April 18, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C.- The Florida State track & field teams are off to a fast start at the 2013 ACC Outdoor Championships, thanks to a heaping pile of points from the field events and a strong close on the track.
Dominating the competition from the start, Knibb delivered the Seminoles their first women's discus title in 21 years of ACC championship competition. Four of Knibb's six throws eclipsed her previous career best, including the winning toss of 54.59 meters (179-1).
Unlike Knibb, who was the favorite entering the meet, Pelage stepped up as the underdog and delivered the FSU men their second ACC discus title in three years and just their third all time. The former Boston University basketball standout took the lead on his third of six throws, which measured 55.31 meters (181-5), and never let it go.
Senior Breandan O Neill pulled the curtain on the opening day of competition by successfully defending his 10,000-meter title (29:59.28). O Neill bided his time in a large pack throughout the first half of the 25-lap affair, then rocketed to the front with just over 1600 meters to go and was never threatened.
"Pelage is going to retire from the ACC in the discus undefeated and Brendo is going to retire in the 10k undefeated," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "And it was great to have the whole team there doing the Warchant. You leave the meet on a high note."
With wins in the only two finals contested on the men's side Friday, Florida State leads with 20 points, followed by Duke (19), North Carolina (15) and Virginia (10).
FSU's women will head into Friday's competition in second place with 27 points, just one behind NC State. Virginia (22) and three-time defending champion Clemson (19) are close behind.
"I thought we competed really well," Braman said. "Point-wise, did you really expect any more? No. We didn't lose any points and Virginia Tech's men lost a few.
"We kept our composure. ... It's going to be a really tight race if nobody blinks. It's going to come down to and digging down to the bottom of our guts to pull a point."
In addition to Knibb, the Seminoles received plenty of production from the field events as junior Chelsea Whalen earned All-ACC honors with a third-place finish in the javelin (45.70m/149-11) with Stacey Alvarez (40.59/133-2) contributing a sixth-place finish to the total. Freshman Hannah Acton placed seventh in the pole vault (3.90m/12-9.50).
Kayleigh Tyerman closed out the first day scoring for the Seminole women with a third-place finish in the 10,000 meters. The junior ran at the front throughout the 25-lap event and finished in 34:17.53, good for six points.
"Kellion - a freshman winner - that's real impressive," Braman added. "She's going to have a chance to win four of those things. She's not going to throw it shorter, she's only going to throw it further.
"Kayleigh Tyerman is a veteran and a 10k beast. She's in there running Catherine White, one of the top seeds in the country and an All-American in cross country, and she's on her like, `How do I win?' ... Chelsea Whalen has three good throws in the finals to move up and Stacey scores in first ACC meet."
Beyond the contested finals, the Seminoles also showed well in preliminary qualifying competition.
Junior Dentarius Locke, the top seed in the 200, advanced by winning his heat in a conservatively run time of 21.08. Freshman Zak Seddon, who will also compete in Saturday's steeplechase final, qualified for the 1500 finale by finishing second in his heat in 3:48.48.
Freshman Sage Watson led a trio of Seminole women who will move on to the finals of the 400-meter hurdles. Watson won her heat in 58.37 - the second-fastest time - while Marsha Ariol (1:01.57) and Sarah Chandler (1:01.88) advanced on time.
Sophomore Linden Hall rounded out the qualifiers with a wisely-run 1500 preliminary run of 4:24.81 out of the first and fastest heat.
"If you had given me these points and said I could skip today, I'd take it for sure," Braman said. "[The meet] is setting up pretty good. We have to keep knocking it out and, knock on wood, keep people healthy. It's a big, big, big day tomorrow."
The action resumes Friday at Derr Track with an adjusted schedule as impending inclement weather led ACC officials to move the start time for the running events. The running events will begin at 3:15 p.m., two hours earlier than originally planned. The men's pole vault, originally scheduled for Friday, has been rescheduled for Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
The ACC Digital Network now plans to begin coverage at 3 p.m. at http://theacc.co/OTFWatchLive.
You can follow the Seminoles via Twitter @FSU_Track and keep up with the coverage at www.seminoles.com.