June 27, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Cal. - Kala Funderburk had to wait an entire season to put on a Florida State uniform for the first time, after transferring from Memphis. She won't have to wait long to wear it again. Funderburk advanced to semifinals of the 400-meter dash at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Thursday night, posting a lifetime-best mark of 51.87, to qualify automatically with a fourth-place finish in the first heat.
The St. Petersburg, Fla. native, who will be a junior next season for the `Noles, posted the seventh-fastest time from the three-heat field of 16. In the process, she climbed to No. 3 on Florida State's all-time list, trailing only record-holder Martia Payne (49.91) and Sheryl Covington (51.85), whose standards were set in 1984 and 1994, respectively.
"She ran a very mature race, executed the race plan and moved on to the semis in the biggest meet of her life," FSU associate head coach Ken Harnden said. Funderburk, who attended Lakewood High and spent two seasons at Memphis, came into the meet with the 14th-fastest mark in the field after running 51.94 at the Florida Relays while competing unattached earlier this year.
She will take to the track at Hornet Stadium for Friday's semifinal, set for 10:35 p.m. (ET), looking to earn a spot in Saturday's final.
While Funderburk was enjoying the fruits of her labor, Dentarius Locke was not as fortunate. Coming off a second consecutive runner-up finish in the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Locke's day came to a close just 25 meters into his preliminary heat, as he collapsed on the track grabbing his leg.
"Dentarius was fighting cramps from the start of his warm-up," Harnden said. "He really wanted to show big at this meet, so it was very disappointing."
In addition to the USA Outdoor Championships, Florida State will be represented at the Jamaican Senior Championships, the Bahamas Senior Championships and the Canadian Championships this weekend. Sophomore Kellion Knibb, the Jamaican national record holder in the discus, will try and earn a spot on her country's Commonwealth Games team Friday in Kingston. Freshman Nicole Setterington is the No. 7 seed in the 100-meter hurdles at the Canadian Championships and will compete Saturday. Alonzo Russell is entered in the 400 this weekend at the Bahamas Senior Championships.