TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – London called Sunday and a trio of Seminole track & field stars were there to answer.
Maurice Mitchell, Kimberly Williams and Dorian Scott are headed to the 2012 London Olympic Games, nabbing spots on the United States and Jamaican teams with clutch performances in their respective events.
“It means the world to me,” said Mitchell, who finished second in the 200-meter dash finals at the US Trials in 20.14; just .01 off his wind-legal personal best. “It’s a dream come true. God is amazing I give him all the glory and couldn’t do it without him.”
Mitchell, who captured his second consecutive NCAA 200-meter title on June 8 in Des Moines, Iowa, fought off host of late-race challengers after qualifying first in Saturday’s semifinal round. The Kansas City, Mo. native finished second to Wallace Spearmon and just nipped Isiah Young (20.15) in the final event of the nine-day qualifying meet at Oregon’s Hayward Field .
“He ran his race,” said FSU Director of Sprints, Hurdles & Relays Ken Harnden, who continues to coach Mitchell. “He didn’t run the greatest turn ever, but he was tough coming home and he wanted it more than anybody else and he got it.
“This was our goal the whole time. We had a two-week peak we were trying to hit. … I truly believe his NCAA race was probably better than this one, but he got it right. This meet is not about who finishes first or second or third. It’s about who finishes in the top three, so third is first.”
Mitchell won’t be the only first-time Olympian from Florida State in London.
Williams, the most decorated women’s track & field athlete in FSU history, stamped her passport Sunday afternoon at the Jamaican National Senior Trials in Kingston. A four-time NCAA champion in the triple jump for the Seminoles matched her career best with a leap of 14.52m (47-7.75) to win her first national title.
“I feel great,” Williams said. “I’m very happy I was able to go out there and perform my PB [personal best]. It’s always been my dream to make it to the Olympics. I’ve made that dream a reality. … Now I can go to London and make my country, my family and my Seminole family proud.”
“I’ve been trying to get ready for this moment. I was a little bit nervous, a little bit anxious, but you really want to have that feeling. This is my first time in four years I’ve really felt healthy. … I’ve been listening to my body and I felt like I knew what was going on.”
“Winning your country’s national championship and making the Olympic team for your country is a great accomplishment,” said FSU jumps, pole vault and multi-event coach Dennis Nobles, who was on hand for the feat. “No one is more deserving than Kim. She has excelled in the classroom and on the track for FSU and she has moved up the ranks as a professional athlete without missing a step. Now it’s on to London and hopefully a medal.”
Williams is currently ranked 11th in the world, but is enjoying a breakout rookie season as a professional after completing her eligibility with the Seminoles in 2011.
“Three Olympians in one day – that’s pretty special,” said FSU head coach Bob Braman, who was in Eugene. “We’re starting to fill up the boat with Seminoles.”
Florida State will be well-represented at the 2012 Games. Here’s a list of former ‘Noles who have already secured spots on their respective teams:
Gonzalo Barroilhet – decathlon (Chile)
Jonathan Borlee – 400 (Belgium)
Kevin Borlee – 400 (Belgium)
Hannah England – 1500m (United Kingdom)*
Luke Gunn – 3000m steeplechase (United Kingdom)*
Lacy Janson – pole vault (United States)
Maurice Mitchell – 200m (United States)
Ciaran O Lionaird – 1500m (Ireland)
Barbara Parker – 5000m and/or 3000m steeplechase (United Kingdom)
Dorian Scott – shot put (Jamaica)
Kimberly Williams – triple jump (Jamaica)
* - awaiting expected selection from UK Athletics