April 18, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Behind Grete Sadeiko's record-setting victory in the heptathlon and Colleen Quigley's successful steeplechase title defense, the Florida State women's track & field team holds a 30-point lead over its nearest competitor entering the final day of the ACC Outdoor Championships.
Closing out Friday's competition with 67 points, the Seminole women lead Virginia Tech (37 points), while North Carolina and Duke are lurking with 33 points entering Saturday's finale at Belk Track and Fetzer Field on the UNC campus.
Meanwhile, the Florida State men are still in front as well, though their lead is a little less comfortable. Riding James Harris' victory and an 18-point haul in the high jump, the Seminoles enter the final day with 48 points; two more than second-place Duke. Syracuse (33) and North Carolina (23) are chasing from the third- and fourth-place positions.
FSU coach Bob Braman is especially wary of host North Carolina, which like the Seminoles, also enjoyed a good day of qualifying on Friday.
"Neither team has blinked," Braman said, setting the stage for Saturday's showdown. "There has not been that historic, bad situation that someone has to overcome. ... There have been some nice swings either way for both of us. It's going to be very much like indoors. It's going to be one of those one-two-three-four-five point type of deal."
The Seminoles squeezed out a seven-point win over the Tar Heels for the ACC Indoor title on March 1.
Both Seminoles teams will be chasing a bit of history on what will likely be a cool and rainy Saturday of finals competition. After sweeping the men's and women's indoor titles, the Seminoles can become just the third program in ACC history to bring home all four track titles in the same year.
A title for the FSU women would also complete the Triple Crown - same school-year championships in cross country, indoors and outdoors - joining only the 2009 Seminoles and a pair of North Carolina teams in that elite group.
"It's an individual and a team event and nobody wants to not be at their best," Braman said. "All of the ladies tomorrow need to focus on their individual event as if it's their last race or last performance ever. It's going to be raining and there are going to be some challenges. ... We're not done with this championship. We've got to knock some things out. We have to keep the foot on the accelerator."
Providing bookend victories to Friday's competition, Sadeiko and Quigley set the stage for a potentially historic finish. A redshirt freshman from Estonia, and coming off ACL reconstruction 11 months ago, Sadeiko was the class of the heptathlon field, posting the top marks in both the long jump and javelin on her way to a school record and lifetime-best 5,706 points.
"It's almost too great," Sadeiko said. "Last year, sitting out was no fun at all. I've got a great team behind me and everybody is so supporting, I would not trade it for anything."
Posting four wins in the seven-event, two-day competition, Sadeiko was no match for the field of 14 competitors. Her winning point total virtually secures a trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and gives the Seminoles their first ACC heptathlon title since 2000.
"It feels great and looking to the results, I actually did really good in six events, but I still have a lot in me," Sadeiko said. "For nationals I can definitely come up with another 200 or 300 points."
"Grete's win was giant," Braman said. "That is a huge performance. ... She's coming into her own. All of her events are either lifetime bests or better."
Running from the front the entire way - but not comfortably - Quigley came away with the victory in 10:09.50, with teammate Pippa Woolven joining her on the podium with a bronze medal finish in 10:20.61. Quigley overcame back spasms en route to her second consecutive title.
The Seminoles were also receiving scoring contributions beyond the winners. Senior Chelsea Whalen was fourth in the javelin , with Sadeiko contributing a seventh-place finish for a seven-point total. Clearing 3.98 meters (13-0.75) in the pole vault, Karly Jackson and Hannah Acton placed fifth and sixth in the pole vault for seven more points. Whalen and Lakitta Johnson were seventh and eighth in the shot put, adding three more to the total.
Adding the ACC Outdoor high jump title to his two career indoor crowns was not easy for Harris, who prevailed on fewer misses to win with a mark of 2.16 meters (7-1). More importantly to the men's title hopes, Darius King (2.10m/6-10.75) and Cristobal Hurtado-Arteaga (2.04/6-8.25) finished fourth and sixth.
"Those were hard-earned points and we didn't have an easy time of it," Braman said. "Going 1-4-6 was big, big, big for the men."
Freshman Austin Droogsma's seventh-place finish in the shot put, with a season-best mark of 16.59 meters (54-5.25), accounted for FSU's only other points on the men's side Friday.
"Those are big points and Austin is an example of what we need to happen for the rest of the meet," Braman added.
While the point-scorers were few, the Seminole men were positioning themselves well for the final day with outstanding work in qualifying heats. Dentarius Locke and Otniel Teixeira ran the fastest qualifying times in the 100 (10.20) and 800 (1:49.46), respectively, and will have teammates at their side in the finals as well. John Franklin III joins Locke in the 100 after qualifying on time in 10.72, while Jake Burton was the second-fastest 800-meter qualifier in 1:49.48, nearly finishing side-by-side of Teixeira.
The Seminoles also received a No. 1 qualifying time from fifth-year senior Marecia Pemberton, who won her heat of the 100-meter dash in 11.67. Anne Zagre and Nicole Setterington are moving on to the final in the 100-meter hurdles, qualifying in 13.52 and 13.88, respectively.
"We were qualifying strong all day long," Braman said. "And they qualified fast, they didn't qualify in the back door. They set the marks for everyone to chase."
Saturday's action begins with the men's javelin at 11 a.m. and concludes with the 4x400 relays, starting at 7:30 p.m. Competition will be streamed live on ESPN3 beginning at 4:30 p.m. http://es.pn/1ewFdZZ 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