March 16, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- The accolades continue to come for the Florida State men's and women's indoor track and field teams, this time courtesy the Atlantic Coast Conference head coaches.
The Seminoles grabbed three of the league's six postseason awards - more than any other school - including two of the three top honors for the men. Senior Maurice Mitchell was selected the ACC Track Performer of the Year for the third consecutive season, while Stephen Newbold claimed Freshman of the Year accolades. Michelle Jenijeclaimed ACC Field Performer of the Year honors for the women on the heels of her outstanding season in the triple jump.
"It's just fantastic when you win three of the six available awards," said FSU coach Bob Braman. "It was great to have a guy like Stephen come in and win an ACC Championship as a freshman. It was great to see Michelle, a hometown product, have the kind of season she enjoyed as a senior. Then to have Maurice, one of the premier sprinters in the country, win for a third straight year. ...
"I'm just really proud of all of them. They all work extremely hard, are very coachable and great representatives of Florida State. It's a great mix [of awards] and very exciting for the program."
Mitchell, who earned ACC Championship Track Performer of the Meet honors after leading the Seminoles to the team title last month, capped his final season by sweeping the league's top two awards. A third-time selection for both honors - something that has never happened in league history - Mitchell claimed his most recent honor on the strength of his performance at last week's NCAA Indoor Championship, when he claimed two more All-American honors on the strength of his third-place finish in the 200-meter dash and his sixth-place showing in the 60-meter dash final.
He is the first ACC athlete to earn Indoor Track Performer of the Year in three consecutive seasons.
Newbold didn't qualify for the NCAA Championship in his inaugural season, but he was chosen Freshman of the Year on the strength of his ACC title in the 400-meter dash, as well as his third-place finish in the 200-meter dash. Those contributions were huge for the Seminoles, who rallied from 29 points down midway through the final day of the ACC Championship meet to unseat defending champion Virginia Tech. It marked the ninth time in 10 years that FSU carried home the team trophy.
Jenije, who ranked in the top three nationally throughout the season in the triple jump, overcame the disappointment of a runner-up finish at the ACC Indoor Championship in style. The senior from Tallahassee busted out a career-best leap of 13.54 meters (44-5.25) on her opening attempt at the NCAA Championship and brought home the silver medal, the highest finish by any Seminole at Jacksons Track in Nampa, Idaho over the two-day meet.
Braman was also named ACC Men's Indoor Coach of the Year after the Seminoles captured the conference title in Boston.
Florida State now turns its attention to the outdoor season, which includes this weekend's Bulls Invitational at USF. The action heats up next week on the Seminoles' home turf when the FSU Relays get underway on Wednesday. The four-day affair will build toward a Friday-Saturday crescendo with more than 2,000 collegiate and high school athletes competing at Mike Long Track.
For the first time, FSU will host a Track Fest - a fan-friendly area across Champions Way from the track - where a host of vendors like Nike and Piggy's BBQ will have booths set up. Former Seminoles Ngoni Makusha, Kimberly Williams, Ciaran O'Lionaird and Hannah England- all of whom are preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games in London - will be on hand to sign autographs.
There is no admission charge for the FSU Relays, which kick off with the multi-events Wednesday and Thursday and will feature a full day of racing Friday and Saturday.
Ichite Leads Way At Bulls Invitational
Elizabeth Ichite, a sophomore from Florida High, continued her breakout season with the Florida State women's track team Friday at the Bulls Invitational on the campus of USF.