GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference finished the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on a high note Saturday. Two more student-athletes claimed gold medals and three league teams finished among the top 15 as competition concluded at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Florida State’s Colleen Quigley took the women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase with an ACC record time of 9:29.32, and the Seminoles’ Kala Funderburk – starting in lane eight – captured the women’s 400 meters with a time of 51.67.
The two gold medals – combined with All-America showings by Linden Hall in the 1,500 meters (eighth place), Sage Watson in the 400 hurdles (fourth place) and the 4x400 relay (third place) carried the FSU women to a sixth-place finish in the women’s teams scoring – their highest since 2009.
The Seminoles finished with 35 team points. Notre Dame tied for 13th place with 18 points, and Virginia Tech tied for 15th with 16 points.
With a blazing final lap, Quigley broke away from defending champion, Michigan State’s Leah O’Connor, to claim her first NCAA championship – and her ninth All-American honor - in her final collegiate race. Quigley’s steeplechase win in 9:29.32 was the Seminoles in the event and marked the third-fastest collegiate time in history behind a pair of Olympian Jenny Simpson’s marks.
Funderburk defied the long-standing notion that the 400 cannot be won from the outside lane, patiently waiting to make her move at the 200-meter mark and powering up the homestretch for victory in 51.67. Not only was it the first 400-meter title for the Seminoles since Marita Payne claimed her second in 1984, but it was the first All-American honor in the event since Samantha George’s sixth-place finish in 1999.
The strong finishes by Quigley and Funderburk left the ACC with four gold medals at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships – all by women student-athletes. Virginia Tech’s Irena Sediva took the javelin on Thursday night with an ACC record throw (58.76 meters) on her final attempt, and Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel raced to victory in the 10,000 meters in 33.18.37.
In addition, ACC competitors claimed four bronze medals. In addition to the FSU 4x400 relay team, Virginia Tech’s Hanna Green in the 800 meters (a school-record 2:01. 17) and Louisville’s Emmonnie Henderson in the discus (a school-record 191-5) had third-place finishes on the women’s side, and Virginia’s Filip Mihaljevic placed third in the men’s discus throw (201-1) on Friday.
With the four first-place finishes in Eugene, ACC student-athlete finished the 2015 academic year with gold medals in 16 NCAA individual championship events.