Tampa Bay Sports Day

RIO: FSU’s Williams Seventh; Hall, Lagat Narrowly Miss 1500 Final

On Sunday night’s world stage, four Florida State alumni measured themselves impressively against the best at Olympic Stadium.

Kimberly Williams’ second Olympic appearance in the triple jump final produced a seventh place finish for the Jamaican star and five-time NCAA champion for the Seminoles.

Facing arguably the greatest triple jump field in track & field history, Williams’ sixth attempt of the night was not only her best – 14.53 meters (47-8) – but equaled her second-best performance in seven years of competition against the world’s best. Only her personal-best of 14.62 (47-11.75) in a fourth-place finish at the 2013 IAAF World Championships is better.

“Kimmi did a wonderful job but this was the best field ever in the women’s triple jump,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said. “She was only three inches off her lifetime-best. It was a quality seventh-place finish, for sure.”

Hoping to improve on her sixth-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics, Williams climbed as high as fourth through three rounds, but could not make headway against a field which saw Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen win with a leap of 15.17 meters.

The highly-anticipated men’s 100-meter dash final – won for a third consecutive Games by Usain Bolt – went off without Marvin Bracy. The first-time Olympian representing the United States was uncharacteristically last out of the blocks in the first semifinal heat and was unable to recover, finishing sixth in 10.08.

“I didn’t go out and get the job done as I expected,” Bracy said. “I’m still holding my head high and I’m still confident in myself and I’ll definitely be back.”

Bracy’s Olympics aren’t over as he is scheduled to compete on the USA 4×100 relay, which will compete in round one on Thursday, with the final set for Friday.

“Marvin ended up 14th in the World so it’s hard to be too disappointed, but I know he wanted to go sub-10 and make the final,” Braman said. “It’s been an amazing year for him, and remember just how young he is [22]. He’s got a couple more Olympic teams in him I’m sure.”

A pair of former teammates – Linden Hall and Violah Lagat – came tantalizingly close to reaching the 1500-meter final.

With the top five in each semifinal heat, plus the next two fastest advancing to the finals, Hall and Lagat positioned themselves brilliantly in their Olympic debuts.

Hall drew heat 1, which proved to be the fastest, and the three-time All-American representing Australia proved she belonged. In the mad dash to the finish off the final curve, Hall cross in 4:05.81 for eighth place. In the end, she came up .21 shy of the final qualifying spot on time.

“Linden did a great job,” Braman said of the 2015 FSU grad. “She was in a loaded heat and just missed the final by .21. She’s had an amazing year and will only get better in the next 5-10 years.”

Like Hall, Lagat positioned herself perfectly in the top five throughout heat 2. With 100 meters to go the two-time FSU All-American, representing Kenya, was fifth, only to be out-kicked by Sweden’s Meraf Bahta down the stretch for sixth place in 4:06.83.

“Linden and Violah finished with the 12th and 14th fastest times which is pretty good stuff from first-time Olympians,” Braman added. “They’re two of the best in the world and they were teammates at Florida State with Colleen Quigley. That’s pretty hard to fathom. It’s just a ‘Wow’ thought.”

Quigley and current Seminole Kellion Knibb will take center stage Monday, the fourth day of track & field competition.
In her Olympic debut, Quigley has advanced to the 10:15 a.m. 3000-meter steeplechase final on the strength of her strong fourth-place heat finish Saturday.

“I definitely pulled the hardest heat {Saturday], like I did at the US Trials, but that’s okay; it’s good practice,” said Quigley, who was 12th at last year’s IAAF World Championships on the heels of her NCAA title. “I know I’m in shape to PR, so I hope it’s a good race on Monday. Historically, I don’t feel great in the prelims and actually feel better in the final, so I’m hoping for that.”

Knibb, the 2016 NCAA runner-up in the discus, will compete in Group B of the qualifying round.