April 29, 2013
PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Florida State men's and women's distance runners made the most of their weekend trip west with a host of personal-best marks Sunday night at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on the Stanford campus.
Of the eight Seminoles who lined up at Cobb Track & Angell Field, five recorded new personal best standards at what is annually one of the nation's finest meets for collegiate and professional distance runners.
"It was a great night," said Florida State women's distance coach Karen Harvey, who saw four of her five athletes post significant breakthroughs. "We came to Stanford with a lot of big goals. Every girl had a big goal. You're a little concerned coming off ACC's, with their energy and emotion, and finals coming up. Nothing fazed these girls."
Sophomore Colleen Quigley got the night going for the Seminoles. Competing in the fast section of the 3000-meter steeplechase, Quigley dropped a nine-second personal-best to place fourth in 9:52.19, earning a USA Championship standard in the process. Her breakthrough performance came just one week after she won the ACC Outdoor Championship steeplechase title in a then-best mark of 10:01.95 and followed up with a second-place finish in the 5000 in a lifetime-best 15:58.90.
"This is the most competitive, high-level race she has ever been in," Harvey said. It was tough for her and to come out with a huge PR and experience that will help her at the NCAA is really big...She really hasn't hit her stride yet. I think there are some pretty big things that are going to happen. This is just the beginning. Timing will be everything."
Not to be outdone, freshman Zak Seddon lowered his lifetime best in the 3000-meter steeplechase to 8:34.42. As one of only three collegiate runners in the fast heat, Seddon ran comfortably just off the lead pack throughout the race and came home in 11th place overall. One week after winning his first ACC title in the steeplechase, the Great Britain native whacked four seconds off his previous career best of 8:38.07 to post the second-fastest time in Division I this season.
"It was a fantastic race for the freshman," FSU head coach Bob Braman said. "He handled himself well against the pros. Zak has a bright future."
Senior Amanda Winslow made the most of her first 1500-meter run of the season, lopping nearly three seconds off her all-time best en route to a seventh-place finish in 4:10.79. One of just five collegiate athletes in a stout field, Winslow ran with the front pack most of the way and came away with the third-fastest NCAA Division I time in the country this season.
Harvey was especially pleased with Winslow's performance, considering the NCAA Indoor Championships runner-up in the mile has yet to delve into serious speed work.
"She really did that off of strength and that's truly exciting," Harvey said. "She went out there and pounded all the way to the end. We talked about it being fast and it not going too soon. She ran smart and she ran 5k-tough. I'm really happy that she came through it healthy."
Freshman Georgia Peel placed 11th in 4:19.62, well off her season-best mark. Former Seminole Violah Lagat, who completed her collegiate eligibility in the fall, placed third with a career-best time of 4:09.17.
Sophomore Linden Hall, competing in section 2 of the 1500, posted her second PR of the season with a finish in 4:19.47.
"Linden didn't feel very good," Harvey said. "She just fought very hard. She didn't have a whole lot to fight for but she kept driving to the line and the reward was a PR."
Junior Kayleigh Tyerman, who finished third in both the 10,000 and 5000 last week at the ACC Championship meet, enjoyed arguably her finest track performance in two seasons with the Seminoles. Cheered on by her family, the Oregon native crashed the 16-minute barrier for the first time in the 5000, placing third in 15:49.07. The mark vaulted her from fourth to second on FSU's all-time list for the distance; just seven seconds off the 10-year-old school record set by Vicky Gill.
"Oh, my gosh," Harvey said. "Talk about nine days of awesomeness. I was the most worried about Kayleigh [coming back from ACC]. `How do you do that?' I'm so happy for her."
Senior Breandan O Neill wasn't quite as fortunate. After successfully defending his ACC 10,000-meter title last week, the standout from Ireland couldn't muster a late surge in section 2 of the 5000, yet still managed a 13:58.99. That should safely secure O Neill a spot in the NCAA East Preliminary meet, should he choose to go that route.
Senior Mike Fout, who has his sights set on a third consecutive NCAA Championship appearance at 10,000 meters, made his debut at that distance in the final race of the night for the Seminoles. With the goal simply to post a time strong enough to secure one of 48 spots in the NCAA East Preliminary field, Fout more than handled his business.
Fout's time of 28:52.77 was good enough to place fifth overall - first among collegians - but more importantly, moved him to No. 1 in the NCAA East rankings.