May 9, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On a hot Saturday in Tallahassee where temperatures soared to the mid-90's at Mike Long Track, the Florida State Seminoles recorded 12 track and field outdoor regional marks at the 2009 Seminole Twilight Meet, including first-time qualifications on the women's side in the 200m dash and the 110m hurdles. Several Seminoles also turned in personal records and marks that rank among the top 10 in the nation.
"I thought it was a good meet," Florida State head coach Bob Braman said, "but I really expected a little bit more. We had good people in good races and pacers and things set up and I really felt like we'd be a little bit better today. We had good efforts, we had PR's, we had regional marks and all that was good but I was thinking this was shaping up to be something really huge. I think we're just a little bit in the training phase but efforts were really good and everybody's healthy so those are positives."
Regionally-qualifying for the first time this season in their respective events were junior Valerie Flournoy (Gainesville, Fla.), who stamped her ticket to regionals in the 100m hurdles with a season-best 13.88 to place second in the event, and freshman Danielle Jeffery (Kingston, Jamaica) and senior Nicole Marcus (Tallahassee, Fla.) in the 200m dash. In her first 200m dash in two years, Jeffery became the third Seminole on the women's side to earn a regional qualifying mark in the event by finishing third with a time of 23.87, FSU's third best time in the event this year. In her first 200m race of the season, Marcus made it four qualifier in the 200m for FSU - by setting a new personal best with a time of 23.96 in a fourth-place effort.
"On the women's side, Danielle Jeffery ran a pretty good race and had a regional-qualifying time but we didn't drop any bombs there either but again, I think efforts were fantastic but we felt the heat but maybe not the electricity today. That will come but it just didn't go the way I thought it would today."
For the men, freshman Maurice Mitchell (Kansas City, Mo.), who had twice regionally qualified in the 200m dash prior to today's competition, set his personal best with a first place finish in the 200m in a time of 20.64, which ranks tied for 7th in the nation. In his final competition at Mike Long Track, senior Javier Garcia-Tunon ran a regional-qualifying time of 50.71 in the 400m hurdles. He has now qualified in six meets this season and Saturday's mark is his second best performance this year.
In the 400m, four different Seminoles ran regional-qualifying times as the Borlee brothers, in their first 400m dash race of the season, finished in the top two spots. Freshman Jonathan Borlee led all runners with a winning time of 45.34 - a mark that is tied for fourth-best in the entire country this season. His twin brother, Kevin, finished just behind him with a time of 45.51 in a performance that is now fifth-best in the nation.
Junior standout Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) competed in the 400m for the first time this season and finished fourth with a time of 45.91 which ranks 10th in the country. True freshman Brandon O'Connor (Miami, Fla.) was the fourth FSU student-athlete to qualify regionally as he finished fifth in the race with a personal-best time of 46.04, a vast improvement of his previous best 46.73.
Sophomore Jair Francis (Manchester, Jamaica) set his new collegiate-best in the 400m with a time of 47.91, which was good enough for eighth place in the event and just shy of the 47.20 regional qualifying mark.
In the 800m, true freshman Nathan Duby (Winter Springs, Fla.) placed second as his new career-high time of 1:50.48 was just eight-tenths of a second shy of meeting the regional qualifying requirement of 1:50.40. Also just shy of regionally qualifying was junior Michael Fingado (Lake Orien, Mich.) who registered a new career-high in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.62.
"I guess this is kind of a second season," Braman said. "You get through conference and then you start working toward nationals and it's a long way. Three weeks from today is regionals and we've got Georgia Tech next week. Maurice Mitchell may be the only "wow" performance today. Brandon O'Connor may be the biggest progression of that group and people like Justin Harbor ran a lifetime best but he wanted more. Nathan Duby ran a lifetime best but he wanted more. Javi (Garcia-Tunon) ran kind of an ugly race and won over a really good runner and he ran a darn good time, same thing in the quarter-mile. Charles Clark fought really hard and he didn't run a bad time but he's just a world-class runner. I think there was just a lot of that going on - a lot of good efforts that maybe went a little bit unrewarded."
Other highlights for the FSU women included a first place finish in the triple jump for team captain Tiara Swanagan (Orange Park, Fla.), who had a regional qualifying distance of 12.63m (41-05.25). Swanagan's performance marks the third time this year that she has set a regional qualifying mark.
In the women's shot put, junior Allyn Laughlin (Ambridge, Pa.) tossed her second-best distance of the season at 15.68m (51-05.50) on a throw that also set a regional qualifying mark. Laughlin has now recorded regional qualifying marks in the shot put in six meets this season.
Qualifying for regionals for the fifth time this season was junior Lizbeth Mabry (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) with a height of 3.85m (12-07.50) in the pole vault as she finished third in the event.
The women's 800m was a race of season-bests for several first-year Seminoles. True freshmen Emily Ness (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Keesha Danso (Mississaugua, Ontario) both set season-best times of 2:19.12 and 2:21.36, respectively. Fellow freshman Jennifer Dunn competed in the 800m for the first time in her FSU career and posted a time of 2:20.06 while Kacey Gibson's first-ever 800m was completed in 2:22.94.
SEMINOLE TWILIGHT DAY TWO