Tallahassee, FL - A school record and a dozen personal-best performances on the final day of the Seminole Invitational provided the Florida State men’s and women’s track & field teams with momentum heading into next week’s ACC Championship meet.
“The thing that we look for the week before the conference meet is that the athletes are locked-in, zoned-in, competing hard and ready to get to that meet,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said. “They’re ready. I think our mental focus was really good.”
Junior Chelsea Whalen’s quest for the school record in the shot put ended with a breakthrough mark Saturday at Mike Long Track, when she uncorked a throw of 16.23 meters (53-3). The winning throw pushed her past Allyn Laughlin’s four-year-old school standard (16.17m/53-0.75) and came one week after she moved into a tie for second place on FSU’s all-time list with a throw of 16.15 at the Florida Relays.
The Seminoles accomplished quite a few of their goals over the two-day meet. The men’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams put together performances worthy of getting into the fast heats at next week’s ACC Championship meet in Raleigh, N.C., winning in 40.14 and 3:08.24, respectively.
As an added bonus, the FSU women’s 4x400 team capped the day with what the coaching staff believes is the fastest time by a Seminole quartet in four seasons, winning in 3:38.42.
Individually, there was no shortage of highlights. Freshman Georgia Peel and sophomore Colleen Quigley rolled to a 1-2 finish in the 1500-meter run in 4:14.40 and 4:15.65. Those marks not only rank seventh and eighth in school history, but currently rank second and third, nationally. Sophomore Linden Hall was fifth in a lifetime-best 4:21.68., which should stand as an NCAA East Preliminary qualifying mark.
Saturday opened with sophomore Markindey Sineus registering the best hammer throw of his career – 59.07 meters (193-9) – which moved him into fifth on FSU’s all-time list and gave the Seminoles the first of 10 wins on the day.
Junior Marecia Pemberton continued her comeback season with a season-best winning time of 11.64 in the 100-meter dash.
Tallahassee native and FSU junior Elizabeth Ichite led a 1-2 finish by the Seminoles in the 400-meter dash, winning in a career-best time of 53.14. FSU freshman Sage Watson chased her across the finish line with a season-best time of 53.54. Ichite and Watson also teamed with Sarah Chandler and anchor Marsha Ariol on the winning 4x400 relay.
On the men’s side, freshman Zak Seddon pulled away on the final lap to capture the 1500-meter run in a solid time of 3:48.03. The men’s makeshift 4x100 relay team of David Ambler, Dentarius Locke, Andrew LaHaye and James Harris secured the ‘Noles a spot in the fast heat of the ACC Championship meet with a winning time of 40.14. It marked the first time in three attempts this season that FSU was able to get the stick around the track this season.
Locke and Harris were joined by Alonzo Russell and Darrin Gibson on the winning 4x400 relay team.
A pair of Seminoles competing as unattached athletes – Josh Mance and Jake Burton – added to the victory total. Mance was the runaway winning in the 400-meter dash in a season-best 45.43, while Burton claimed the 800 in a lifetime-best mark of 1:50.07.
Beyond the wins, the ‘Noles also received season-best marks from a pair of freshman women. Hannah Acton was the runner-up in the pole vault (3.90m/12-9.50), while Kellion Knibb placed third in the shot put with a lifetime-best (15.10m/49-6.50).
“Whalen was big. Georgia Peel had the No. 3 or No. 4 performance in the country,” Braman said. “That was big-time for Markindey. I want to give him a shout-out. The 4x400 ran 3:08 low and the 4x100 got in the fast heat at the ACC meet. The women’s 4x400 ran 3:38. And Elizabeth (Ichite) was big-time. She almost cracked into 52s. …
“Yesterday the field events were big. Today, the running events – that middle distance group from 400-800-1500 – was on fire. It was a good day. This Monday looks a lot brighter than last Monday.”