March 15, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. - Florida State juniors Elizabeth Ichite and Chelsea Whalen opened the outdoor track & field season with victories and personal-best performances Friday at the Bulls Invitational on the campus of USF.
Ichite won the 400-meter dash with a lifetime best time of 53.74, successfully defending her 2012 title at the meet. A year ago she won the Bulls Invitational in 53.91, which was not only her previous best, but qualified her for the NCAA East Preliminary.
Whalen delivered a victory in the shot put with her outdoor-best effort of 15.59 meters (51-1.75), pacing a strong day by the Seminole throwers. Sophomore Lakitta Johnson was third overall with a career-best throw of 14.46 (47-5.25), while freshman Kellion Knibb placed sixth (13.94m/45-9).
"It was a good tune-up for FSU Relays," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "We got some things accomplished. We got the outdoor season rolling, particularly for the throwers, and we're looking forward to the FSU Relays and taking that next step."
The Seminoles scored four individual victories - all from the women's team - and received a number of promising performances from athletes who were getting their first real taste of competition since the ACC Indoor Championship meet.
Most encouraging of all, many of best efforts came from first-year Seminoles.
Freshman Natalie Concepcion won the 800 meters (2:16.87) after placing sixth in her collegiate 1500-meter debut (4:38.83). Another freshman, Hannah Acton, won the pole vault with a mark of 3.80 meters (12-5.50).
Freshman Der'Renae Freeman was the runner-up in the women's long jump with her collegiate-best mark of 6.02m (19-9), while classmate Maryke Brits was fourth in the 100 hurdles in a career-best time of 14.07 and tied for fourth in the long jump (5.83m/19-1.50).
Grete Sadeiko, another Seminole freshman who is expected to provide a big lift in the heptathlon, began to tune up for her multi-event campaign by clearing 1.63m (5-4.25) in the high jump and running a very respectable 14.77 in the 100 hurdles. It was Sadeiko's first meet since suffering a leg injury at the start of the indoor season.
"I was pretty content," said Dennis Nobles, FSU's director of field events. "I think we moved in the right direction. (Grete) set herself up pretty well."
Senior Brittany Linder contributed her second consecutive career-best effort in the discus with a toss of 41.86m (137-4).
Nobles was also pleased with the fifth-place performance of pole vaulter Drew Marcello (4.90m/16-0.75), as well as his high jumpers, Cristobal Hurtado and Nick Medich, both of whom cleared 1.98m (6-6).
The top finisher for the Seminole men was junior transfer Stargell Williams, who was second overall and the first collegian in the shot put. Williams eclipsed his outdoor career-best mark with a throw of 16.94m (55-7), which was second to former FSU All-American Michael Putman's winning throw of 18.43 (60-5.75). Junior Phillip Young was also second in the long jump with his best mark of the day (7.21m/23-8) coming against a head wind.
Redshirt junior Tremaine Grant, competing in his first outdoor meet in two seasons, placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (14.47). Graduate student transfer Jeff Pelage came up just shy of his career-best in the discus with a sixth-place throw of 50.17m (164-7).
A larger contingent of Seminoles will open the outdoor season in earnest at the FSU Relays, which are set to begin Friday at Mike Long Track.