Feb. 28, 2014
CLEMSON, S.C. - Der'Renae Freeman won the long jump with an all-time best mark, while Pippa Woolven and Hannah Walker put a cap on a late-day surge with a 2-3 finish in the 3000-meter run. Those performances in the final hour of Friday's competition lifted the Florida State women into the lead entering the final day of the Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship meet.
With 41 points the Seminoles hold a four-point lead of Duke (37), with Maryland (33) and Miami (20) in pursuit.
Paul Madzivire claimed his second ACC indoor long jump title in three years, while teammates Jalen Ramsey and Stefan Brits placed third and fourth, providing the Seminoles with 21 points toward their 40-point total. Florida State enter Saturday's round of finals tied for second with North Carolina and trailing Duke (44).
"It feels great, especially to get a qualifying mark for nationals as well," said Madzivire, who won with a season-best leap of 7.70 meters (25-3.25). "I was extremely nervous coming into this competition. There was a lot on the line and a lot of pressure. There are so many good jumpers out there and in the ACC there's a lot of competition and anything can happen."
"This is the first meet where we actually come to and be a team. It's so great that I have two other jumpers with me and we get to encourage each other, push each other and enjoy the competition."
Madzivire edged NC State's Jonathan Addison (7.70m) with his next-best mark (7.62) settling the tie on his final attempt of the night. Ramsey grabbed bronze with a leap of 7.45 (24-5.75), with Brits (7.44/24-3) right behind him.
After not registering point on the opening day of the meet, the Seminoles got on the board with a similarly dominant performance in the high jump. Senior James Harris not only successfully defended his ACC title, but established a new championship meet record with a leap of 2.24m (7-4.25). Darius King, making his FSU debut after transferring from Indiana, placed fourth (2.18/7-1.75) and Cristobal Hurtado-Arteaga was seventh (2.07/6-9.50), providing the Seminole with 16 team points.
Markindey Sineus accounted for FSU's remaining points with a sixth-place finish in the weight throw, establishing a new personal-best (18.81m/61-8.50).
Dentarius Locke qualified for the finals in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes. The senior from Tampa rolled to the No. 1 time (6.62) in the 60 preliminary round and had the second-fastest 200 time (21.39). Sophomore Otniel Teixeira won his qualifying heat of the 800 to reach the finals in 1:52.54, while senior Jakub Zivec's first mile of the season (4:09.48) was good enough to get him into the finals as well.
Harris squeezed his way into the 400-meter dash finals as the last qualifier in 48.27.
"The field events got it done today," FSU coach Bob Braman said of the Seminole men. "It was a typical ACC meet. You had some really good positives and just when you thing everything is going your way - like any other team - you have a few bad breaks. I think the positives way out-weighed the negatives.
"We're in a good position to have a chance to win this thing tomorrow."
The same can be said of the Seminole women, who bounced back from a shaky performance on Thursday with a huge surge.
Freeman became FSU's first champion, claiming the long jump with an all-time best mark of 7.38 meters (20-11.25), which was not only good for gold, but punched her ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships as the fifth-best mark nationally. Equally important was the fifth-place finish by Maryke Brits, who registered a season-best mark of 6.07 (19-11), despite battling an injury.
Woolven and Walker put an exclamation point on the night with their 2-3 finish in the 5000. Walker set the pace through much of the race until Duke's Juliet Bottorff dashed to the front with six laps remaining. Woolven, running her first race of the meet to Walker's second, eventually over-hauled her teammate with a powerful finish over the final 800 meters. They crossed the line in 16:08.93 and 16:13.67, respectively.
The Seminoles also registered multiple scorers in the weight throw, where junior Lakitta Johnson used a career-best mark (20.10m/65-11.50) to edge teammate Briana Cherry-Bronson (20.00/65-7.50) in a 4-5 finish which netted nine points.
Marecia Pemberton enters Saturday's 60-meter dash final as the top qualifier (7.38) and senior classmate Elizabeth Ichite qualified fifth in the 400-meter dash (55.10). Anne Zagre is headed to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles as the No. 3 qualifier in 6.38.
FSU also received strong qualifying efforts by Linden Hall and Colleen Quigley, who raced their way into the final of the women's mile. Hall won her heat with the fastest time of the day (4:42.19) while Quigley comfortably advanced in 4:45.98 by finishing second in her heat.
Heading into Saturday with a chance to pull off the rare double-title sweep, the `Noles know there is still much work to be done.
"It's a very typical ACC meet and we may not know until the last races are over," Braman said.
You can keep up with the Seminoles via Twitter @FSU_Track and by following #Noles and #ACCITF, while a complete recap will be posted at www.seminoles.com.