Workmanlike Day 2 Begins, Ends With PBs
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Bracketed by a pair of personal-best performances by Dante Newberg and Catherine Blaney, Florida State closed out Friday’s action at the 50th Tennessee Relays with four runner-up finishes.
What the Seminoles lacked in aesthetically-pleasing performances they made up for with tenacity as they push through mid-season training cycles built for success in May and beyond.
“We had a few outstanding performances but most of our kids are in the mid-season grind,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We’re working our tails off to be ready for the championship meets in May and we’re just not sharp yet.”
Though he lost his first day lead early in Friday’s decathlon competition, Newberg pushed through a tender leg to post a 298-point personal-best. The sophomore from Tampa, Fla. closed his five-event day by placing first in the javelin and posting a personal-best 1500 (5:04.66) to finish second overall with 6,475 points.
“Dante has improved a ton since last year and he continues to break his lifetime-bests,” Braman said, after watching Newberg close the day on a high note.
At the opposite end of a full day of competition, Blaney busted out the fastest 5000-meter run of her career (16:55.84) to finish seventh overall and fifth among collegians. It marked the graduate transfer’s first time under 17 minutes since the 2015 indoor season when she was at USF.
“Catherine Blaney ran a really impressive race; a PR with a big finishing kick,” Braman said.
James Rhoden and Kyle Fearrington added to FSU’s silver collection, placing second in the 400 hurdles and 400-meter dash, respectively. Rhoden was well off his week-old personal-best, finishing in 53.04 while battling a headwind much of the way around the track. Fearrington won the second heat with a monster closing finish (47.72), as the freshman was just .10 off his personal-best.
For the most part, Tom Black Track yielded very few fast times or big marks amidst swirling winds and temperatures that ranged from the mid-40s early in the day and mid-50s in late afternoon.
Those winds were certainly a factor for Newberg early on, as well as Cortney Jones in the 100-meter hurdles, who finished third in 13.71; well off her No. 7 national season-best mark of 13.06.
Keniel Grant finished fourth in the men’s long jump, posting a season-best but wind-aided mark of 7.41 meters (24-3.75). Edward Clarke was sixth in the 200-meter dash, winning heat two in a season-best 21.45.
Five noteworthy Seminoles made their outdoor season-debuts in their individual events, with the meet essentially serving as a rust-buster. Such was the case for ACC indoor champions Eleonora Omoregie (high jump) and Jogaile Petrokaite (long jump), as well as Nicole Setterington (100 hurdles), who had not competed since suffering an injury which forced her from the ACC Indoor 60-meter hurdle finals. All three were competitive, with Omoregie finishing second, Petrokaite fourth and Setterington sixth.
Grad student Jake Burton ran his first 800-meter race for the Noles since last year’s NCAA East Preliminary meet in May and was also fourth. Raheem Robinson competed in the 100-meter dash for the first time since the 2016 ACC Outdoor Championships, continuing his comeback from injury.
The hope is their workmanlike results will yield greater benefits down the road.
“We’ve planned it so we can keep training hard and not have to compete next weekend,” Braman said. “The Stanford Invitational should yield some huge results.”
The Noles will get back to work here Saturday, with much of the focus on relay teams, though discus standouts Kellion Knibb, Gleneve Grange, Shanice Love and Emmanuel Onyia will compete, as will Ed’Ricus Williams in the men’s high jump.
Saturday’s action begins with the women’s discus at 10 a.m., and there will be a live stream on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app from 12-4 p.m. here http://es.pn/2n8Eeyk.
You can keep up with the Noles throughout the final day of competition via Twitter @FSU_Track, while live results (except field events) can be followed at http://www.adkinstrak.com/meet/?meet_id=672