TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A trio of Florida State ladies stole the show on the first of two days of indoor track & field competition on Saturday, at two separate meets.
Chelsea Jarvis broke her own school record in the 800 meters and Bridget Blake blasted her way onto FSU’s all-time top 10 list in the mile with an 11-second personal best. Those two performances came at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston.
Approximately 1,500 miles and one time zone away, Jogaile Petrokaite covered a lifetime-best 6.34 meters (20-9.75) on her second long jump attempt at the Tyson Invitational; good enough for the victory.
They provided the brightest fireworks on a day that produced more than a few bright spots.
“I was pleased with our focus and effort today,” FSU head coach Bob Braman, who accompanied the men’s and women’s distance groups to Boston University. “Chelsea and Bridget were spectacular. Those times easily qualified for Nationals last year. The Men’s DMR [distance medley relay] was a tactical race, but we accomplished our goal of posting a time that will put us in the fast section at ACC’s.
“The ladies stepped up nicely at Tyson. JoJo is the obvious highlight, but I like what Nicole [Setterington] and Peta-Gay [Williams] did today as well. Der’Renae’s 60-meter PB bodes well…and Grete [Sadeiko’s] strong effort sets her up nicely for her ACC Nationals bid in the pentathlon.”
On a day dominated by the Seminole women, the FSU men’s distance medley relay got the ball rolling as the quartet of Zak Seddon, Alistair Moona, Otniel Teixeira and Harry Mulenga posted the fourth-fastest time in FSU history (9:48.37) in a runner-up finish to ACC rival Syracuse (9:47.43). Those are the top two marks in the conference this season.
Moments later Jarvis stepped on the track and delivered a breakthrough performance, placing fifth overall – she was the second collegian – in 2:04.45. Not only did the sophomore native of Great Britain native break her own previous school mark (2:05.18) with the fastest 800 of her career indoors or outdoors. It moved Jarvis into 10th place on the national descending order list in the event, with the top 16 spots qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“It feels amazing and it’s definitely broken a mental barrier for me because I felt like I was stuck at 2:05 for way too long,” Jarvis said. “ACC’s are right around the corner and it has really given me a confidence boost going into that and set me up perfectly for it.
“The crazy thing is I know there is room to run faster because I made a couple of small mistakes in the race and I’m going to be sharpening up with a little bit of speed between now and ACC’s.”
Blake was next up for the Noles and the redshirt sophomore, who came into the race looking for a breakthrough, didn’t disappoint. Positioning herself well behind the early pace work from Jarvis, the Orlando native kept hammering away as the late pace quickened. When it was all done, Blake had shaved a stunning 11 seconds off her previous lifetime-best, finishing in 4:39.93 – the No. 10 time in FSU history.
“Well, I can officially say I am faster than my little brother – for now – which is the most exciting thing,” said Blake, who now owns the No. 2 time in the ACC this season and the 20th-fastest time nationally. “Other than that it’s great to see it finally come together. Based on workouts and training, we felt the fitness was there it was just a matter of doing it and being confident knowing that I could. I’m happy to know this puts me in a nice place as we will be heading into outdoor season and steeplechase before we know it.”
In final race of the night in Boston, senior Christine Griggs also carved out a spot on FSU’s all-time top 10 list, this time in the 5,000-meter run. Working patiently in a second group, the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. native shredded her previous-best time by 25 seconds, finishing in 16:53.10 for the No. 8 spot on FSU’s all-time list.
In Fayetteville, Ark. at the Randal Tyson Track Center, Petrokaite turned in an outstanding series in the women’s long jump, capped by her lifetime-best leap – indoors or outdoors – of 6.34 meters (20-9.75) for the victory.
“It felt really nice,” said Petrokaite, who narrowly edged her previous best of 6.33m when she won the 2014 Lithuania junior national championship outdoors. “I thought and felt that I could have jumped further than that, but overall I’m really excited to hit an indoor PR.”
Petrokaite, who posted three marks better than her previous season-best, moved into eighth place on FSU’s all-time indoor list. Teammate Grete Sadeiko finished seventh with a top mark of 5.91 meters.
In the men’s long jump, junior Keniel Grant made his sixth and final jump of the night count, carrying 7.41 meters (24-4.75), to finish fourth. It was a season-best standard for the Texas Tech transfer, who moved from seventh to fourth on this season’s ACC list.
There were no shortage of solid efforts on the track for the Noles as well. Freshman Shaquania Dorsett registered a season-best 400-meter dash time of 54.78 – just outside FSU’s top 10 – to place 11th. On the men’s side, senior Ricardo Roy also turned in a lifetime-best of 48.28.
FSU’s deep women’s 60-meter hurdle group had a surprise leader as junior Nicole Setterington was the lone Nole to advance to the semifinals, posting a career-best time of 8.37 in the preliminary round. That solidified her No. 6 all-time ranking for the Noles. Setterington matched her 8.37 in the semifinal round, but was unable to secure a spot in the final.
Freshman Peta-Gay Williams, who has been nursing an injury since the opening meet of the season, found her stride in the preliminary round with a season-best mark of 8.46 which gave her sole possession of the No. 10 position all-time among Noles.
A pair of freshmen men made their way out of the preliminary round of the 60-meter dash competition as Darryl Haraway advanced by winning his heat in 6.77. Edward Clarke claimed the last spot in the semifinals on time with a solid 6.81 preliminary round. Haraway advanced to the finals for the second consecutive meet with a 6.76 in the semifinals, while Clarke failed to move on when he ran 6.82.
In a show of consistency, Haraway’s 6.78 in the finals was good enough to claim seventh place.
Der’Renae Freeman, one of the nation’s top long jumpers, matched her personal-best in the 60-meter dash by running 7.56 in the preliminary round. Freeman came back later in the evening with an eighth-place finish in the invitational long jump (6.22m).
The action continues in both Arkansas and Boston on Saturday for the Seminoles. Kellion Knibb, the reigning ACC Indoor champion, will make her season debut in the shot put at 2 p.m. (ET). Sadeiko will compete in the high jump for the women as well. Ben Bonhurst and Chad DaCosta will compete in the men’s shot put, while Armani Wallace and Ashton Butler will tackle the triple jump.
Back in Boston, the FSU men take center stage. Jake Burton, Matt Magee and Teixeira get things started in the 800 meters, while Moona will tackle the open 400. Andrew Coscoran will run his first collegiate mile, while Mulenga and Seddon are entered in the evening 3,000-meter race. Grant Nykaza will close things out in the 5000.
“The men are doing a solid job but will have to step up at ACC’s and beyond,” Braman said. “Saturday will be a great chance to post some National-level performances at both meets.”
Be sure to keep tabs on the Seminoles via Twitter @FSU_Track and check back with Seminoles.com for a complete recap Saturday night.