TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Beginning the day in celebration of their careers winding to a close, Florida State’s track & field teams spent the rest of Saturday building for the fast-approaching postseason.
While the opening day of the Seminole Invitational saw records and personal-bests piling up at a rapid rate, there were far fewer heroics from coach Bob Braman’s squad as the two-day meet came to a close.
Still, a closer examination of the performances were revealing as the Seminoles begin the building phase toward the May 13-15 ACC Championships, which will mark the next time the team competes at Mike Long Track.
“I think we’re a little bit of a tired team right now,” Braman said, assessing the weekend. “We’ve got a lot of hard work going on right now, which is what you want to do, but between now and the ACC Championship we’re going to need some more breakouts.”
Certainly the Noles were not without their share of shining moments, not the least of which was redshirt junior Jamal Pitts stealing the spotlight from his more heralded freshman teammates in the 200-meter dash. Pitts’ lifetime-best 20.84 was good for sixth overall – third among collegians – and assures him a spot in the NCAA postseason for the first time in his career.
On the women’s side, freshman Shauna Pitts’ collegiate debut produced a solid 11.63, good for third behind the Tennessee tandem of Kali Davis-White and Felicia Brown. Classmate Shaquania Dorsett’s collegiate-best 52.67 400-meter dash was even better in the finishing order, placing second overall in a heat producing four sub-53 performances.
While the Seminole women were producing a 2-3-4 finish in the 100-meter hurdles – Meme Jean (13.40), Nicole Setterington (13.53) and Peta-Gay Williams (13.58) – their times were not what they were hoping to produce.
Likewise, a fourth-place finish in the 4x100 relay – albeit with two subs – was solid, but not quite up to the standards they were shooting for against a quality field.
“We’ve got to get a little bit more healthy to knock some things out,” said Braman, whose team will compete next at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville on Friday. Trips to the Penn Relays and Stanford will follow as the fine-tuning begins for the postseason.
Among the other encouraging performances was freshman Andrew Coscoran’s personal-best in the 1500 (3:45.75), finishing fourth overall, but as the top collegian in a strong field. Teammate Max del Monte also came through with a personal-best (3:51.76) to place ninth; fourth among collegians.
Junior Cayman Ellis’ 4.77-meter (15-7.75) was his best mark in two seasons, and Armani Wallace back up a triple jump personal best from a week ago with a solid 15.21m (49-11).
“Coscoran had a two-second personal-best in the 1500; a true freshman running pretty stout in a very good field. He took it on and tried to run the race,” Braman said. “We saw some steps forward from Cayman in the pole vault. Some consistency from Armani in the triple jump.”
One of the more promising developments came in the fourth-place finish by the 4x400 relay team of Ricardo Roy, Jake Burton, Otniel Teixeira and Alistair Moona in 3:10.49.
“One of our focuses was to run a really strong 4x4 and our 800 guys [Burton and Teixeira] continue to impress and are excited to be a part of it,” Braman said. “I think we can run 3:08, with each of the guys running a half-second fast…We might need to run 3:08 to challenge for an ACC title or an upper echelon finish.”
And therein lies the focus moving forward for a men’s team gunning for a fourth consecutive outdoor team title and a women’s team eager to return to the top of the podium as they were in 2014.
Farrington Wins Charlotte Heptathlon
Completing her first heptathlon competition in two years, junior transfer Melissa-Maree Farrington also came away with a victory Saturday at the Charlotte Invitational.
Following up a solid Friday with victories in all three Saturday events, Farrington ran away for the individual title with a 5,335-point total. The Australia native was first in the long jump (5.87m), javelin (36.68) and 800 (2:34.03), capping an overall effort which saw her place first in six of seven events.
Brits Third at South African Championships
Stefan Brits’ encore to the No. 2 long jump in the nation last week at UCLA was a third-place finish at the South African National Championship meet on Saturday.
After flying halfway around the globe, the Cape Town native posted a top mark of 7.80 meters (25-7.25) in a competition that assured him consideration for his country’s Olympic team later this summer in Rio.