CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Florida State sprinters Ka’Tia Seymour and Andre Ewers swept the 100- and 200-meter dash titles, and ACC Outdoor Championship Track MVP honors Saturday and the 11th-ranked Seminole women were a splash on the track and in the field at rainy Lannigan Field.
Powering through less than ideal conditions, the FSU women claimed their fifth ACC Outdoor title with the most dominating performance since the conference expanded to 15 schools. The Noles’ 134-point team total and 41.5-point margin of victory were the largest since 2014.
Cortney Jones and Shanice Love won the 100-meter hurdles and discus, respectively, as the Noles scored 99 points on the final day with the assistance of a strong supporting cast. The big finish enabled the Noles to hold off a Saturday surge from defending champion Miami, which was second with 92.5 points.
Florida State’s men finished third, trailing Virginia Tech (123 points) and Virginia (117), with 102.5 points.
“In no way did I envision that we could score this many points,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “This is an incredible accomplishment for our ladies. Ka’Tia, Cortney and Shanice are true national contenders and they simply dominated today.
“But the reason we set this record is the because of the unsung heroes like Janae Caldwell, Jayla Kirkland, Maudie Skyring and virtually all of the field event stars. They don’t get the accolades but they made this team title a reality.”
Photo: Bob ThomasSeymour, a sophomore, now owns three ACC Championship Track MVP honors in four outings. Her first outdoors was fueled by the hunger after the Noles’ narrow title defeats at the 2018 outdoor and 2019 indoor meets, both of which came at the hands of the rival Hurricanes.
“It was a great experience just watching everyone put their all into their events, doing what they needed to do to put points on the board. The long jump started us off really well and we were all really motivated from Rougui [Sow] and JoJo [Petrokaite] going 1-2. That just motivated everyone to go out there and do their part.”
The sophomore from Palatka, Fla. broke her own ACC Championship meet record in the 100-meter dash, winning in 11.14, which also broke the facility record. She capped her day by leading teammate Jayla Kirkland across the finish line in a 1-2 sweep of the 200, which sealed the team title.
Seymour is the first Nole to sweep the two sprints since Hall of Famer Tonya Carter in 2000.
“I’ve been very hungry to come back and do what I needed to do to get that double,” said Seymour, who failed to qualify for last year’s 200 final. “I’m extremely proud that my times are where they are and regionals are going to be even better.”
Photo: Bob ThomasJones matched her day-old 100-meter hurdles record of 12.72 by edging Georgia Tech’s Jeanine Williams, the defending champion, off the final hurdle. It is the first ACC title of her celebrated career.
Love was the picture of consistency from a puddled discus circle, building throughout her six throws for a successful title defense with a top mark of 58.83 meters (193-0), six meters clear of her closest competitor.
The Noles were able to overpower the field with scoring depth across 12 of Saturday’s final 13 events.
• Karimah Davis, Seymour, Jones and Kirkland teamed for a runner-up finish in the 4×100 relay in 44.02; just two-tenths off the win;
• Junior Eleonora Omoregie shared second place in the high jump;
• Maudie Skyring (4:19.99) and Jodie Judd (PB 4:21.50) placed third and sixth in the 1500, and Skyring came back on short rest to add seventh-place points in the 800;
• Junior Janae Caldwell provided one of the biggest surprises, racing to a 400-meter personal-best (53.62) for third, with Davis finishing seventh;
• Freshman Trentorria Green was equally impressive, busting out an all conditions best triple jump of 12.88 meters (42-3.25) to place sixth after entering the competition as the No. 14 seed;
• Senior Shauna Helps capped her final ACC meet with a seventh-place finish in the 200;
• Classmate Militsa Mircheva gutted out an eighth-place 5000-meter finish through illness, in a race which also produced personal-bests and likely regional marks for Judd (11th, 16:26.93) and Addi Coggins (16:30.49);
• FSU’s 4×400 relay team of junior Kimmie Cunningham, Davis, Caldwell and senior Madison Harris, added the final two points with a seventh-place finish.
Photo: Bob ThomasThe Noles men came into the final day with 34.5 points and trailed the leading host Cavaliers by 42.5 points and the Hokies by 25.5, but didn’t waste any time making a run at their 14th title. Ultimately they would come up short, but not without making some noise along the way.
“I could not ask any more from our men,” Braman said. “We came in with a projected 80-point total and in spite of injury, we broke 100. Many years that will take the trophy. Andre lifted us all and we kept dropping huge performances. Armani [Wallace], Jacore [Irving], Kyle [Fearrington], Bryand [Rincher], Jevaughn [Matherson] and Michael Timpson all fought their tails off.”
Sanjae Lawrence got the scoring started with a seventh-place discus finish, but the points piled up quickly when the sprinters hit the track. FSU’s 4×100 relay team of Bryand Rincher, Jhevaughn Matherson, Michael Timpson Jr. and Ewers rolled to victory – the first since the 2015 team won the seventh consecutive – in 39.28.
After anchoring the relay, Ewers set out to make a little history and become the first Seminole – and just the third athlete in ACC history – to win the 100 and 200 in back-to-back years.
He was tested in the 100 from Miami’s Raheem Robinson, but finally legged him down with 15 meters remaining to win in a season-best and facility-record time of 10.06, breaking the mark set by former Nole Kemar Hyman in 2012.
Photo: Bob ThomasRoughly 40 minutes later the senior standout built an insurmountable lead in the 200 coming off the curve, cruising home with his second facility record of the day in 20.31.
“It was truly special to replicate the double from 2018 in 2019,” Ewers said. “I really wanted to make history and be the first at FSU to do it, and the 4×100 was just icing on the cake…I truly dedicated the 4×1 victory to Coach Rick [Argro] since he hadn’t had a conference title. That really was for him.”
Ewers was inspired by the performance of his teammates throughout the day.
“Everybody fought hard to the end and they’re not beating themselves up,” he added. “Even though we didn’t have some of the big guns like Trey [Cunningham] and Kasaun [James], everybody stepped up.”
Chief among those rising to help the cause were triple jumpers Armani Wallace and Jacore Irving, who finished 2-3 behind NCAA leader and Field MVP Jordan Scott of Virginia.
Wallace, who had competed in just one meet this season as he battled pain in his knee, broke Rafeeq Curry’s 2006 school record with a final-round leap of 16.88 meters (55-4.75).
“Once I saw I was sensing no pain, I said to myself, ‘Let’s go for it. Let’s really go for it,’” said Wallace, who learned before the meet that his knee pain was the result of bone bruise suffered at the NCAA Indoor Championships. “After the MRI, everything went out the window, and through the grace of God I was able to do this. My faith was never shaken.”
Wallace’s record-setter was preceded by Irving’s third personal-best mark of the day, a leap of 15.84 meters (51-11.75), to secure a bronze medal to go along with his long jump silver from Friday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him, just to see how far he’s come and growing and growing,” Wallace said of the sophomore from Sneads. “Few people get better each meet, and Young Blood, Jacore Irving, he got better each meet.”
Photo: Bob ThomasIrving wasn’t the only Nole showing improvement on the big stage:
• Freshman Bryand Rincher ran his second 10.21 of the meet to finish third in the 100 and was followed by classmate Jhevaughn Matherson (5th, 10.27) and senior Michael Timpson Jr. (7th, 10.41);
• Junior Kyle Fearrington powered his way to a bronze medal in the 400-meter dash in 46.66. Freshman DaeQwan Butler was eighth.
The Noles will now get ready for the NCAA East Preliminary meet, May 23-25 at the University of North Florida.