LUBBOCK, Texas – Florida State’s indoor track & field teams capped a productive weekend at the Texas Tech Invitational Saturday. The 12th-ranked women likely secured two more NCAA Indoor Championship qualifying marks, while the top-ranked men fortified two qualifying positions in the long jump.
Junior Ka’Tia Seymour laid down the fastest 200-meter opener of her career to finish third overall, while classmate Jayla Kirkland placed fifth overall.
Competing in the fastest section which produced three of the nation’s top four times, Seymour finished third in 23.13 behind NCAA leader Anavia Battle of Ohio State (22.86) and North Carolina A&T’s Cambrea Sturgis (23.10). In the process of blasting her previous-best opening 200 – 23.39 last year at Clemson – Seymour took over the No. 4 spot nationally, and likely sealed her second trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 200 after narrowly missing a qualifying mark as sophomore.
“I feel really good, mostly because I knew that I had great training this entire fall and getting toward the [start of] the season,” Seymour said. “I knew I was going to run something pretty good. The lane [four] was tough, mostly because this track is completely different than other tracks we run on for the 200, but I’m really proud of what I’ve done.”
Kirkland was even more of a disadvantage running out of lane 3 in the second heat, but she didn’t let that phase her, charging past a field that including defending NCAA 60-meter champion Twanisha Terry of USC off the final curve, she won in 23.38 and ranks No. 8 nationally in the event.
“I feel the strongest that I’ve ever felt in my whole college career,” Kirkland said. “I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been, so I’ve been working pretty hard and having awesome workouts…
“I came out for my first race – and could have done better getting out – but I made it up in the end and felt pretty good. I’m excited for the next 200.”
All of the fireworks for the FSU men came in the seeded long jump flight and the Noles didn’t disappoint.
Junior transfer Isaac Grimes won his third consecutive event title in as many attempts this season, and did so in impressive fashion. Battling teammate Fabian Edoki for the top spot from the first round through the finals, Grimes closed the day with back-to-back, career-best 8.00 meter marks (26-3).
Though he narrowly missed picking up the Noles’ second Sports Performance Center facility record (26-5) of the weekend, he solidified his No. 2 national standing and grabbed sole possession of fourth on FSU’s all-time list.
“It was what I was looking for in my run-up and approach and it kind of came together,” Grimes said.
Edoki actually led the competition after the first round, landing a season-best mark of 7.82 meters (25-8) – the first of two on the day – setting the tone for the day and motivating Grimes.
“We practice together every day and we’re in competition at practice,” Grimes said of Edoki and Darius Clark. “We’re always going head-to-head, trying to pop something off. Then it’s, ‘OK, it’s my turn to pop something off.’”
In addition to moving into the top five on the national list, Edoki joined All-American and 2016 Olympian Stefan Brits in a share for the No. 7 spot on FSU’s all-time list.
Milers secure ACC marks at Indiana Relays
Neither Kasey Knevelbaard nor Bert Freire quite got the result they wanted in Saturday’s mile run at the Indiana Relays, though they both got what they minimally needed from their respective efforts.
Knevelbaard wasn’t able to crack the four-minute mile, but his third-place finish in the seeded race, where he was the second collegian, qualified him automatically for the ACC Indoor Championships. Knevelbaard ran 4:03.99; well off his target but still the No. 4 time in FSU history.
Freire followed a heat later with a lifetime-best of 4:07.83, a four-second improvement over his previous best, and also posted an automatic qualifying time for the conference meet.
“Kasey and Bert got their ACC marks, so that check a box for us,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “Bert had the best race of the entire group.”
Five other Noles competed in the 3000-meter run with mixed results with Jacob Holmes (8:20.69) and Silas Griffith (8:23.01) posting the best marks.
“Jacob and Silas ran personal bests, but the other three went for broke and had rough races,” Braman said. “We’ll be much better at Boston in two weeks and today’s races are just part of the process.”
Vaulters compete in Birmingham Sunday
Austin Thomas and Nick Napier will represent the FSU men, while Jazmyn Dennis, Nicole Breske and Summer Schafers the women in Sunday’s pole vault competition at the Jaguar Invitational at the Birmingham (Ala.) CrossPlex.