June 12, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - In just the second day of the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championship, the Florida State track and field teams reached a new level of excellence by surpassing expectations and winning the title in both the women's and men's long jump as Kim Williams and Ngoni Makusha were named NCAA Champions. Florida State is now just the second school to have a national champion in both the men's and women's outdoor long jump in the same season. Auburn also managed the task in 2003.
"They're just special," FSU head coach Bob Braman said about his national champions. "I'm stressing out and everybody's like, `Kimmie's going to get it done. She won't foul three times. She'll get it done. And Ngoni is just incredible. He comes through. The guy is not 100 percent. He's still got that quad problem. How many people blow a quad and three months later win an NCAA championship comfortably? He's pretty special."
Despite almost missing an invitation to nationals, Makusha, the long jump defending national champion, hit the field for the final round in the long jump where the sophomore dominated with a powerful jump of 8.11m to top the NCAA charts. The two-time NCAA national champion's mark now sits as the nation's leading collegiate jump this season and earned the Seminoles 10 points.
"Ngoni, on his fifth jump, jumped 8.03 meters, which you remember Brian Chibudu led the nation with 8.05," Braman said. "So he jumped 8.03, took the lead and then his last jump, jumped 8.11 so he won the championship by 10 centimeters which is about four inches. It's the best collegiate jump of the year."
Simultaneously, Williams was taking care of business for the women on the field in the finals of the long jump. The ACC and South Region Women's Field Performer of the Year opened the event with two fouls, but found success in her third attempt as she leaped 6.54m to find herself in a four-way tie. The sophomore jumped 6.35m to win first place and contributed 10 points.
"In the women's long jump, it was a four-way tie for first and they separate those one through four places with the second best jump overall," Braman said. "So they're all tied for one and they go to the second and Kimmie was sitting third based on her second-best jump. On her last jump, which was the last jump of the entire competition - nobody behind her - she jumped 6.35 which was not an improvement of her top score, but it beat everybody else's second jump and she got the win."
As the lone Seminole thrower to prevail past the first round, Allyn Laughlin reached new heights in the final round of the shot put as the Seminole scored two points for FSU with a lifetime-best throw of 6.17m. Laughlin's mark is FSU's best performance in school history.
Senior Javier Garcia-Tunon bettered his already ACC chart-topping time in the 400m hurdles as the Miami, Fla., native earned fifth place with a new personal record time of 49.99. Garcia-Tunon's performance moved his name up in the FSU record books to the fourth-best performance in school history. Garcia-Tunon will compete in the finals Friday at 9:05 p.m.
Mid-distance runners Pilar McShine and Susan Kuijken continued to shine on the track in the semifinals of the 800m and 1500m races, respectively. McShine led the way on the warpath first with her finish time of 2:03.47 that earned her a spot in the final round Saturday at 1:19 p.m. Kuijken followed quickly in the 1500m race where the Nijmegen, Netherlands native cruised into sixth place with a finish time of 4:17.97 that she looks to better in the final round Saturday at 2:09 p.m.
Seminole sprinter Charles Clark had the busiest day on the track. After the Virginia Beach, Va., native qualified for the semifinals in the 200m dash with a first round time of 20.78 that earned him second place, Clark went on to better his time in the semifinal with 20.45 to finish in sixth place. The junior will hit the track Saturday at 1:42 p.m. for the final round.
Impressing the Arkansas crowd in the final event for the Seminoles was the men's 4x400m relay squad. The foursome of Kevin Williams, Brandon O'Connor, Kevin and Jonathan Borlee hit the track to battle among the nation's best relay groups including Indoor National Champions Baylor who the Seminoles fell a close second too at the indoor championships. The group fought hard and earned first place in the semifinals with a finish time of 3:03.13.
"I'm just really proud," Braman said. "We've had a great meet. We've had people over-perform beyond their seed with Javi (Garcia-Tunon), Allyn (Laughlin), Makusha coming in hurt and winning it. Matt Leeder made the final in the 5K, late, late last night. We've just had a lot of great things so far. We haven't been perfect. Brittany St. Louis got hurt and couldn't run the 4x400m. She's our best girl. If she's in there, maybe we run faster but that was an event that was going to be hard for us to score points in.
"I'm really proud of how the guys have responded," Braman continued. "We've had such a challenging year, such a challenging regional meet and the guys have come in here and just said, we may not win, we may not get it, but we're going to put it out there. We're going to fight like crazy and they've done that. They've just been fantastic."
Quoting the Seminole scorers...
"It's big just to score points for the girls' team. Every little point counts and we talked about before the meet that for the girls' team, it's going to be really close. I think a lot of people don't realize how close it's going to be for both teams. Seventh is a little bit better than eighth but eighth is better than no points at all. It was important just to scored and I PR'd and it was a good meet for me all around so it was great to end it that way for this year."
"It's just great, it's just a great feeling. Just looking back at my outdoor season I never had a chance to jump really good and jumping really good at nationals and winning it again, it's just a great feeling. It's a wonderful feeling."
"It feels good because this was my first time trying to do the long jump at nationals and I'm really excited. I realized I won when I came into the mixed zone. I went out there to get my team some points and me winning is just the icing on the cake and I'm excited about it so that's good."
Men's Long Jump Final:
1. Ngoni Makusha 8.11m/26-07.25
Men's 400m Hurdles Semifinal:
5. Javier Garcia 49.99 Q
Men's 200m Dash First Round:
2. Charles Clark 20.78 Q
19. Maurice Mitchell 21.20
Men's 200m Dash Semifinal:
3. Charles Clark 20.45 Q
Men's 4x400m Relay Semifinal:
1. Florida State 3:03.13 Q
Women's Long Jump Final:
1. Kim Williams 6.54m, 6.35m
Women's Shot Put Final:
7. Allyn Laughlin 16.17m/53-00.75 PR
Women's 100m Hurdles Prelims:
28. Teona Rodgers 14.18
Women's 800m Run Semifinal:
7. Pilar McShine 2:03.47 Q
Women's 1500m Run Semifinal:
6. Susan Kuijken 4:17.97 Q
Women's 4x400m Relay:
18. Florida State 3:37.55