CLEMSON, S.C. – There was cause for excitement when senior transfer Caleb Parker posted the sixth and final personal-best performance by the top-ranked Florida State men’s indoor track & field team Saturday at the Bob Pollock Invitational.
Parker, who is ranked second nationally in the 60-meter hurdles behind teammate Trey Cunningham, also appears to be a scoring threat in the high jump. In his season debut in the event the former Southern Miss standout soared to an indoor personal-best of 2.20 meters (7-2.5), which is tied for the seventh-best mark nationally.
“Caleb has emerged as a national scorer in the high jump and that’s huge for our title chase,” FSU coach Bob Braman said.
Dueling head-to-head with Georgia’s Darius Carbin – ranked third nationally – Parker cleared 2.20 on his final attempt, forcing the Bulldog to match him. Carbin did on his final attempt, then sailed over 2.23 (7-3.75) on his first attempt to seal the win.
While the 11th-ranked Seminole women added four personal-best marks on the day, their first 4×400 competition of the season produced the only other mark of national significance. FSU’s team of Janae Caldwell, Ka’Tia Seymour, Kimmie Cunningham and Karimah Davis ran 3:37.66, finishing second behind Georgia (3:36.07).
The fastest time by an FSU quartet since 2015 stands seventh on the Noles’ all-time list, but more importantly ranks fifth nationally.
“The ladies did a nice job,” Braman said. “We wanted to run fast enough to make the fast heat at ACC’s and that will easily do it.”
Senior Nadia Maffo put herself on the fringe of an NCAA Championship qualifying mark with a new personal best in the weight throw. The Italian national athlete unleashed a sixth-round throw of 20.47 meters (67-2), which stands 19th on the NCAA descending order list. She ranks third all-time in the event in school history.
She finished second to Auburn’s Madi Malone (21.46m/70-5), who ranks sixth nationally.
“It was great to see Nadia PB,” Braman said. “She’s moved into the top four in the ACC now and making nationals becomes a possibility.”
One of the days’ three new entries on FSU’s indoor top-10 list – the Noles produced eight on Clemson’s track over two days – it was also one of four runner-up finishes on the day.
Adding to that list was freshman Gabe Curtis, who made his Florida State debut with a poised performance in the 3000-meter run. Curtis, who redshirted during the cross country season, ran with the leaders from the gun and led three laps late in the race. He finished his first-ever indoor competition in 8:31.59 for second behind Wake Forest’s Jo Martinez de Pinillos (8:29.31).
“I loved Gabe’s debut,” Braman said. “He crushed his high school best and looked strong doing it. Not too many freshman take the lead in their career debut.”
The Seminole men posted three personal-bests in the pole vault as Austin Thompson (4.80m/15-9) and Nick Napier (4.65/15-3) placed fifth and 10th against a strong field. Combined even athlete Hunter Napier (4.35m/14-3.25) joined the duo in the PB department.
“Austin and Nick did a great job,” Braman said. “They’ve placed themselves into ACC scoring position, with over a month to improve.”
They currently rank eighth and 10th in the conference, respectively.
Rounding out the personal-best performances on the final day of competition were Ella Swigler and Sarah Myers, who ran 9:53.83 and 10:28.24, in the 3000-meter run, respectively.