Jacksonville Sports Day

ON TRACK: It’s ‘Nevers’ Too Late For Montel In The Triple Jump

Junior Montel Nevers once again rallied late to earn All-American honors in the triple jump with a sixth-place finish. (Photo by Gary Breedlove)

EUGENE, Ore. – It’s said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Florida State junior Montel Nevers may drive his coach Dennis Nobles crazy, but his habit of starting slowly in the triple jump and rising to the occasion at the last possible opportunity is clearly his formula for success.

In a repeat of the NCAA Indoor Championships, Nevers leaped from 13th-place and into the finals on his third attempt, only this time the outcome was even better.

Producing the first 16-meter effort of his outdoor career, Nevers’ third-attempt mark of 16.05 meters (52-8) sent him rocketing into third place and the transfer from Leeds Beckett University in England hung on for sixth place Friday to close out the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Historic Hayward Field.

“Everyone knows that I save the best for last,” Nevers said. “At national indoors I was in a similar position on my third jump and luckily scraped my way back into the finals. It seems like I need something to push me on to go further.”

Nevers got that push from his teammate Armani Wallace, whose opening leap of 15.97 meters (52-4.75) set the early standard and assured him a place in the finals.

“That definitely helped because I saw my teammate do well,” Nevers said. “I’ve been training with him all year and I know what he can do. I want to set the standard with him as well. Having two Florida State guys in the finals is delightful. Hopefully next year we’ll be faster, stronger, better and be in the real fray in the triple jump.”

While Nevers came up big with his third attempt, Wallace was unable to improve, battling the ever-changing weather conditions which contributed to four fouls on his six attempts. He finished ninth; one spot out of the scoring in his NCAA Championships debut.

“It was hard,” Nevers said. “There was a weather change. It would rain, then it was bit sunny, then cold, then warmer and it was windy. I had to adjustment run-up a lot. Sometimes it went well and sometimes it didn’t.”

“Coach Nobles did a great job with our jumpers,” said FSU coach Bob Braman. “They all competed with fantastic focus. I’m really proud of Montel and Armani. They didn’t let the cold and rain stop them from competing at their best.”

With Nevers’ three-point scoring contribution and two more from freshman long jumper Carlos Becker III, the Seminoles finished with five points and tied for 51st in the final standings.

“I’m frustrated for our men’s team,” said Braman, who brought seven men to the finals but only one with previous experience on the stage. “We’ve improved a ton but only eight score at the National meet. We had two score and three near misses. Now the challenge is to take the next step and compete for individual titles, while greatly increasing our overall scorers. I can definitely see us with eight to 10 scorers next year.”

One of those scoring near-misses was senior Emmanuel Onyia, who closed out his collegiate career by finishing 12th in the discus with a top mark of 56.79 (186-4) in his NCAA Championships debut.

“It was a fun competition,” Onyia said. “I enjoyed every moment of it. I wish it had ended a little differently, but it’s always fun to compete against people who are really, really good. Do I wish I could have one more throw or two more throws? Yes.

“You have to be on your A-game. My [best] throw today would have made any other final in any other collegiate competition. That kind of shows you, if you don’t go out firing your first three throws you’re probably not going to get three more throws.”

“He did a good job and had a real special year,” FSU Throws coach Dorian Scott said of Onyia, who finishes No. 3 on FSU’s all-time discus list. “He came here thinking he was a shot putter and ended up being a national level discus thrower. He kept his calm; kept working through it. Hat’s off to Onyia. That’s big time, switching events and turning it into something real.”

The rainy and cool day did not begin well for the Noles competitively.

Senior Melissa-Maree Farrington’s NCAA Championships debut in the heptathlon ended prematurely as a nagging hip issue led her to withdraw from the competition after posting the 13th-best 100-meter hurdles time (14.08).

“I felt bad for Melissa-Maree,” Braman said. “Getting injured is a cruel and real part of our sport.”

Farrington closed her Seminole career with a pair of ACC heptathlon titles and the No. 2 all-time total in program history.

Graduate senior Ed’Ricus Williams’ first appearance with the Seminoles in the high jump was abbreviated by three misses at the opening bar of 2.08 meters (6-9.75). Williams, a graduate transfer from Bethune-Cookman, entered the competition as the No. 4 seed.

“That’s a real shame for Ed’Ricus,” Braman said. “He never got into a rhythm and we didn’t get to see his best.”

In just one season with the Noles, Williams posted the No. 5 mark in program history with his career-best clearance of 2.22 meters (7-3.25) in a victory at the Tom Jones Memorial.

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