FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With Armani Wallace and Austin Droogsma securing trips to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday, Florida State’s men and women capped a productive weekend at the Razorback Invitational.
The Seminoles registered 11 personal-bests on the day – 11 for the men and 10 for the women – with Droogsma, Wallace and Shauna Helps registering top 10 marks in program history, while competing against some of the nation’s best in the 11-team meet at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Droogsma was the first to make a splash, unloading two personal-best shot put marks in his six-throw series, capped by his final attempt 19.69 meters (64-7.25). That is not only the No. 2 collegiate mark in the country, but second in Seminole history to Garrett Johnson.
“We made the corrections from Iowa and just competed decently well,” said Droogsma, who finished second to NCAA leader Denzel Comenentia of Georgia. “We had some hiccups with the technique early on, but collected ourselves for the final two throws and I put one out there. I have a solid national mark and I’ve got to get ready for conference now.”
Seemingly tormented by indoor performances that did not match his outdoor prowess in the triple jump, Wallace laid that narrative to rest. Three of his four legal marks exceeded his previous indoor best, highlighted by a monstrous 16.19 meter (53-1.5) mark, which he backed up with a 16.14 final attempt.
They are the first 16-meter marks in the career of the junior from Orlando, and it came against a field which included defending NCAA champion KeAndre Bates of Florida, and USC’s Eric Sloan, further sweetening the accomplishment.
“It definitely does,” said Wallace, who finished third, but now ranks No. 4 nationally. “I see myself as a great jumper overall…To be up there with those guys and know what they have done is just icing on the cake.”
As an encore to her blistering personal-best and likely NCAA-clinching 200-meter performance Friday night, Helps advanced to the 60-meter dash finals with a personal-best time of 7.36, then lowered it to 7.33 as she raced to a sixth-place finish in the final.
“Her strength is phenomenal right now and she’ll qualify in the 60 once she sharpens up,” FSU coach said of Helps, who moved up a spot to No. 6 on FSU’s top 10 list after her first 60-meter competition of the season.
Of course Helps met the ACC Championships qualifying standard in the event; one of 10 Seminoles – split evenly between the men and women – to do so Saturday.
Others turning in ACC qualifying performances were:
Among the other highlights on the day, freshman Tye Dickens took over the No. 10 spot on the all-time 60-meter hurdles top 10 list, placing eighth in the final after qualifying with a personal-best time of 8.04.
Junior Dante Newberg capped off a laborious two-day heptathlon with a personal-best total of 5,198 points to place fourth, while sophomore Hunter Napier was seventh and improved his lifetime-best to 4,129 points after posting personal-bests in five of seven events.
Freshman Caleb Pottorff finished fourth in a tactical 3000-meter invitational field, carving out a huge personal-best (8:17.40) which is just off the ACC standard.
On the women’s side, Gleneve Grange placed second in the shot put (15.95m), while Madison Harris’ season-best 800 (2:10.33) was good for a seventh-place finish. Sophomores Janae Caldwell (56.04) and Kimmie Cunningham (56.56) recorded massive personal-best in the 400-meter dash.
Overall, the men and women performed at a highly competitive level against quality competition. The No. 23 men placed sixth in the team scoring, in front of No. 13 USC and No. 7 Arkansas, while the unranked women finished eighth but edged No. 5 Florida and No. 22 Iowa State.
“On the men’s side I was pleased that we beat so many ranked teams, especially with Andre [Ewers], Trey [Cunningham] and Darryl [Haraway] at home,” Braman said. “The guys are in a pretty good position right now with a full four weeks until ACC’s and six weeks till nationals.
“The women upped their ACC game this weekend and of course Shauna gave us a huge weekend.”