TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Split between the Georgia Tech Invitational and the Virginia Challenge, the Florida State track & field teams completed their final weekend of competition in preparation for the NCAA postseason, which begins May 24.
There were a handful of promising highlights for the Seminoles from the two locations over the past two days.
One of the most impressive efforts came from senior Violah Lagat, who in roughly a two-hour span posted near back-to-back PRs in the 800 (2:04.79) and 1500 (4:15.48) at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Va. Saturday. Those times were good enough to place fourth and fifth, respectively, against impressive fields.
“I feel like I’m getting in good shape now,” Lagat said. “I’ve been running 2:04 and 4:15 … I feel like I can run under 4:15 coming out fresh and I feel like I can run under 2:04. I’m getting stronger now.”
Astrid Leutert, shortly after posting a career-best 4:21.88 in the 1500, bounced right back and knocked out the second-fastest 5000-meter time in Florida State history. Leutert finished second overall in 16:09.51; good enough to secure an NCAA Regional mark to go along with her regional standard in the 3000-meter steeplechase.
Jakub Zivec knocked nearly four seconds off his previous season-best mark in the 1500 to secure a regional berth in 3:44.65, a new career-best. David Forrester was equally impressive in just his second race of the season, trimming three seconds of his previous best to finish sixth overall in the 1500 in 3:41.44.
“We got a lot of good work in and a couple PBs,” FSU coach Bob Braman said.
Decathlete Gonzalo Barroilhet, currently ranked second nationally, was nothing short of sensational as he competed in several events at Georgia Tech. The Chilean graduate student posted a career-best of 5.45 meters (17-10.75) to win the pole vault and turned in the third-fastest 110-meter hurdle performance (13.83) of his career as well.
“What a beast,” Braman said. “Gonzalo is on top of his game right now. … Right now, other than maybe Curtis Beech, I don't know if anyone is better in the decathlon nationally.”
FSU’s sprinters also turned in some solid performances in Atlanta, with the 4x100 relay team of David Ambler, Horatio Williams, Maurice Mitchell and Stephen Newbold, winning in a track record time of 39.00. Not only is it the fourth-fastest time in the nation this season, the Seminoles did it without the services of Kemar Hyman – the nation’s second-ranked 100-meter sprinter – who competed earlier in the week in the Cayman Islands.
“I had forgot that they ran 39-flat and didn’t have Kemar,” said Braman, who was with the distance group at Virginia. “The short sprints did their usual great job, with Maurice and Horatio leading the way.”
Mitchell also won the 100 for the ‘Noles, though his 10.19 qualifying time was faster than his performance in a wind-blown final.
Long jumper Paul Madzivire, who has been nursing a hamstring strain throughout the season, put together a solid, six-jump effort in the long jump that bodes well heading in the NCAA East Regional at UNF, May 24-26. Madzivire had a best effort of 7.57m (24-10).
Among the other highlights from the weekend,
Hannah Brooks put up a regional standard in the 800 (2:04.99) and followed up with a rock-solid 4:16.80 1500, placing fifth and seventh, respectively. Aubree Worden scored a new PR in the 800 (2:09.19) and followed suit with a strong 4:19.19 in the 1500, as women’s distance coach Karen Harvey doubled most of her runners to take advantage of ideal training/racing conditions.
The Seminoles will learn early next week exactly how many of them have qualified for the NCAA East Regional meet, where the top 48 times or marks in individual events and top 24 relay squads, get a crack at qualifying for the NCAA Championships, set for June 4-6 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.