Jacksonville Sports Day

FSU: Indoor Noles Close With Authority At Wieczorek Invitational

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Carmela Cardama Baez and Peta-Gay Williams set facility records in winning performances Saturday, leading a strong showing by both the Florida State women and men on the final day of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa.

Pulling away late, Cardama Baez ran 9:31.54 to win the women’s 3000-meter run; a personal-best in the redshirt freshman’s track debut for the Seminoles. Williams, a sophomore, edged teammate Nicole Setterington for the 60-meter hurdle title in her season debut, sailing to victory in a lifetime-best 8.24. Her time ranks ninth nationally and is fifth-fastest in FSU history.

Setterington matched her career-best (8.28) to finish second and move into 12th on the national list.IMG_9084 (2)

It was that kind of day for the Seminoles as the women and men scored four victories each in the four-team meet and combined for 15 new personal-best performances. Additionally, four FSU women and two men authored new entries on the school’s all-time top 10 list.

“I was pleased with overall team effort,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We weren’t trying to score points, just compete hard and move up the national lists. Almost no one doubled unless it was for development purposes.

“This was a quality show on a world-class facility. Big props to the Hawkeyes for setting it up.”

The Noles didn’t do poorly in the team scoring either, with the men rallying from Friday’s fourth-place standing to finish second with 123.5 points. Iowa won with 148.5. FSU’s women climbed from fourth to third on the final day, finishing behind the host Hawkeyes (168) and Iowa State (123) with 116 points.

Claiming the top two spots in the women’s 60-meter hurdles certainly didn’t hurt the comeback cause.

“Our lady hurdlers really appear to be a month ahead of last year and coach [Brandon] Hon may ge two national qualifiers out of PG and Nicole,” Braman offered.

For the second consecutive day the Seminole throwers provided the jump-start.

Gleneve Grange and Kellion Knibb produced a 1-2 shot put finish in Saturday’s opening event.

Grange, who made her FSU debut a week ago with the No. 5 mark in program history, was even better in the circle. Two of her five throws were even better, including a second attempt bomb of 16.11 meters (52-10.25), which vaulted her to No. 3 all-time among Seminoles and from No. 21 to No. 13 nationally.

Knibb, who surrendered the No. 3 spot to her fellow Jamaican, offered up a best of 15.02m (49-3.5) in her first competition since the discus at the Rio Olympic Games.

“Gleneve is such a great athlete,” Braman said. “She’s not even a shot specialist and now she’s No. 3 all-time. Kellion was also very good, especially for a season-opener.”

Austin Droogsma kept the string of personal-bests going for the throws group, when his second attempt of the afternoon carried 18.22 meters (59-9.5), vaulting him past teammate Emmanuel Onyia into the No. 5 position on FSU’s all-time list.

It marks the first time the Seminoles have had two 18-meter shot putters on the same indoor roster since throws coach Dorian Scott teamed with a freshman named Garrett Johnson in 2003.

“What a great job by Austin,” Braman said. “he’s still getting back into form after missing last year to injury. Coach Scott continues to move his kids to the top of the ACC rankings. The key for us will be to get them all to be great on the same day. That’ll be big ACC points.”

Droogsma’s mark gives the Noles the top two spots among ACC throwers, and even more promising, moved him into 14th place nationally on the NCAA list.

FSU’s top sprinters made significant progress, especially in the 60-meter dash, where both the men and women advanced three to the finals.

Shauna Helps finished second in the final with a career-best time of 7.42 – climbing one spot to No. 9 on FSU’s all-time list – behind post-collegian Lake Kwaza (7.39).

Darryl Haraway powered his way to a lifetime-best 6.65 in the men’s final, which ties him for the eighth-fastest nationally and puts him at the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference. And while Haraway broke the facility record, so did Northern Iowa’s Brandon Carnes, who won with the No. 2 time nationally (6.59).

“Coach [Ricky] Argro really had his guys ready in the 60-meter dash, especially Darryl,” Braman said.

Sophomore Armani Wallace finally cracked FSU’s top-10 triple jump list, claiming the title with a leap of 15.58 meters (51-1.50) to take over 10th place.

Back on the track, huge moves off the final curve propelled Steven Simpkins and Harry Mulenga to victories. Simpkins claimed the 400-meter title in 48.76, running down Iowa State’s Derek Jones (48.83) at the line.

Mulenga brought the crowd at the UI Recreation Building to its feet for the final lap of the men’s 3000, as he closed in 27.9 over the final 200 to edge home team favorite Adam Jones 8:21.31-8:21.49 to complete the gender sweep in the longest distance race for the Noles.

“I thought top to bottom, coach Kellly Phillips ladies ran tough,” Braman said, after watching Cardama Baez lead five of her teammates; four of which registered personal-bests. “In a lot of ways it was more like a time trial – with our kids doing all the work.

“In the men’s race we got some good old-fashioned banked board racing. Time didn’t matter, but was a true gut-check and Harry’s 27.9 on the last lap was nice.”

Both Cardama Baez and Mulenga climbed to No. 2 in the ACC this season.

Freshman Humberto Freire backed up his runner-up 800-meter finish last week at Clemson with a victory, commanding the race from the start and posting a personal-best to win in 1:52.20.

“We got great efforts from Simpkins and Freire,” Braman said. “Those are two fearless freshmen. Now we have to get them to take the next step and be an ACC factor. In five weeks we’ll get there, for sure.”

The Seminoles will return to action next Friday and Saturday at Clemson for the Bob Pollock Invitational.

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