April 23, 2011
In an exciting finale to the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Seminole men used a last-day surge to propel themselves to an incredible seventh-straight league championship in Durham, N.C. Saturday.
Trailing Virginia Tech 141.5 to 124.5 after 18 of 21 total events at Wallace Wade Stadium on Duke’s campus, the men’s team needed a big 200m dash and got it by finishing in spots one, two, three and four.
Junior Maurice Mitchell, who was named the MVP of the men’s track events, earned the individual title in the race by zooming to a lifetime best time of 20.19 that tied former FSU star Walter Dix’s 2007 ACC record. Finishing second was Brandon Byram (20.57) and Charles Clark (20.78) was third while Brandon O'Conner (20.91) place fourth.
The impressive sweep-and-then-some in the event gave FSU 29 points and pushed the team into a lead it would not relinquish. The ’Noles finished the three-day championship with a grand total of 174.5 points and Virginia Tech was second with 153.5 points.
“Virginia Tech has got to be a top-five team,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “We had some unbelievable performances and we needed every one of them; we only won by 21 points. That’s not a huge margin. I don’t know today what we could have done better here.”
For Mitchell, his time is the current world leader and the win marked his second 200m dash championship in as many seasons. Clark won the race in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009.
As the men claimed another crown, the FSU women fought valiantly and finished second with 132.5 points. Clemson won the women’s championship with 202 points.
The women, we were just trying to do as best as we could,” Braman said. “We didn’t double-up and triple-up our kids and we were still able to score 130 points to get second. We are really proud of both teams.”
Posting the first championship performance of the day were Kemar Hyman, Mitchell, Ngoni Makusha and David Ambler. The quartet of Seminoles raced to victory in the men’s 400m relay thanks to a time of 39.61.
The win marked Makusha’s second title of the weekend as he individually won the men’s long jump on Friday. And it wasn’t his last.
Makusha blazed his way to a 9.97-second championship performance in the men’s 100m dash to set the ACC record. Joining Makusha on the podium after the lightning-quick race were Mitchell (10.03) and Hyman (10.27), who finished second and third, respectively. Ambler placed sixth with a time of 10.41.
While Makusha was updating his gold medal collection, Kim Williams was doing the same for the women.
Like Makusha, Williams nabbed an ACC Championship in the long jump on Friday. And, like Makusha, she added another on Saturday as she took the league title in the women’s triple jump for the unprecedented fourth consecutive year. Williams’ leap of 46-1 ¼ on her third attempt was enough to erase the competition and set the new ACC- and Wallace Wade Stadium-record.
Michelle Jenije earned the bronze medal and All-ACC honors in the triple jump with her lifetime best mark of 42-9 ½.
Before Williams added to her legend, another FSU men’s performer took the top spot again; this time in an event that has been dominated by the ’Noles over the years.
Sophomore Brandon O'Conner sprinted to his first ACC Championship in the men’s 400m dash thanks to a personal record time of 45.89. His performance marked the second year in a row in which FSU took the top spot in the event and the sixth time in the last eight years.
Not to be outdone by the sprinters, one of FSU’s best distance runners left his mark on both the men’s 1500m and 5000m runs.
Senior Ciaran O’Lionaird edged out Virginia’s Robby Andrews on a lifetime best time of 3:40.69 in the 1500m in what is a new ACC record. Junior Matt Leeder then placed seventh with a time 3:49.52.
The win marked O’Lionaird’s first career ACC Championship and he wasn’t done there. While the men’s sprinters gave the Seminoles their first lead on Saturday, it was O’Lionaird’s championship performance in the 5000m run at the end of the day that solidified the overall team title.
In that 5000m, O’Lionaird became the first FSU athlete since Andrew Lemoncello in 2005 to win the top spot behind his ACC-record and lifetime best mark of 13:52.11. David Forrester (14:00.41) placed fifth and Wesley Rickman (14:11.28) was eighth.
“Ciaran getting two ACC records on the same day is almost impossible,” Braman said. “Virginia Tech had a monster day but we were down by 40 and we knew that the back end would carry us. We knew the 100, 200, 5k and the 1500 would provide big scoring chances for us and that’s what happened. It was just an incredible meet for the kids.”
Like her distance-running counterpart in O’Lionaird, Jessica Parry also found first-time ACC glory on Saturday.
The London, Ontario native obliterated the competition in the women’s 5000m run late in the day en route to establishing her first ACC Championship. Parry’s time of 16:14.74 was just two second shy of matching her personal record in the event while Hanna Brooks (16:25.19) took third.
Rounding out the championship performances for the Seminoles was Lizbeth Mabry. The senior earned her first ACC Championship in the women's pole vault with a height of 13-3 3/4.
Sophomore Andrew Lahaye achieved the first All-ACC honors of his collegiate career to start the day. The Lake Brantley High School graduate tied for third in the men’s pole vault with a jump of 16-2 ¾.
After gathering 5.5 points from LaHaye’s performance, freshman Phillip Young added two more for the ’Noles with his seventh-place finish in the men’s triple jump.
Sophomore Amanda Winslow generated the first points of the day for FSU women with her All-ACC performance in the 15000m run. Winslow ran a lifetime best time of 4:18.12 to finish as the runner-up in the vent and earn eight points. Junior Violah Lagat crossed the finish line in a lifetime best 4:21.53 for a three-point sixth-place finish.
Following Winslow’s second-place performance was another silver-medal showing by Florida State when Brittany St. Louis ran to runner-up spot in the 400m dash. St. Louis completed the full lap around the track in 53.49 for eight points while freshman Elizabeth Ichite earned three points on a sixth-place time of 55.49.
Registering a bronze medal was Marecia Pemberton, who earned All-ACC honors on a time of 11.52 in the women’s 100m dash. Senior Teona Rodgers then registered her own third-place finish in the 200m dash on a time of 23.55.
Teona Rodgers grabbed two more points for the Seminole women with a seventh-place finish in the 100m hurdles.
At the end of the day, both men’s and women’s teams finished with the bronze in the 1600m relays. Clark, Brian Chibudu, Tremaine Grant and Byram paced the men with a time of 3:08.85 while Latera Davis, St. Louis, Ichite and Christal Washington competed for the women with a time of 3:41.04.
· Ngoni Makusha x3 – triple jump, long jump and 100m dash
· Kim Williams x2 – triple jump and long jump
· Michael Putman – discus throw
· Ciaran O’Lionaird x2 – 1500m run and 5000m run
· David Ambler - 400m relay
· Maurice Mitchell x2 - 400m relay and 200m dash
· Kemar Hyman - 400m relay
· Brandon O'Conner – 400m dash
· Jessica Parry – 5000m run
· Lizbeth Mabry – pole vault
· Maurice Mitchell – men’s track events
· Michael Putman – men’s field events
All-ACC (champions are also recognized as All-ACC)
· Andrew Lahaye – pole vault
· Amanda Winslow – 1500m run
· Allyn Laughlin – shot put
· Paul Madzivire – long jump
· Michael Putman – shot put
· Wesley Rickman – 10000m run
· Kamorean Hayes – discus throw
· Brittany St. Louis – 400m dash
· Marecia Pemberton – 100m dash
· Michelle Jenije – triple jump
· Maurice Mitchell – 100m dash
· Kemar Hyman – 100m dash
· Teona Rodgers – 200m dash
· Charles Clark – 200m dash
· Brandon Byram – 200m dash
· Hannah Brooks – 5000m run