April 20, 2012
By Bob Thomas, Seminoles.com
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Despite some outstanding performances, none bigger than Gonzalo Barroilhet's record-setting ACC Championship in the decathlon, the Florida State men's team enters the final day of the championship meet with a large hill to climb.
Bidding to bring home their eighth consecutive ACC Outdoor Track & Field championship trophy, the Seminole men will have to erase a 30-point deficit. Virginia Tech outscored FSU 26-3 in the pole vault and carries a 82-52 lead into Saturday at Lannigan Field on the University of Virginia campus.
"It's going to be very difficult," said FSU coach Bob Braman. "We're going to need some misfortune, perhaps, but I'm proud. I don't think that we can characterize us as blinking at all. I think we've competed well.
"Things went really well, but we're going to try and overcome a 26-3 loss in the pole vault. It's one of those things and we're going to have really have an unexpected turn like that tomorrow to make up 30 points, because Virginia Tech has three in the finals of the 200 and two in the finals of the 100. They've got three in the finals of the 1500. It's not going to be a situation where we can just blanket them and wipe them out in the 100 and 200 and the 400. It's going to be awfully tough to make up 30 points; a lot harder than it has ever been."
The deficit would have been worse if not for victories by Paul Madzivire in the long jump and Barroilhet in the decathlon; neither of which was a foregone conclusion.
Madzivire, competing in his first outdoor meet due to injury, trailed Virginia Tech's Jeff Artis-Gray heading into the finals but pulled out a win with a leap of 7.57m (24-10). Phillip Young added a fourth-place finish to the FSU cause.
But it was Barroilhet who stole the show. The fifth-year graduate student came into Friday's final five events trailing Duke's Curtis Beach by nine points and exited with an ACC Championship-meet record 8,065 points and a whopping 301-point margin of victory. In process Barroilhet posted the second-best total in NCAA Division I this season, securing a national championship berth, while improving his own school record.
It was quite a performance for the Chilean star, who was not only competing in his first ACC decathlon, but an underdog to Beach - the reigning NCAA Indoor heptathlon championship.
"Everyone had been comparing me against [Beach] and I just wanted to go out there and put my name back on the board and that's what I did," Barroilhet said. "We had a good meet. He maybe didn't have the meet he was expecting but I had it when it counts."
Barroilhet's huge closing day began with consecutive wins in the first three events: the 110-meter hurdles (14.14/957 points), discus (45.22m/771 ) and pole vault (5.30/1004 ). By the time the final event - the 1500 came around - he had a virtually insurmountable 516-point lead over Beach. He needed to only break 5:00 in the 1500 to eclipse 8,000 points for the first time in his career and did just that with his 4:49.
"I had a non-forced meet, trying to get good marks without really forcing them and it came out beautifully," Barroilhet said. "It's really promising to see the future and what I can accomplish. I had a lot of margin for improvement."
As for eclipsing 8,000 points, Barroilhet said it had been on his mind since last year, when he scored 7,986 points with his fourth-place finish at the PanAm Games in October.
"At PanAm Games I was right there," he said. "I needed to hit a decent time in the 1500 and I just ran out of gas. I knew it was coming. Breaking the 8,000 was a goal, but my goal is a little bit higher than to be top eight at the Olympic Games and 8,000 is not going to get me anywhere."
And while the Olympic Games are on his mind, so is a spot atop the podium in June at the NCAA Championship meet.
"This is my opening decathlon of the year so we're really excited about seeing what's going to happen," Barroilhet said. "Believe me, I'm craving to win outdoor nationals at NCAA. I haven't done it. I had a shot my freshman year. All the team that works with me - coach Nobles, coach Meaders and coach Harnden - we knew what was coming. Definitely the next hurdle is going to win nationals. I think we have all the tools. We've just got to be smart, stay healthy and keep doing what we're doing and I think good results are going to come up."
Count Braman among the impressed.
"Curtis Beach is the NCAA heptathlon champion and he went head-to-head with him and didn't blink," Braman said. "I was really proud of the way he pounded that 1500, because he could have gone out and just survived it and he nearly had a personal best."
Madzivire and Barroilhet weren't the only winners for the Seminoles.
Senior Amy Harris captured her first ACC Outdoor Championship in the long jump, winning with a leap of 6.43 meters (21-1.25). The `Noles also performed well in the 3000-meter steeplechase as freshman Colleen Quigley and graduate student Astrid Leutert finished second and third in 10:02.53 and 10:07.20, respectively.
Chelsea Whalen was fifth in the shot put and Lauren Giffin was seventh in the pole vault for the FSU women, who are in fifth place with 34 points, but just five points out of second place entering the final day.
If the FSU men are going to erase the deficit they will have to get it done with big performances in the 100 and 200, where they qualified three runners in each event. They will also need a win from freshman and indoor champion Stephen Newbold in the 400, where he qualified No. 1.
Michael Fout and Breandan O Neill are also scheduled to go in the 5000 meters.
They will need more on Saturday, where foul weather has led ACC officials to push the start of competition back to 10 a.m.
You can follow all of the action via Twitter @FSU_Track and catch up with a complete recap at the end of each day at Seminoles.com.
Additional coverage, including live streaming Friday and Saturday, will be available here http://bit.ly/2012ACCOTF, and live results throughout the meet can be monitored at http://bit.ly/2012ACCOTF-Results.