Austin, TX - From Texas to California, Florida State’s promising track & field freshmen didn’t waste opportunities to leave their marks in major meet competition Friday.
Morne Moolman’s collegiate debut at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays will not soon be forgotten. The native South African unleashed a school record javelin throw of 73.83 meters (242-3), smashing the mark set 19 years ago – before he was born – by Lou Angelo.
Not only did Moolman blow past Angelo’s record of 51.28m (233-10) with his third place toss, three of his four legal throws were better than the standard set in 1979.
“He’s really talented,” FSU Director of Field Events Dennis Nobles said. “For a college debut, to set a school record and throw within two meters of his PR, you can’t beat that. Still, Morne didn’t feel like he was as technically proficient as he would have liked, and I would agree with him.”
Fellow freshmen Kellion Knibb and Zak Seddon didn’t set school records Friday, but they don’t have many people to climb over to get there, following their respective performances in the women’s discus and men’s 3000-meter steeplechase.
Knibb, Jamaica’s junior national record holder, is now No. 2 all-time for the Seminoles on the strength of her second-place throw of 53.17m (174-5) at the Texas Relays. She became just the second FSU woman to eclipse 50 meters and trails only Makiba Batten on the schools’ all-time top 10 list. Batten set the school mark of 55.22m (181-2) in 2003.
“She is such an athletic thrower,” Nobles said. “Her potential is unlimited. It’s kind of fun to watch out there because it’s still kind of hit and miss. It was kind of breezy out here and on her 53-meter throw the wind just knocked it out of the sky, or it would have been really special.”
Seddon delivered a special performance of his own on the West Coast when he dropped a 63.89 final lap to finish second in the steeplechase in 8:45.63 at the Stanford Invitational. Only school record holder Andrew Lemoncello (8:23.74) and Luke Gunn (8:28.40) have run faster for the Seminoles. Coincidentally, all three hail from Great Britain.
Two other Seminoles, senior co-captain Breandan O Neill and junior Josh Gracia, were schedule to run late-night 10,000-meter races.
Florida State’s field event performer didn’t solely own the show in Texas. Freshman Sage Watson, who qualified for the ninth and last spot in the 400-meter hurdle finals on Thursday, took full advantage of the opportunity. Despite running out of lane 1, Watson powered her way to the finish line for a fifth-place finish in 58.66.
“She handled herself very maturely,” Nobles said, after Watson completed just her second 400-meter hurdle race at the collegiate level. “For a freshman to go out there and run the race she did, out of lane 1, says a lot. She was well within herself; ran a very smooth race and had a little bit left over when she came home. She does not like to be behind and it showed.”
Strong performances were solely restricted to FSU freshmen. Junior co-captain Chelsea Whalen began a long day of competition early Friday morning with a fifth-place finish in the javelin (45.97m/150-10). She helped close the competition in the evening with a new outdoor personal-best in the shot put (15.68m/51-5.50), which was good for seventh place.
“This is just the beginning of our season,” Nobles said. “It’s very encouraging. I can’t say anything bad about the effort they have put in out her. It was a very competitive effort.”
Junior transfer James Harris will close out the Texas Relays competition for the Seminoles in the high jump, which is set for 12 p.m.