April 6, 2012
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
Mitchell won the 200-meter dash going away in a nation-leading time of 20.08, while Hyman was the runner-up to national leader Jeff Demps in the 100-meter dash, establishing a host of new standards with his all-time best of 10.14.
With the top Seminole men's sprinters running in individual events for the first time this outdoor season, it was a largely successful debut for coach Ken Harnden's crew.
"We didn't execute races the whole way through," Harnden said. "Maurice ran a great 170 meters, Kemar runs a great 85 meters, Horatio [Williams] runs a very good 140, 150]. We had good things happen but it's not where we need to be, but, almost everybody in this meet has run three meets and this is our first outdoor meet of the year; the first time do anything real. We've trained hard for the last month since indoor nationals, so I'm happy with where we are."
Mitchell, the defending NCAA 200-meter champion, charged off the curve and cruised to victory against a field that included Ole Miss' Isiah Young, former FSU teammate Brandon Byram and veteran national class sprinter Calvin Smith.
"I just kind of stuck to the game plan and just ran my own race ... run the turn well, shoot off the turn and just come home and finish strong," said Mitchell, who easily out-distanced Bahamian standout Ramon Miller (20.29) and Young (20.35). "That's something I did well. I'm really thankful.
"It definitely felt pretty quick. I know it was pretty windy. Coach Ken was wanting me to not put any pressure on myself and I think I did a pretty good job of not pressuring myself. I thank God that everything is going really well and I just want to keep improving. I'm definitely happy with where I'm starting."
As he should be. Mitchell's time, albeit aided by a 3.4 mph wind, eclipsed the previous fastest NCAA mark of this season, set by Texas A&M's Ameer Webb (20.46). It is also the second-fastest time run in the world under any condition, trailing only Wallace Spearmon's wind-legal 19.95.
FSU's Horatio Williams finished eighth in 20.58.
Hyman started things off for the `Noles will a brilliant first-heat battle in the 100 with Demps, who came into the meet with a nation-leading, but wind-aided time of 10.01. The Seminole senior was in a virtual dead-heat with 15 meters to go before he was nipped by .03.
Still, it was hard for Hyman - whose previous personal-best was 10.26 - to be disappointed.
"I felt like my transition was good," Hyman said, recapping his race. "I really got out of the blocks. ... Overall I really thought my race was good. There are a couple things we've got to go back to the drawing board and fix with coach, but overall I PR'd, qualified for the Olympics and have the national record for the Cayman Islands. It feels good."
Hyman posted the third-fastest legal time in the world this year and in the process, tied the 13-year-old Cayman Islands national record, held by former FSU volunteer assistant Kareem Streete-Thompson. Even more importantly, he punched his ticket for a trip to the London Olympics, eclipsing the 10.18 Olympic A-standard.
The performances of Hyman, Mitchell and Williams is especially encouraging with the `Noles looking ahead to Saturday's 4x100-meter relay showdown with rival Florida.
"I'm definitely glad that all of us as a whole, as a team, got a chance to come out here and run well," Mitchell said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do in the 4x1 tomorrow."
So is Harnden.
"We're trying to focus on the 4x1 to sort of get them away from being obsessed with what's happening in their individual event," Harnden said. "`Hey guys, let's get hyped about the 4x1, get excited about it, and see where we go in their individual events.'"
While the sprinters stole the highlights, there were a number of other solid performances on the day by the Seminoles.
Darrin Gibson finished sixth in the 800-meters in 1:48.75; just .02 off his career-best. In the women's 1500 meters, Violah Lagat was third in a PR 4:20.94, while teammate Jessica Parry was sixth in 4:23.05.
Chelsi Woodruff established a new personal-best in the 3000-meter steeplechase, finishing sixth in 10:38.78.
Gonzalo Barroilhet was 16th - but the fifth collegian - in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.09, despite cart-wheeling across the finish line after clipping the last hurdle.
The Seminoles will return to action at Percy Beard Stadium Saturday, with NCAA triple jump leader Michelle Jenije set to compete along with all of the men's and women's sprint relay teams.
Freshman Colleen Quigley made her collegiate 3000-meter steeplechase debut in Palo Alto, Calif. Friday night count, posting an impressive 10:13.73. Quigley finished second in her heat and the third collegiate finisher overall at the Stanford Invitational.
Results from the late races at the Stanford Invitational will be made available via Twitter @FSU_Track with updates tomorrow on Seminoles.com.