COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Ngonidzashe Makusha picked the perfect time to unleash his best long jump of the 2011 indoor track season. And now the Florida State men’s track performer is an NCAA champion.
Makusha leapt to a season- and collegiate-best distance of 26-8 1/2 in the men’s long jump final Friday in the first of two days of the Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Makusha’s performance early in the day helped set the tone for an FSU men’s squad that is in position to potentially finish in the top three when all events conclude on Saturday. Like the men, the Seminole women also had an impressive day at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
Senior jumper Kim Williams added to her FSU resume with an All-American performance in the women’s long jump. Her distance of 21 feet was good enough for second.
After both advancing out of the men’s 200m dash preliminaries, junior Maurice Mitchell — who had already qualified for Saturday’s 60m final earlier in the day — and senior Brandon Byram finished in spots two and three to capture All-American honors. Mitchell ran the final 200m in 20.41 and Byram did it in 20.64.
“We had a phenomenal day as a program, particularly on the men’s side,” Florida State coach Bob Braman said. “Maurice ran a huge lifetime best in the prelims in the 60m then in that 200 he was just two one-thousandths away from a championship. Makusha did an incredible job.”
The men’s 60m dash saw Mitchell earn a second-place mark on a day-two qualifying time of 6.55.
Sophomore distance runner Amanda Winslow placed sixth in the one-mile run with a time of 4:38.30, a mark that was good enough to qualify for Saturday’s final.
In the women’s 60m dash, freshman Marecia Pemberton crossed the finish line with a time of 7.27 for 11th place.
Senior Pasca Cheruiyot finished with a ninth-place finish in the women’s 5000m final while junior Amy Harris came in 15th in the women’s long jump final.
Saturday will not only see Mitchell go for gold in the 60m and Winslow do the same in the one-mile run. Williams and junior Michelle Jenije will compete in the women’s triple jump.
Cheruiyot will also cap off her stellar FSU career by running in the women’s 3000m.
Byram, Brian Chibudu, Phillip Young and Brandon O’Conner will finish the weekend by competing in the 4x400m men’s relay.