Parker soars into NCAA picture on final day

By Bob Thomas

CLEMSON, S.C. – There was cause for excitement when senior transfer Caleb Parker posted the sixth and final personal-best performance by the top-ranked Florida State men’s indoor track & field team last Saturday at the Bob Pollock Invitational.

Parker, who is ranked second nationally in the 60-meter hurdles behind teammate Trey Cunningham, also appears to be a scoring threat in the high jump. In his season debut in the event the former Southern Miss standout soared to an indoor personal-best of 2.20 meters (7-2.5), which is tied for the seventh-best mark nationally.

Caleb Parker

“Caleb has emerged as a national scorer in the high jump and that’s huge for our title chase,” FSU coach Bob Braman said.

Dueling head-to-head with Georgia’s Darius Carbin – ranked third nationally – Parker cleared 2.20 on his final attempt, forcing the Bulldog to match him. Carbin did on his final attempt, then sailed over 2.23 (7-3.75) on his first attempt to seal the win.

While the 11th-ranked Seminole women added four personal-best marks on the day, their first 4×400 competition of the season produced the only other mark of national significance. FSU’s team of Janae Caldwell, Ka’Tia Seymour, Kimmie Cunningham and Karimah Davis ran 3:37.66, finishing second behind Georgia (3:36.07).

The fastest time by an FSU quartet since 2015 stands seventh on the Noles’ all-time list, but more importantly ranks fifth nationally.

“The ladies did a nice job,” Braman said. “We wanted to run fast enough to make the fast heat at ACC’s and that will easily do it.”

Senior Nadia Maffo put herself on the fringe of an NCAA Championship qualifying mark with a new personal best in the weight throw. The Italian national athlete unleashed a sixth-round throw of 20.47 meters (67-2), which stands 19th on the NCAA descending order list. She ranks third all-time in the event in school history.

She finished second to Auburn’s Madi Malone (21.46m/70-5), who ranks sixth nationally.

Caleb Parker is ranked second nationally in the 60-meter hurdles behind teammate Trey Cunningham.
Photo special to the Outlook