NOTRE DAME, Ind.体育在线365 - With one of the most dominant closing day performances in the program’s rich championship history, the ninth-ranked Florida State men won their 13th ACC Indoor Track & Field Championship Saturday in an unexpected runaway.
Entering the final day with a one-point lead over Virginia and a five-point edge over pre-meet favorite Virginia Tech, the Seminoles dropped 40 points on the field after the first two events were scored and never looked back.
体育在线365The Noles established post-expansion ACC indoor records for the most points (140) and margin of victory (31) as they overwhelmed the runner-up Hokies.
“I truly thought we had no change to win the men’s title after Day 1,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “But then we dropped the best Day 2 in my career, and that gave us belief.”
体育在线365And the Noles ran with it.
With Trey Cunningham leading the stellar stable of hurdlers with an ACC record third consecutive title – breaking his own meet record (7.60) in the process – the Noles posted a 1-2-3-7 finish for 26 points in the first scored event of the day at the Loftus Sports Center.
体育在线365“It was a pretty awesome,” Cunningham said, who was joined on the podium by runner-up Caleb Parker and third-place Braxton Canady. “I don’t think any other team can say that, except our long jumpers. It was a great start to the meet and catapulted the team to the title, I think.”
体育在线365The meet wasn’t an hour old when the Noles’ shot put tandem of senior Sanjae Lawrence and sophomore Milton Ingraham finished 2-3 behind season and personal-bests for 14 more points, nearly tripling their projected point total.
体育在线365Lawrence’s bomb of 18.60 meters (61-0.25) was more than a meter better than his previous best with the Noles and moved him to No. 6 on FSU’s all-time list. It came after Ingraham set the tone with his first-round throw of 18.02 (59-1.5), which ranks No. 7 all-time.
On the triple jump runway, Isaac Grimes and Jacore Irving added to the building blowing, with fourth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively.
体育在线365“They kicked off the day and everyone fed off that energy,” Braman said. “Titles are so satisfying. Going from a 30-point underdog to a runaway champion is a truly rare accomplishment.”
The news trickled to the sprinters warming up across the street at the Joyce Center, and further fueled the teams’ final day fire.
体育在线365“When we were over there warming up and found out, we were going crazy, super-hyped and excited,” said senior Kyle Fearrington. “We knew it was our turn.”
SEYMOUR SHINES AGAIN
While the men’s team was on its way to the title, junior Ka’Tia Seymour turned in the finest ACC Indoor Championship performance for a women’s sprinter in memory, successfully defending her 60- and 200-meter titles in lifetime bests. She won the 60-meter title in a facility record time of 7.17, moving into a share of No. 2 on the Noles’ all-time list.
And she wasn’t through. In the 200 final she broke her own FSU record, winning in 22.82 and breaking the ACC Championship and facility record set by Miami’s Shakima Wimbley in 2017. It also secured her double do-over at the NCAA Championships in two weeks. And as an encore Seymour anchored the 4x400 relay to a third place finish, locking up her record third consecutive ACC Championship Track MVP.
体育在线365Not only is Seymour the first woman to win three ACC Indoor Championship Track MVP honors, she joins former FSU men’s star Maurice Mitchell (2010-2012) as just the second of either gender to accomplish the feat.
体育在线365“Ka’Tia is the First Lady of ACC sprints,” Braman said. “She’s dominated for three years and there’s no ceiing too high for her. That 200 on this track is really special.”
Clearly, the meet brings out the best of the diminutive speedster from Palatka, Fla., who has now won five of six possible ACC titles between the 60 and 200 over three seasons.
“I just love championship season,” Seymour said. “It brings the best out of me, knowing that I’m fighting for the team, fighting for a title; it’s really exciting to do this over and over.”
FSU’s women finished sixth overall with 52 points, and were essentially out of the title hunt when fellow junior sprint start Jayla Kirkland was forced to sit out Saturday’s finals for the second consecutive year with an injury.
“It was bittersweet knowing that she wasn’t going to be racing,” Seymour said. “I know how dedicated and how much she wants it, and how much we push each other. I knew without her I had to make myself go out and run fast times because my training partner who helps me run fast was not here.”
Maudie Skyring, Trentorria Green and Jazmyn Dennis also stepped up with big final-day performances. Skyring put defending champion Sarah Edwards of Virginia Tech under fire from the opening gun before finishing second in the mile in 4:37.26; her third personal-best of the season.
Green grabbed silver as well, sailing to an opening-round triple jump mark of 12.94 meters (13-7.25) – seventh-best in Noles history – which stood up throughout the competition.
体育在线365Dennis, a junior transfer from Florida A&M, eclipsed her previous personal-best in the pole vault by two bars and moved to No. 2 on the Noles’ all-time list behind Olympian Lacy Janson with a fourth-place finish in 4.15 meters.
体育在线365“I’m really happy,” Dennis said. “I was clearing 4.50s in warmup so that’s what I was thinking; just don’t change my swing as the bar goes up. That’s why I got over those bars.”
Senior Janae Caldwell added a seventh-place finish in the 400 to account for the balance of the Noles’ 49-point final day; just slightly more than half of the men’s 96-point final day.
Fueled by the fast start by the hurdlers and shot put, the men’s sprint squad was hungry to keep the momentum rolling. But first grad transfer miler Kasey Knevelbaard chipped in a third-place finish to the cause.
体育在线365Fearrington and DaeQwan Butler were next up for the Noles in the 400 and they didn’t disappoint, cranking out personal-bests for the second straight day. Butler collected to his second consecutive ACC silver, busting out the No. 3 400 in school history (46.30), which could land him a spot at the NCAA Championships. Fearrington was seventh in 46.94 to move into the seventh position on the all-time list.
体育在线365Clearly the Noles were feeding off each other, extending what would be an insurmountable lead.
Sophomore sprinter Jhevaughn Matherson, the Noles’ top scorer on the track at the meet, takes special pride in team competition. That’s the environment the Jamaican prep star was raised in.
“The main aim of any team competition is to come out on top, so I’m always willing to put my talents on the track for the team,” Matherson said.
Matherson was disappointed with his third-place 60-meter dash finish (6.63) – freshman teammate Taylor Banks was seventh – and responded with an eye-popping 20.88 200 around the oversized flat track for silver; cracking the Noles’ top-10. Banks bounced back to finish fifth in 21.25.
体育在线365“I fell a little short of my expectations [in the 60] and my main aim was to come out here and get what I wanted in the 200; a sub-21,” Matherson added. “It was motivation.”
Between the two sprints senior Bert Freire, making his first 800-meter final appearance, picked up second-team All-ACC honors with a sixth-place finish in 1:51.02.
The final points of the day came in the final event for the men – the 4x400 relay. With their sights set on an NCAA qualifying mark the team of Fearrington, Canady, Cameron Daniel and Butler blazed to a season-best time of 3:07.53 for silver and the No. 11 mark nationally at the time. It also ranks ninth in FSU history.
“With all the training and work we put in, going out with a bang means everything to me,” Fearrington said. “It was the perfect cap. We knew it was coming. It was just a matter of when.”
体育在线365From start to finish, Saturday’s timing was perfect.