April 17, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- It's never bad to be in front, even if it's early.
That's where the Florida State men's and women's track & field teams stand Thursday night after the first of three days of competition at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
The Seminoles - men and women - used big finishes Thursday in the final two events, the long jump and 10,000-meter run, to seize the team leads in the 15-team meet at Belk Track and Fetzer Field on the North Carolina campus.
Florida State's women tallied 24 points and are 11 clear of second place NC State. Virginia Tech (12), Miami and Duke (10, each) follow.
The Seminole men rolled up 28 points on the opening day, seven clear of second place Syracuse (21), with NC State (18), Notre Dame (15) and Virginia Tech (14) in pursuit.
"Normally we're a Saturday team - a final day team - and most of our points come out of that," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "For us to come out of the blocks I was really, really pleased. There's no question our kids were really well prepared and excited to compete. We had a really good day. We didn't miss too many things."
Der'Renae Freeman literally leaped from fourth to first place on her final long jump attempt, claiming the title with a winning effort of 6.34 meters (20-9.75).
"To be honest I think this was the first time I've ever won on my final attempt," said Freeman, a sophomore from Winter Garden, Fla. "I felt like today was my day. I was on the board in prelims, but I was off the board in finals. I didn't freak out. I maintained my composure and said a quick prayer. ... I'm just filled with joy right now."
Shortly after Freeman made her gold medal-winning jump, Hannah Walker took to the track as the Seminoles lone entrant in the 10,000.
Setting the pace from the start and battling Duke's Juliet Bottorff stride-for-stride until the final lap, Walker finished second in 32:56.90, which was fast enough to break the ACC Championship meet record and move into second place on FSU's all-time list.
Glen Yarham followed Walker onto the track for the men's 10,000, quickly establishing himself as a threat in his ACC Championships debut. The native Australian spent nearly the entire race running in the top three and came home third with a new a new personal-best time of 29:15.53, which ranks No. 8 all-time among Seminoles.
Yarham's capper closed out a day when the Seminoles netted a pair of second-place and a pair of third-place finishes in three completed events. Junior Markindey Sineus got things started with a silver medal performance in the hammer, scoring with a mark of 59.26 meters (194-5).
One of the best battles of the day came in the men's long jump where FSU's Paul Madzivire and Jalen Ramsey each recorded marks of 7.62 meters (25-0), as did NC State's Jonathan Addison. Each competitors' second-best jump was used to break the tie, leading Addison to victory by one centimeter over Madzivire, with Ramsey third by just four centimeters.
"When your premium in this conference is on high scoring, because that's how you win this meet, you need to get those top-three finishes and you have to have a bunch of them," Braman said, assessing the first day of competition. "We qualified really well and competed really well, and we're only a couple of centimeters away from being even four points better. If you look across the board, a lot of teams that are chasing on the men's side, had a pothole or two that they hit. ... For the most part we managed to avoid the big miss, which is important to do on Friday and Saturday."
FSU's women also performed well in the qualifying rounds of the 200 and 1500. Anne Zagre advanced to the finals by winning her 200 heat in 23.80, while Kali Davis-White is moving on by virtue of time (23.79) after placing third in her preliminary heat.
Two of FSU's three 1500-meter entrants advanced to Saturday's final, with Georgia Peel winning her heat in commanding fashion (4:23.68) and Linden Hall advancing on time (4:23.17) after placing third in her section.
One of the biggest developments of the day was the performance of redshirt freshman Grete Sadeiko in the heptathlon. The No. 2 seed entering the competition, she rolled up a career-best 3,446 points and takes a 179-point lead into Friday's final three events. Sadeiko's breakout performance was aided by three all-time best marks in three of the first four events.
Sadeiko opened the day with lifetime-best mark of 14.09 in the 100-meter hurdles, the third-fastest mark in the field of 14 competitors, good for 966 points. The Estonia native kept her big day going when she cleared 1.76 meters (5-9.25) in the high jump, tops in the field and worth 928 points, then matched that with the best shot put throw (12.55m/41-2.25).
"It's almost to exciting," Sadeiko said. "In the heptathlon if you get going good in your first event it puts you in a good place, like you can perform well in everything else. That's what we've been working for. ..
"Inside I knew I was ready to do it. Last weekend put a lot of confidence in me."
With a school record and a chance to secure an NCAA Championship berth in her sights, Sadeiko doesn't plan to do anything different Friday.
"What really helped me today was that I wasn't really over-thinking," she said. "I took everything that I know in practice and just put it into the competition. That's the same thing I need to do tomorrow."
Collectively, the Seminoles will try and follow the same pattern as they chase a potential sweep of both the men's and women's ACC Indoor and Outdoor team titles.
Friday's action begins with the women's javelin at 11:30 a.m. and concludes with the men's steeplechase final at 8 p.m. Competition will be streamed live on ESPN3 beginning at 4:30 p.m. http://es.pn/1ewFdZX and you can access live stats throughout the meet at http://theacc.co/OTFlivestats.
You can also follow the action via Twitter @FSU_Track using the tags #Noles and #ACCOTF. A complete recap at the conclusion of each day will posted at www.Seminoles.com with photo galleries and stories also posted to the official Florida State Track and Field facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FSUTrack.