June 27, 2014
Returning home as her country's national record-holder, Florida State sophomore Kellion Knibb claimed her first Jamaican Senior National Championship in the discus Friday night in Kingston.
Knibb's winning throw of 58.88 meters (193-2) was well off her record-setting mark at the NCAA East Preliminary meet, but more than enough for the 20-year-old to claim the title and gain a measure of revenge in the process.
After a disappointing fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the ACC champion and school record-holder went back to work on familiar turf.
"We just tried to focus on cleaning up things from nationals," FSU throws coach Dorian Scott said. "She handled the pressure well. She got the discus flying nice, and she got a little revenge on her Kent State rival from NCAA's. That's always good."
Knibb defeated long-time rival Danniel Thomas, a sophomore at Kent State, to claim her first national title to go along with the Jamaican national record (61.34m/201-3) she set just a month ago. Thomas got the best of Knibb with her runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship meet.
By winning the title, Knibb secured herself a spot on Jamaica's team at the Commonwealth Games, which will be contested July 23-August 3 at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. The Commonwealth Games bring together competitors from 70 sovereign countries from around the globe every four years.
"She is ranked second in the Commonwealth and we're focused in on that," Scott said. "The goal is to get her a medal."
Back on U.S. soil, FSU junior Kala Funderburk came within a whisker of matching her preliminary round performance in the 400-meter dash during Friday's USA Outdoor Championships semifinals at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Cal.
Competing against a loaded field in the first of two heats, Funderburk placed fifth in 51.89, and one spot away from advancing to Saturday's final. The transfer from Memphis who redshirted this past season for the Seminoles, posted the eighth-fastest time of the night between the two semifinal heats and was the third-fastest collegian in a field which included 10 women representing their colleges.
"I'm very happy with Kala," FSU associate head coach Ken Harnden said. "She ran two one-hundredths off her PR from (Thursday) and gave a great effort in a tough semi. She is really learning the event and I expect big things from her this summer and next year."
At least two more Seminoles will compete in national competition this weekend. Freshman Nicole Setterington is the No. 7 seed in the 100-meter hurdles at the Canadian Nationals, where she will compete in the preliminary rounds Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick. Senior Alonzo Russell will also compete at the Bahamas Senior Championships in the 400.