May 5, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Michael Putman headed to Clemson this weekend with designs on earning an NCAA East Regional qualifying mark in the discus. Somewhat surprisingly, the Florida State senior departed Saturday's Bob Pollock Invitational with the 42nd-best shot put mark in the region; good enough at this point to get him into the field for the May 24-26 meet at UNF.
Just two weeks into his comeback from thumb surgery, Putman made his outdoor season-debut at the Rock Norman Track & Field Complex and won both the shot put and discus. While the wins are nice, they aren't nearly as important as posting one of the top 48 marks in an event. That's the number of athletes who qualify in each event for the NCAA East Regional, the pathway to the NCAA Championships.
Putman had not initially planned to throw the shot put, but as a late entry, he used his sixth and final throw to post a winning toss of 17.00 meters (55-9.25). That made for a productive weekend, especially after his winning discus toss of 48.52m (159-2) is significantly shorter than what he'll need to get into the postseason field.
"Mike's progress has been coming along," FSU associate head coach Harlis Meaders said. "He's been working hard and getting better and was cleared to throw. We only had one day of practice last week with the shot put. It was a pleasant surprise. We hope that mark will hold up (for a regional berth), he can advance from regionals and we can get a couple more weeks of practice before nationals.
"The discus was a little bit harder to hold."
Putman will have one more week to try and earn a regional mark and will likely compete at Georgia Tech next weekend. He has qualified for the NCAA Championship meet in both the shot put and discus each of the last two years.
First-year Seminole women's distance runners Aubree Worden and Linden Hall made bold moves up the regional 1500-meter rankings with their 1-2 finish Saturday. Worden, a freshman, won the race with a lifetime best time of 4:19.02, rocketing her to 15th in the regional rankings. Hall followed in 4:22.84, which currently stands 44th in the region.
Sophomore Stefan Brits, competing in just his second meet as he rehabs from a lingering hamstring injury, likely extended his first season with the Seminoles after leaping 7.45 meters (24-5.50) in the long jump. Brits finished seventh in a deep and talented field, which saw teammate Phillip Young post a season-best leap of 7.64 (25-0.75), which pushed him to a No. 7 regional ranking.
"Stefan has been coming off the injury and been training the right way," Meaders said. "Things are starting to look positive for him."
They weren't the only Seminoles to post season-best standards. Maurice Mitchell ran 10.15 in a wind-aided 100-meter dash and was followed by Horatio Williams (10.19), improving to fifth and eighth among East Regional sprinters. David Ambler also came up with a season-best of 10.37, which moved him into the top 30 in the region.
"Overall the meet was a success," Meaders said. "After the ACC Championship and a week of finals we were glad to get back on the track and get going toward the next goal of qualifying athletes for the NCAA Championship."
The Seminoles stacked up several other victories during the meet as Michelle Jenije used her sixth and final attempt in the triple jump to cover 13.29m (43-7.25) and win. Amy Harris was victorious in the long jump (6.32m/20-9) and Chelsea Whalen captured the javelin (44.92m/147-4). Horatio Williams won the 200-meter dash in 20.70.
Freshman Briana Cherry-Bronson closed out her first season with a runner-up finish in the hammer, posting a career-best of 50.20m (164-8).
On the men's side, Gonzalo Barroilhet didn't win the 110-meter hurdles, but his second-place finish in 13.81 marked his fastest time in the event since 2008. Barroilhet, who is a lock for the NCAA Championship in the decathlon, continued his preparation with solid performances in the discus (45.89/150-7) and shot put (14.17/46-6).
"It was a good run for Gonzalo," Meaders said. "He actually hit one hurdle, so he thinks he can run faster. He was also very consistent in the throws."
Perhaps most importantly at this juncture of the season, coming away from a meet in good health is critical.
"That's another positive step," Meaders added. "We we got a chance to compete and get better and we came away healthy. [Athletic Trainers] Gwen Davis and Zoila Rivera have done a great job getting the athletes better. They are our coaches of the week."
Williams punches Olympic Games ticket
Former Florida State starter Kimberly Williams can put London on her summer travel itinerary. The most decorated women's track & field athlete in Seminole history won the gold medal in the triple jump Saturday night at the prestigious Jamaican International Invitational with an Olympic A-standard mark of 14.25 meters (46-9). The leap secures the Jamaica native, who still trains in Tallahassee with FSU assistant coach Dennis Nobles, a place on her country's 2012 Olympic team.