There is garnet and gold hue to the 2020 ACC Indoor Track & Field season-ending awards as Florida State claimed four of the league’s eight honors, as announced Wednesday following a vote of the conference coaches.
Ka’Tia Seymour and Trey Cunningham were selected as the Track Performers of the Year, for the women and men, respectively, while Taylor Banks was honored as the Freshman of the Year for the men. And after guiding the men to the 13th ACC Indoor title in program history, Bob Braman was tabbed as Coach of the Year.
Seymour is just the second woman to repeat as the Indoor Track Performer of the Year, joining former Clemson star Brianna Rollins. Continuing her three-year reign over the conference in short sprints, the junior Palatka, Fla., successfully defended her ACC 60- and 200-meter dash titles, setting personal-bests and Notre Dame Loftus Center facility records by running 7.17 and 22.82, respectively.
Her anchor leg on the Noles’ third-place 4×400 relay sealed a place in history as Seymour became the first woman to hoist the ACC Championship Track MVP trophy for a third time.
“This is such an incredible accomplishment for Ka’Tia,” Braman said of Seymour, who was a top-six NCAA Indoor Championships qualifier in both events. “She has a chance to be a three-time ACC Performer of the Year and historically set a standard that no one else has ever reached.”
Cunningham capped a remarkable junior season with his first Indoor Track Performer of the Year award. Top-ranked nationally and unbeaten against collegiate competition in the 60-meter hurdles, the Winfield, Ala. native became the first man to win three consecutive ACC hurdles titles, breaking his own championship record (7.60) to help the Nole to their third consecutive team title.
Along the way he twice broke the ACC and FSU records, highlighted by his 7.51 at the Tiger Paw Invitational.
“Trey is making history every year in the ACC and this honor was no-brainer for all the voters,” Braman said. “He’s simply our most elite track athlete in the ACC.”
Both Seymour and Cunningham were recently honored as South Region Track Performers of the Year.
Banks, a sprinter from Miramar, Fla., became the third consecutive Nole to be selected Freshman of the Year. A two-event scorer in FSU’s ACC Championship run, he qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter dash with a personal-best time of 6.61, which was second-fastest among first-year collegians.
“Taylor had a storybook freshman season that was only missing the final chapter – first team All-American,” Braman said. “He joins some of the greatest Noles ever in winning this award.”
Rafeeq Curry, Walter Dix and Gonzalo Barroilhet, each former Freshman of the Year recipients, went on to claim NCAA titles during their careers.
Braman was selected by his peers after the Noles piled up 140 points at the ACC Championships to finish 31 in front of runner-up Virginia Tech. Both the point total and margin of victory were the largest since the ACC expanded prior to the 2014 season.
“We had one of our finest ACC Championships ever turning a 30-plus point underdog into a 30-plus point championship team,” Braman said. “I’m blessed with an incredibly talented coaching staff who simply got the best out of our athletes.”
It was Braman’s third consecutive and ninth all-time Men’s Indoor Coach of the Year honor, tying Clemson’s Bob Pollock for the most in conference history. The 2020 South Region Coach of the Year now owns 25 ACC Coach of the Year awards between the indoor, outdoor and cross country seasons.
“Over the years the only credit I deserve is for being smart enough to hire the best coaches in the country,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be along for the ride.”
And what a ride it was for the indoor Noles, despite the abbreviated conclusion to the season.