammer.
Saturday will belong solely to the high schoolers, with the action kicking off a 7:30 a.m. with the consolation 3200 races and wrapping up with the 4×400 relay at 5 p.m.
The entirety of the schedule will be streamed live by the MileSplit Network http://live3.milesplit.com/#/event/4624-fsu-relays with live results available throughout the day https://results.flotrack.org/?mid=1375.