Jacksonville Sports Day

FSU: Droogsma Repeats With Collegiate-Best; Ewers, Wallace Post Top-3 Marks

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Senior Austin Droogsma successfully defended Pepsi Florida Relays shot put title in style Saturday at Percy Beard Stadium, unloading a lifetime-best second attempt of 20.32 meters (66-8) for the win.

Droogsma’s winning throw is the top mark collegiately this season, highlighting a day where the Noles produced three, top-three national performances.

At the Texas Relays, junior transfer Andre Ewers sailed to a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash in a wind-aided time of 10.04, which should stand as the No. 2 time among NCAA Division I sprinters.

Junior Armani Wallace posted the best season-opening triple jump of his career, covering 16.07 meters (52-8.75) to finish three inches behind Florida’s KeAndre Bates (16.14/52-11.5) for top individual honors. Those are the second- and third-best marks collegiately this season.

Droogsma came into the meet with an outdoor-best of 19.70 meters, which was his winning mark at the 2017 Florida Relays, though he had posted an indoor-best of 20.10 meters (65-11.5) at Notre Dame in February.

I really didn’t know how I was going to open up,” Droogsma said. “I had a little hiccup in training this past week, so I was a little uncertain, but I felt good in practice yesterday.

“I just wanted to come out here and work on a couple things. I didn’t really do that, but I hit a big throw…and had three throws over 19.50 for the day. I can’t be mad at that for an opener.”

Droogsma moved to No. 2 on FSU’s all-time list outdoors, passing his coach Dorian Scott (20.21m). He trails only Garrett Johnson (20.84).

“To have done it indoors and now to have done it outdoors is a great thing,” Droogsma said, after eclipsing the 20-meter standard of excellence. “I think we’re in a great spot to continue on with the 20 meter throws throughout the season…

“Hopefully those 20-meter throws will come more readily and continue to get farther and farther.”

As it stands, Droogsma ranks 14th in the World and is the No. 2 American in the shot put. His winning throw also eclipsed the qualifying standard (20.15m) for the June USATF Championships.

Wallace’s top season-opening triple jump mark of his career was also the first time he has ever eclipsed 16 meters in the month of March; no small feat considering the volume of training work he and his jumps group have been under leading up to the meet.

“I actually wanted to start around 16.30 because that’s what I’m capable of,” said Wallace, who also recorded a 16.05-meter mark in his series. “We’ve been training pretty hard…Everything isn’t firing like it was at conference and nationals [indoors]. In reality, where we are in our training, it’s good.”

All three Seminoles advanced to the finals of the men’s triple jump with senior Montel Nevers placing fifth (15.57m/51-1) and Ashton Butler finishing seventh (15.41m/50-6.75). Those too were season-opening best performances.

Gleneve Grange finished second in the women’s invitational shot put, posting a top mark of 16.54 meters (54-3.25), while Ieva Zarankaite was fifth in 15.62m (51-3).

All in all, the Noles enjoyed a strong weekend as they spanned out across the country, competing in four meets in three different time zones.

A recap of Friday’s competition from Florida, Raleigh, Texas and Stanford can be found here:

Love, Seymour Keep Winning; Noles Stockpile Runner-Up Finishes

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