Jan. 22, 2012
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Senior Kemar Hyman has spent the vast majority of his Florida State track & field career on the edge of the spotlight that has shined brightest on sprint teammates Maurice Mitchell and Ngoni Makusha.
Saturday afternoon at the Auburn Invitational, the Cayman Island native took center stage in the middle of the bright light. After shaving one-tenth of a second off his personal-best time in a preliminary heat of the 60-meter dash, Hyman tapped into his hyper light-speed powers in the final.
Chasing Auburn's Harry Adams out of the starting blocks, Hyman nearly pulled off the comeback. Instead he happily accepted his runner-up time of 6.56, which earned him an automatic berth to the NCAA Indoor Championship, but put him in elite company.
Hyman equaled his country's national record in the 60-meter dash, which had been held alone by Kareem Streete-Thompson since 2004. Ironically, Streete-Thompson was a volunteer assistant coach for the Seminoles last season. Hyman also came within .01 of matching Mitchell's Florida State school mark.
"I just wanted to compete; I raced to win," said Hyman, who earned All-American honors last season outdoors when he led off Florida State's NCAA championship 4x100-meter relay team.
While Adams held on for the win, Hyman posted the second-fastest 60-meter time in the world this year, behind the winning 6.55 mark.
"Hyman was definitely the highlight of the competition with his 6.56 - a fantastic time," FSU associate head coach Harlis Meaders said.
There were other impressive efforts in what was essentially the first indoor track meet of the season for the Florida State runners. Not surprisingly, the Karen Harvey-coached women's distance team was once again leading the charge. FSU placed three freshmen in the top seven of the women's one mile run, paced by the 1-2 finish of Colleen Quigley (4:47.16) and Aubree Worden (4:49.17), both of whom shattered previous career bests. Fellow frosh Linden Hall was seventh (4:51.91)
While Harvey's youngsters were assigned the shorter distance, her veterans certainly demonstrated their moxie in the 3,000 meters. Hammering out lap-after-lap at the targeted pace, Hannah Brooks (9:20.11) and Amanda Winslow (9:20.83) led a 1-2-3 Seminole charge with Violah Lagat (9:22.57) kicking it home around the final lap.
"The second competition of the year was a move in the right direction," Meaders said. "We had almost a complete entourage of athletes out competing. We saw a lot of positive things.
"We had people in field events step up and have performances that we think will lead to points at the conference championship. We'll take a week and go up to Arkansas next week, bring out some more of the top-level kids to make their season debut, and continue to make progress toward the [ACC] championship meet."
The FSU women received scoring contributions in three field events, led by sophomore Chelsea Whalen's person-best 15.02m (49-3 ½) effort in the shot put, which was good enough for sixth place.
"Chelsea was fantastic," Meaders said. "After a very rough start in the prelims she bounced back and performed at a level we knew she was capable of doing. Fifteen meters was a mark we knew we could hit. I didn't know if we were ready to hit it this soon in the season, but it just shows her tenacity and ability to compete under pressure."
There were a few more highlights on the men's side, including outstanding preliminary efforts in the 60m hurdles by Tremaine Grant (7.94) and Justin Byrd (8.15); both personal records. Unfortunately, they were unable to back up their times in the finals, with Byrd finishing fifth and Grant seventh.
Junior Darrin Gibson ran wisely through the first three laps of the 800-meter race, then put on a strong finishing surge that nearly stole the race, finishing second in 1:52.54. That was just .25 off the victory.
Redshirt freshman Markindey Sineus actually put the Seminoles on the scoreboard first on Friday night with his sixth-place finish in the weight throw (17.59m, 57-8 ½). Sineus' first collegiate competition in the weight throw as a Seminole bodes well for a potential point-producing effort at the ACC Championships.