EUGENE, Ore. – Zak Seddon’s steeplechase race plan for Friday’s final was rock solid, and his execution was nearly flawless.
Through the first six-plus laps the Florida State senior and Louisville’s Edwin Kibichiy led the field – minus one – around the track at Historic Hayward Field. With Michigan’s Mason Ferlic running unchallenged away from the field, Seddon was poised to finish on the podium for a second consecutive year.
Seddon was unable to match big last-lap moves by Arkansas’ Frankline Tonui, Kibichiy and Oklahoma’s Dylan Blankenbaker, and was clipped by Georgetown’s Darren Fahy in the home stretch. Finishing sixth in 8:38.26, Seddon improved two spots on his 2015 NCAA Championships finish.
“Mason today was the best athlete in the field; you can’t disagree with that,” Seddon said. “The rest of us were left to run for it. We all put in great efforts and I believe everyone today ran as hard as they could and the positions are deserved because it was a very true run race.”
Ferlic won in 8:27.16, followed by Tonui (8:30.67), Kibichiy (8:30.71), Blankenbaker (8:34.69) and Fahy (8:36.73).
“I thought Zak ran an absolutely perfect race through 6 ½ laps,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said. “The plan was for him to shadow his buddy Kibichiy and he did exactly that, but Ed made a move at the bell and Zak missed the moved.
“Back-to-back first-team All-American honors is pretty special.”
Special indeed. Seddon joins fellow United Kingdom former Noles, Andrew Lemoncello (2005-07) and Luke Gunn (2007-08) as the only multi-time first-team All-Americans in the steeplechase in program history.
In the immediate aftermath, Seddon was still searching for answers to ways he may have bettered his finish.
“You know with 500 to go I was in good position,” Seddon said. “I could have been braver and gone with 450 to go. Maybe that changes the result, but I can’t be disappointed. I beat last year’s finish and I believe I arrived here in my best shape. I have no regrets. I was up against great competition.”
His three-point total for the team also assured that the Seminole men came away with points at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for a 16th consecutive year, tying for 64th.
The Seminole women will head into the final day of competition looking for their first points.
Grete Sadeiko stands 16th entering the three-event, final day of heptathlon competition with 3,306 points, just 213 out of eighth place.
After opening with a solid 14.06 showing in the 100-meter hurdles, which was 16thin the field of 24, Sadeiko’s podium hopes took a hit when she cleared only 1.63 meters (5-4.25) in the high jump, which dropped her back to 18th-place in the field.
The redshirt junior from Estonia, who placed 15th a year ago, rebounded with a season-best shot put performance. Her third-attempt mark of 12.31 meters (40-4.75) was good for 682 points. After a lengthy break in the schedule she closed the opening day by running 25.04 for 200 meters, piling up 883 points.
“Grete has done a great job of fighting back from her high jump setback,” Braman said. “Her other three events have been season-bests or very close to them. With her best two events tomorrow [long jump and javelin], she’s got a shot to score.”
Sadeiko will return to action Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) with the long jump. Her Seminole teammates, Kellion Knibb and Sasha-Ann Lebert, will compete in the discus final set for 6:05 p.m.
You can follow Seminoles Sadeiko, Knibb and Lebert via Twitter @FSU_Track, or live on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. (ET).