May 25, 2007
Gainesville, FL - The Florida State track and field team finishes off day one of the NCAA East Region Championships at Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium on the campus of the University of Florida.
The first event of the day for the Seminoles was the men's hammer throw featuring junior Matt Wernke (Tallahassee, FL) and freshman Travis Whitfield (Jay, FL) from FSU. Wernke threw a personal-best185'9" (56.61m) to place 17th while Whitfield placed173'6" (52.89m) to finish 29th.
The next event was on the track with the men's 4x100m relay prelims. Florida State's No. 1 team in the country of senior Greg Bolden (Morrow, GA), junior Walter Dix (Coral Springs, FL), junior Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, NJ), and freshman Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, VA) posted the fastest time, 39.30, and will advance to the finals on Saturday evening.
Senior Tom Lancashire (Bolton, England) finished the 1,500m prelims in 3:45.70, the third fastest time of the day. In the women's 1,500m prelims, sophomore Susan Kuijken (Nijmejor, Netherlands) ran the fifth fastest qualifying time with her 4:22.51 clock.
Following the 1,500m prelims was the men's 100m hurdles with junior Drew Brunson (Snellville, GA) and sophomore Javier Garcia-Tunon (Miami, FL) representing the garnet and gold. Garcia-Tunon missed qualifying for the finals with a 14.77 time to finish sixth in heat two, while a trip-up prevented Brunson from crossing the line in heat four.
"It was a tough day for Drew [Brunson]," head coach Bob Braman said. "Of all our guys that were on the bubble to get in to the national meet, he was probably the one guy that could have put points on the board more than anybody else."
Men's sprints and hurdles coach Ken Harnden added, "If [Drew] had competed his race today, he would have finished around 13.40 been ranked in the top two in the country right now."
In the field events, senior Matt Hurley (Tallahassee, FL), who regionally qualified with a 17'2.75" (5.25m) height, cleared the bar at 16'1.25" (4.91m) to place 13th.
"I feel bad for Matt [Hurley]," Braman said. "He's a fifth-year senior and it's hard to see him have a rough day like that." In the women's high hurdles, senior Kamilah Salaam (Wilmington, DE) finished fourth in heat two with a 14.01 finish and in the same heat, freshman Valerie Flournoy (Gainesville, FL) crossed the line in 14.60 to place seventh.
Always exciting were the men's 100m prelims with Dix, Bolden, Garvin, and senior Cedric Nabe (Geneva, Switzerland) running for the Seminoles. Dix matched his personal best time of 10.06 which is the same time he ran at the regional meet in 2005 to set the new Florida State school record. Rounding out the qualifiers for FSU was Garvin who ran a personal best 10.21 and Bolden who ran 10.28. Nabe's clock of 10.45 was just three spots shy of the top eight.
Running solo in the men's 400m prelims was national leading Ricardo Chambers (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) who flew past the competition to finish in 45.71 and move onto the finals tomorrow night.
Four ladies competed in the 400m for FSU, but only one advanced to the finals. Senior Alycia Williams' 53.73 time was good for fifth and will move the Palm Coast, Fla., native into the finals. Senior India Pettus (Cleveland, OH) ran 54.65 good for 16th, junior Kandia Batchelor (Tamps, FL) was just behind in 17th with a 54.82 clock and crossing the line in 55.14 for 19-place was senior Dana Massiah (Trinidad and Tobago)
Next up on the track were the 800m prelims. Senior Kenny Jesensky (Orlando, FL) grabbed the eighth-best time to qualify for the finals with a 1:49.05 finish. Red-shirt freshman Stephen Wilson (Brandon, FL) ran 1:53.65 to finish in 28th.
Garcia-Tunon came back to the track to run the 400m hurdles, but his 51.39 was just short of qualifying. Junior Elliott Wood (Sydney, Australia) pushed through to finish 52-flat and place 16th.
Back to the field, freshman Allyn Laughlin (Ambridge, PA) threw a personal best 51'0.25" (15.55m) to place sixth and add three points to the women's score. Senior Sarah Reed came up short with a 11th place throw of 48'9.50" (14.87m), but will return Saturday to compete in the hammer throw.
The final prelim event was the men's 200 meters featuring Dix, Garvin, Clark, and senior Ronald Wright (Baltimore, MD) with three of the four qualifying to the finals. Garvin ran a career-best 20.58 to post the fastest time of the night. Dix's time of 20.67 was four one-thousandths behind Clemson's Travis Padgett to put him in the fourth position, and Clark ran 20.68 to secure the fifth spot.
The last event of the night for Florida State was the women's 5,000m finals with junior Debbie Huss (Wyomissing, PA). Huss qualified for the regional meet at the ACC Championships with a time of 16:44.29 and finished in 17:05.64 for 24th.
"It has been a typical regional meet," Braman said. "We've had some goods and some bads. We had some injuries this season that people are starting to realize now, like Andrew Krumins who wasn't able to run in the 800 today. But we did get Kenny Jesensky through in the 800 and that's big for him. Hopefully Luke Gunn, who is coming back from injury, will come through tomorrow in the steeplechase.
"Watching Michael Ray [Garvin] run a lifetime best in the 100m was pretty exciting and so was the 4x100m. So we had some good things happen to offset the bad and that's usually how it happens. All we can ask for is for people to step-up when it counts."
The Seminoles return on Saturday to compete in the finals for the track events as well as the women's pole vault, women's hammer, women's triple jump, and men's shot put and javelin finals for the field events. Live stats can be found by visiting GatorZone.com or HalfMileTiming.com.