GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Florida State track & field teams finished strong on the opening day of the NCAA East Preliminary round, qualifying five athletes to the NCAA Championship meet and moving a solid group on to quarterfinal round action.
The Seminoles’ distance runners came through in a big way to close the competition. Junior Kayleigh Tyerman and senior Michael Fout closed out the night with second-place finishes in the women’s and men’s 10,000-meter races, respectively. They will be joined in Eugene, Ore. for the June by senior Breandan O Neill, who placed 10th.
Tyerman, an Oregon native, posted the second-fastest time in Florida State history. She ran with the lead pack for the entire race and surged into the lead with two laps remaining before coming home second in 33:20.74.
Fout and O Neill found themselves in a completely different race as the race began in a downpour, which lent to a slow early pace. Fout moved toward the front early and stayed there on the way to his third consecutive NCAA Championships appearance in 29:54.22. O Neill worked his way through the pack to secure his first trip to the championship meet in 30:01.28.
Two other veterans, senior pole vaulter Andrew LaHaye and sophomore long jumper Stefan Brits, are headed back to the championship meet for a second consecutive year. LaHaye needed a third attempt to get over an early bar, but nailed his final two heights to earn a share of eighth place (5.25m/17-2.75). Brits placed sixth with a series-best effort of 7.56 meters (24-9.75).
“I’m just happy enough,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said at the end of a long opening day at the Irwin Bell Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T. “We had a good day. The men did a good job. The rookies, particularly on the women’s side, had a rough time.”
Though there were a handful of disappointments, most of the favored Seminoles moved on to the quarterfinal rounds.
Dentarius Locke eased his way through the opening round of the 100-meter dash with a third-place heat finish in 10.38. Fellow sprinters James Harris and Alonzo Russell were a bit more convincing in the 400-meter dash. Harris, the top seed, won his heat in 45.56 – the third-fastest time of the day – while Russell moved on by virtue of his third-place finish in 46.36.
Senior Darrin Gibson advanced on time in the 800 with his fourth-place heat finish in 1:50.14.
Not surprisingly, the Florida State women’s distance group more than held its own through the first round as the trio of Amanda Winslow, Linden Hall and Georgia Peel moved on to Saturday’s quarterfinal round of the 1500. Peel, a freshman, qualified with a second-place finish in a tactical first heat race in 4:24.68, while Winslow secured her spot with a third-place finish in the second heat in 4:19.41. Hall was the beneficiary of the swift second heat pace and advanced on time (4:19.70) after placing sixth.
“Coach Harvey’s girls ran really well,” Braman said. “It was a great job for her entire group.”
Freshman Sage Watson turned also moved along from the first round in the 400 hurdles, placing second in her heat from lane one in 58.21.
The Seminoles will be quite busy when action resumes Friday. Morne Moolman (men’s javelin), Hannah Acton (women’s pole vault) and Stargell Williams (men’s shot put) will try and punch tickets to the championship in the field events.
On the track, steeplechase standouts Colleen Quigley and Zak Seddon, will try and secure top-12 finishes and trips to the Oregon.
Among those returning to the track for quarterfinal action will be Harris and Russell (400), Locke (100), Gibson (800) and Watson (400 hurdles).
Anne Zagre and Tremaine Grant will compete in the opening round of the 100- and 110-meter hurdles, respectively.