May 5, 2014
STANFORD, Cal. - Returning to the form they last flashed during the indoor season, Florida State's Pippa Woolven and Linden Hall flourished in the steeplechase and 1500-meter run, respectively, Sunday night at the Payton Jordan Invitational.
Woolven won section 3 of the steeplechase in a lifetime best time of 10:06.45, which moved her into fifth place on FSU's all-time list and more importantly, No. 6 on the NCAA East Preliminary qualifying rankings.
Hall was equally impressive, shaking off a two-month funk to finish second in section 3 of the 1500. The junior clocked a 4:16.42 around Angell Track and Cobb Field, identically matching her ninth-place finishing time at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Junior Colleen Quigley had to wait her turn for section 2 of the 1500 and did not disappoint, turning in a season-best time of 4:16.04, which was good for seventh overall and third among collegians. Quigley and Hall finished fifth and sixth overall among 45 collegians competing in the six sections of the 1500.
More importantly, Quigley moved to No. 4 on the NCAA East Preliminary qualifying list, while Hall is No. 6. They rank seventh and ninth, nationally among NCAA runners.
Overall, it was a solid day for the Seminoles, despite windy conditions and stiff competition.
"Pippa led from start to finish until she got cut off with 400 to go and got passed," FSU women's distance coach Karen Harvey said. "With 200 to go, she came out of the water pit ticked off, went to the front and won the thing. ...
"She came here to compete, which was our whole goal, because Regionals isn't about time, it's about competing, which she did really, really well."
Woolven shaved five seconds off her previous career-best time, despite being saddled with setting her own pace. Despite running in the slow section, Woolven's time was fifth among collegians in the three-section field.
"It was one of the first races on the track and there was no atmosphere," said Harvey, who instructed the sophomore to, "go to the front and pound it. That's what she did. She definitely has sub-10 in her. She just needed that really good race to get excited and go back to work."
The same held true for Hall, who has been trying to find her groove since the NCAA Indoor Championships. The native Australian did just that, despite a poor pace set through the first 800 meters by the rabbit.
Undeterred, Hall stayed right in the front pack and used a big finishing kick to launch what she hopes will be an All-American finish to the season.
"She had a great position and just got a great ride," Harvey said of Hall. "Then with 400 to go they started kicking hard. She never doubted. She got jumped, but stayed in contact enough. With 120 to go...it was like something just turned on.
"For Linden, she needed this race to remind her that she is NCAA material; she should be in the conversation to be going to nationals. She needed a reminder of her talent. What a way to come back. I couldn't be more pleased."
The Seminole men sent a trio of athletes into action and were rewarded by a pair of season-best marks from Jakub Zivec and Zak Seddon, both of whom are battling back from injuries sustained during cross country season.
Zivec, a senior, ran 3:46.98 for 1500 meters, a two-second improvement over her previous best mark this season. Seddon, competing in just his second steeplechase race this season, pared 10 seconds from his ACC Championship meet time, recording a 9:06.88.
Both men will have to improve on their times over the next two weeks in order to climb into the top 48 and earn a berth to the NCAA East Preliminary meet.
Glen Yarham entered the 5000-meter race looking to break 14 minutes and land a second NCAA East qualifying mark, having already secured a spot in the 10,000. With 1,000 meters to go, Yarham was on target in his highly competitive section, but faded to 14:14.56 down the stretch.