TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When it comes to sprints, hurdles and jumps the South traditionally produces the nation’s very best, and the 2018 indoor track & field season has been no exception.
Florida State’s men and women will be well-represented in those areas at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Friday and Saturday at Texas A&M, with nine of the Noles’ 11 qualifiers coming from those groups.
Two of the Seminole assistants largely responsible for directing those groups – director of sprints, hurdles and relays Brandon Hon, and jumps coach Keith Herston – have been recognized by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as South Region Assistant Coaches of the Year.
“It’s rare that two coaches from one program get honored like this, so I’m incredibly proud of the job our coaches have done this season,” said Florida State head coach Bob Braman, whose men and women swept the ACC Indoor Championship team titles at Clemson two weeks ago.
Hon, the South Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year, was not only instrumental in the Seminoles’ ACC success but has helped re-write FSU’s top 10 lists in the women’s sprints and hurdles events this indoor season.
Freshman Ka’Tia Seymour was named the ACC Women’s Indoor Track MVP after following her runner-up 60-meter dash to finish to freshman teammate Jayla Kirkland, with a school-record, gold medal performance in the 200-meter dash. Junior Shauna Helps, who twice broke the previous FSU record in the 200 earlier this season, was second to Seymour at the ACC meet. All three are headed to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time.
So, too is sophomore Cortney Jones, who shattered the FSU record in the 60-meter hurdles in a silver medal finish at the ACC Indoor Championships.
Hon’s sprint-hurdles group combined for 49 of the 91 points scored by the women, who claimed their first ACC title since 2014 and just the third indoor title in program history. Buoyed in large part by one of the finest sprint signing classes in three decades, the Noles returned to the USTFCCCA Top 25 for the first time since 2014 and are ranked No. 25 entering the NCAA Championships.
“Brandon has worked really hard to make our women’s sprints and hurdles program one of the best in the country,” Braman said. “I’m really pleased to see him finally get honored for his fantastic work.”
Herston, the assistant coach for jumps, multis and the pole vault, has been selected as the South Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year. He joined the FSU staff from the University of Miami this past summer, filling the void left with the retirement of legendary, 31-year assistant Dennis Nobles.
Herston’s charges were central to the men claiming their 11th ACC Indoor title and their first since 2014. Not only did his group total 50 of the Noles’ winning 111-point ACC total, three – ACC long jump champion Kenneth Fisher, long jumper Corion Knight and triple jumper Armani Wallace – will represent FSU at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Wallace was the ACC Men’s Field MVP.
“Keith has done a tremendous job,” Braman said. “He was hired just this summer and hit the ground running. He connected right away with our jumpers and he’s certainly honored the legacy of Dennis Nobles with his outstanding coaching.”
The men under Herston’s direction have authored six new FSU top-10 all-time marks this season, with 11 of his 13 athletes posting personal-best marks this season, including Dante Newberg, who placed third in the heptathlon.
They earned eight of the team’s 16 All-ACC honors, including five first-team honors, highlighted by the 1-4 sweep of the long jump (good for 29 points) which propelled the men into the lead entering the final day of the ACC Championships; a lead they never relinquished. Herston’s long jumpers and triple jumpers also lead the NCAA squad rankings, which compiles the top four marks by four individuals in each event.
FSU’s men enter the NCAA Indoor Championships ranked No. 7 nationally. The Noles returned to the Top 25 in the national rankings for the first time since 2014, when they made their last NCAA podium finish with a fourth-place showing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Florida State departs for College Station, Texas on Wednesday, where the NCAA Indoor Championships will be contested at Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium beginning Friday at 12 p.m. (CT).