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.
“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.”
And the Noles ran with it.
With Trey Cunningham leading the stellar stable of hurdlers with a record third consecutive title – breaking his own meet record (7.60) – 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.
“It was a pretty awesome,” Cunningham said. “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.”
A short time later FSU’s 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.
“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.”
While the men’s team was on its way to the title, Ka’Tia Seymour turned in the finest ACC Indoor Championship performance for a women’s sprinter, successfully defending her 60- and 200-meter titles in lifetime bests. She won the 60 in a facility record (7.17), then broke her own FSU record in the 200 (22.82), setting the facility and ACC Championship record as well.
As an encore she anchored the 4×400 relay to a third-place finish, locking up her record third consecutive ACC Championship Track MVP.
“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.”
In their first true road game of the season, the Seminoles survived a pitcher’s duel against the Razorbacks as No. 8 Florida State (10-5) defeated No. 21 Arkansas (14-4) by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night in front of nearly 2,000 people at Bogle Park.
“Another tough-fought win tonight,” said FSU coach Lonni Alameda. “Caylan set the tone in the circle for us and we came through with some key hits to get the win. Outstanding atmosphere here tonight and loved all the experience we gained in a close ballgame in front of a hostile crowd. One more game tomorrow morning and we’re looking forward to close out the weekend on a good note.”
The Seminoles struck first in the top of the second inning as Cassidy Davis drew a walk and was replaced at first base on a fielder’s choice by Elizabeth Mason. Josie Muffley hit her fourth double of the season off the wall in left center to score Mason and put FSU up 1-0.
Florida State threatened in the third inning as Kiersten Landers led off with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third with nobody out on an Arkansas error. Landers was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Sydney Sherrill, and the next two batters were retired to end the inning.
Arkansas got a leadoff single from Valerie Ventura to start the bottom of the third and she moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt. A walk by FSU starting pitcher Caylan Arnold put a pair of runners on base, but she struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
FSU added another run in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 2-0 game. Dani Morgan reached on an error by the Arkansas shortstop and scored on an RBI double by Mason.
After a leadoff single to begin the bottom of the sixth inning, Kathryn Sandercock entered to relieve Arnold in the circle. An infield single, followed by a wild pitch and an FSU throwing error allowed Arkansas to score a run. Sandercock got out of the inning with a fly out and a groundout to keep the Seminoles in front, 2-1.
Arnold allowed one unearned run on four hits and just one walk over 5.0 shutout innings. Arnold has not allowed an earned run in her last 9.1 innings and has 14 strikeouts over that span.
The Razorbacks got a runner in the bottom of the seventh with a one-out infield single, but Sandercock retired the next two batters to secure the win and earn her first save of the season. The sophomore finished with two hits over 2.0 innings of relief with one walk and one strikeout.
The Seminoles will close out the Wooo Pig Classic on Sunday, taking on Villanova at 11 a.m.
FSU women’s basketball
The 19th-ranked Florida State Women’s Basketball team hosts Notre Dame in its regular-season finale on Sunday at 2 p.m. Fans can “Pack The Tuck for a Buck” on Senior Day with tickets costing just $1 for the key matchup.
Fans are also invited to join the pre-game festivities with the Party on the Plaza that goes from Noon-2 p.m. and includes food and drink specials, bounce houses, face painting and more.
FSU will honor the outstanding careers of Nicki Ekhomu, Kiah Gillespie and Nausia Woolfolk. Last year, FSU did not have a senior class. The senior introductions begin at 1:41 p.m.
The senior group of Woolfolk (13.8 ppg), Gillespie (15.3) and Ekhomu (15.3) have proven to be one of the best senior trios in the country. All three players rank in the Top 15 in the ACC in overall scoring, making FSU the only ACC team with three in the Top 15.
The FSU seniors are each 1,000-point scorers in their collegiate careers. Ekhomu’s 1,365 points are tied for 14th at FSU and Woolfolk’s 1,134 are 27th. Gillespie has a combined 1,265 (305 at Maryland and 960 at FSU).
The seniors account for nearly 60 percent (59.9) of the team’s scoring and 60.3 percent of its made field goals this season.
Several scenarios are in play for the Seminoles (22-6, 11-6) in the upcoming ACC Tournament. Following Sunday’s game vs. the Fighting Irish (12-17, 7-10), FSU can be as high as a No. 3 seed or as low as a No. 6 seed.
FSU is seeking what could be its fifth double bye in the ACC Tournament in the last six seasons with a win on Sunday.
The Seminoles are 0-9 all-time against Notre Dame, with both teams facing every year since Notre Dame joined the ACC in the 2013-14 year. Despite a loss to the Irish in its last visit on Jan. 28, 2018, FSU set an attendance record with 9,498 fans.
FSU swimming and diving
The No. 14 Florida State men’s swimming and diving team capped off the 2020 ACC Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center by adding bronze in the 400 free relay after freshman Peter Varjasi won silver in the 100 free.
The team of senior Vladimir Stefanik, sophomore Jakub Ksiazek, Varjasi and sophomore Max McCusker turned in FSU’s fourth NCAA automatic standard at 2:50.54.
The bronze was the fifth relay medal of the meet, marking the first time since 2009 all five relays stood on the podium in a single ACCs.
Stefanik led off with his fastest 100 free ever, touching in at 42.90, which is the sixth fastest time in school history. The Varin, Slovakia, native established his best in prelims of the individual at 43.11 and kept getting faster as the day went on.
Ksiazek took over the second leg, swimming the fastest split of the four at 42.22, keeping FSU in contention for a medal. Varjasi battled with Louisville and Virginia going third, however McCusker’s 42.39 on the anchor held off the Cavaliers, giving the Noles the bronze.
Varjasi took his second individual medal of the meet, touching in for silver by one one-hundredth at a career best of 42.68, which ranks as the fifth fastest time in FSU history.
Florida State finished the meet in fifth place with a total of 812.5, passing No. 18 Notre Dame in the last event.
“We had a great finish to a great week of racing,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “We’re really excited that we have all five relays heading to NCAAs along with some good individuals. It was an awesome effort to pass Notre Dame at the end in the team race, that was very satisfying.”
FSU beach volleyball
The third-ranked Florida State beach volleyball team (9-0) went 2-0 on day one of the Hilton Head Island Invitational. FSU defeated two ranked teams, including a 4-1 win over No. 10 Grand Canyon (4-1) and a 5-0 win over No 17 South Carolina (1-4).
No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 10 Grand Canyon
Florida State started the weekend off with a hard-fought 4-1 win over No. 10 Grand Canyon. The Noles took points from pairs one through four.
The match started with pairs four, five and six on court first. The Noles jumped out to early leads from pairs four and six in the first sets. Those then turned into the first points for the Noles. Sophomore Lexi McKeown and junior Ashley Robert grabbed the exhibition court with a score of 21-13, 23-21. Senior Payton Caffrey and freshman Liz Waters-Leiga were the first pair to get the Noles on the board. They dominated Natalie Honzovicova and Katie Hess of Grand Canyon, winning 21-9, 21-11.
Grand Canyon bounced back taking the point from the fives pair of Jenna Johnson and Keara Rutz 21-18, 21-18.
The second wave of matches began as all three courts were highly contested. Senior Molly McBain and junior Alaina Chacon got the lead back for the Noles as they took court one in straight sets, 21-19, 21-17.
The rest of the match would not go without some drama as juniors Madison Fitzpatrick and Alice Zeimann would go on to three sets. They would lose the first set 21-18 before coming back to take the second set in extra points 22-20. The third set would be more of the same as FSU and GCU exchanged points until Fitzpatrick and Zeimann would clinch the match for the Noles with a 16-14 third set win.
Court three was a lot of the same. Sophomore Kate Privett and freshman Maddie Anderson got out to an early lead with a 21-13 first set win. They would not be as fortunate in the second set, losing 26-24. They were then forced into extra points in the final set as well, before going on to win 17-15.
No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 17 South Carolina
Florida State capped off day one of the Hilton Head Island Invitational with their sixth sweep of the season and second over South Carolina.
The Seminoles got their first point of the match on court four as Caffrey and Waters-Leiga remained undefeated on the season, earning a 21-15, 21-11 win on court four. The newly formed pair of Ashley Robert and Morgan Chacon grabbed the second point for the Noles with a three-set win on court five. The duo lost the first set 21-17 before taking the final two sets 21-14, 15-13.
Anderson and Privett would go on to be the first team to finish in the second wave of matches and clinch the match for Florida State. They took the first set 21-12 and the second set 21-19 to give FSU a 3-0 lead. Chacon and McBain earned the Seminoles’ third straight-set win of the match with a 21-16, 21-15 win on court one.
Zeimann and Fitzpatrick capped off play for the day on court two. They took the first set 21-16 and battled to a 22-20 second set victory.
The Noles are back in action tomorrow with two matches to finish the Hilton Head Island Invitational. FSU begins the day at 10:30 am against College of Charleston before wrapping up competition against No. 4 USC at 2:30 pm.
#3 Florida State 4, #10 Grand Canyon 1
1. Alaina Chacon/Molly McBain (FS) def. Bella Bauman/Teagan DeFalco (GCU) 21-19, 21-17
2. Madison Fitzpatrick/Alice Zeimann (FS) def. Jessica Stansfield/Hannah Towne (GCU) 18-21, 22-20, 16-14
3. Maddie Anderson/Kate Privett (FS) def. Anaya Evans/Katie Sarber (GCU) 21-13, 24-26, 17-15
4. Liz Waters-Leiga/Payton Caffrey (FS) def. Natalie Honzovicova/Katie Hess (GCU) 21-9, 21-11
5. Taylor Jarzombek/Madi Relaz (GCU) def. Keara Rutz/Jenna Johnson (FS) 21-18, 21-18
Ext. Lexi McKeown/Ashley Robert (FS) def. Alina Randall/Micaela Mirabel (GCU) 21-13, 23-21
#3 Florida State 5, #17 South Carolina 0
1. Alaina Chacon/Molly McBain (FS) def. Skylar Allen/Katie Smith (SC) 21-16, 21-15
2. Alice Zeimann/Madison Fitzpatrick (FS) def. Carly Schnieder/Jess Vastine (SC) 21-16, 24-22
3. Maddie Anderson/Kate Privett (FS) def. Madison Brabham/Hannah Edelman (SC) 21-12, 21-19
4. Liz Waters-Leiga/Payton Caffrey (FS) def. Avery Davis/Franky Harrison (SC) 21-15, 21-11
5. Ashley Robert/Morgan Chacon (FS) def. Jordan Smith/Morgyn Greer (SC) 17-21, 21-14, 15-13
Ext. Keara Rutz/Jenna Johnson (FS) def. Sarah Nacouzi/Kaeli Crews (SC) 21-13, 21-13