April 25, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Kellion Knibb's sixth and final throw in Friday's championship section of the discus at the Penn Relays first prompted the Florida State sophomore to blurt out - in her rich Jamaican accent - "Shewwwwt!"
Knibb may not have been pleased with how the discus felt leaving her hand, but the crowd gathered at the throws facility outside Franklin Field knew they were witnessing something special.
"She threw it and it didn't feel good and it just kept carrying, and carrying," Florida State throws coach Dorian Scott said. "The crowd started going crazy and she started smiling like, `I can't believe it went so far.'
"It was a nice throw. It looked really special compared to everything else for the day."
By the time Knibb's final toss touched down, it had covered 56.49 meters - 185-feet, 4-inches; nearly three meters further than the runner-up. Not only had the two-time ACC champion produced the fourth longest throw in the history of the Penn Relays, which dates to 1895, but she smashed her own Florida State record by nearly three feet.
Knibb's victory, just six days after claiming her second consecutive ACC championship, came as something of a surprise based on her warm-up prior to the start of the competition.
"She looked tired and real lethargic," Scott said. "Her stand throws weren't the greatest. ... That (win) should give her a lot of confidence."
It was something of a breakthrough day for Knibb, who performed in front of a large contingent of fellow Jamaicans, many of whom come to Penn Relays annually to represent their high schools and colleges in what is the largest and one of the most prestigious track & field meets in the United States.
"In their minds, especially the ones that just came over, it's like a national championship among themselves," Scott said of the proliferation of Jamaicans competing at the meet. "If you're Jamaican and in school in the States, you want to put on a good show at Penn Relays. They put a lot of pressure on themselves."
A year ago, Knibb fouled all three of her throws at the meet, perhaps a victim of that pressure.
Scott, a two-time Olympian representing Jamaica in the shot put, is equally proud of his first Penn Relays champion.
"This (win) is a big deal for her," he said. "I know she's loving it."
Knibb is the first Seminole to win an individual event at the Penn Relays since Kimberly Williams claimed her fifth consecutive triple jump title back in 2009; a streak that included three titles as a Jamaican high schooler.
"In high school we always looked forward to it because we'd get to compete against the top Jamaican schools and also the American schools," said Williams, who won multiple NCAA championships at FSU and most recently claimed a bronze medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. "The level of competition was always up there. We'd just get excited to get out of the country and compete.
"The media is there and you have people from all over there. There are a lot of Jamaicans there as well, so you just want to show off your talent; show the Jamaicans who are not in Jamaica what they're missing."
Knibb wasn't the only Jamaican Seminole to perform well Friday at Penn Relays. Freshman Chad DaCosta, competing in the college division of the men's discus, placed second with a lifetime best mark 54.99 meters (180-5). That mark moved him to No. 6 on the all-time list at Florida State.
On Thursday, senior Chelsea Whalen scored a silver medal finish in the women's championship section of the javelin with a throw of 49.71m (163-1), while Briana Cherry-Bronson placed ninth in the hammer, narrowly missing her personal-best mark with a throw of 54.32m (178-2).