TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Beyond being in the best shape of her still-young Florida State track & field career – a point not to be overlooked – sophomore Jogaile Petrokaite provided no early indication that her Friday night long jump performance at the Seminole Invitational might be special. Overcoming a pair of fouls on the first two attempts, the Lithuania native needed a good mark on her third attempt just to reach the finals.
Her 6.19-meter (20-3.75) effort took care of that, but what followed on her first attempt in the finals was something jumpers dream about.
Petrokaite’s fourth attempt of the competition at Mike Long Track produced the first 21-foot leap of her career, and on Tuesday, that effort was awarded with ACC Women’s Field Performer of the Week honors.
Though she would foul her final two attempts in search of even greater marks, Petrokaite’s 6.40-meter effort was good enough to take over the ACC lead this season. She now ranks No. 7 nationally on the NCAA Division I descending order list and shares the No. 6 spot all-time among Seminole long jumpers. She shares that spot with teammate Der’Renae Freeman, who previously held the top mark in the ACC this outdoor season.
Though she finished second to Rutgers’ Gabrielle Farquharson, who won with a nation-leading leap of 6.54 meters, Petrokaite defeated 19 others – collegians and professionals – to secure her spot at the NCAA East Preliminary meet. There she will be hunting a qualifying spot in a third consecutive NCAA Championship meet.
Petrokaite’s performance eclipsed her previous best of 6.33 meters (20-9.50) set in 2014.
She is the first member of the FSU women’s track & field team to earn ACC Performer of the Week honors, but the fourth Seminole overall, following Darryl Haraway, Zak Seddon and Stefan Brits over each of the past three weeks.
Seminole women climb two spots to No. 20
The FSU women’s track & field team moved up two positions to No. 20 in the USTFCCCA National Computer Rankings, which were released Monday. The Noles had spent two polls at No. 22 before using a handful of strong performances – like Petrokaite’s – to get a bump in the poll, which weighs the scoring possibility of every school at the NCAA Championships, based on individual marks of the past calendar year.
Highlighted performances by FSU athletes at home in the Seminole Invitational were not in short supply. In addition to Petrokaite, redshirt junior Kellion Knibb broke a 30-year-old Mike Long Track record, winning the discus with a mark of 57.99m (190-3). That took down the record held by Alabama’s Kathy Landry (57.68m/189-3) since 1986.
Redshirt junior men’s sprinter Jamal Pitts posted the fastest 200-meter dash of his career (20.84) to place sixth overall and third among collegians at the Seminole Invitational. Pitts was also nominated for ACC Performer of the Week honors. Freshman Shaquania Dorsett, coming off a silver medal performance at the Carifta Games in the 400, laid down her fastest collegiate mark of the season in the same event (52.67) to place second overall.
FSU freshman Veronika Kanuchova, who is competing unattached as she sits out this season, opened the competition by winning the women’s hammer with a top throw of 68.58 meters (225-0), which currently ranks No. 23 in the world.
Returning to Gainesville
A group of approximately 50 Seminoles will held to the University of Florida on Friday to compete in the Tom Jones Memorial meet at Percy Beard Track. The meet will serve as another opportunity to post ACC Championship qualifying marks as well as improve on NCAA East Preliminary rankings as the postseason nears.