Jacksonville Sports Day

Love Beats Back Rain, Field In Penn Relays Discus Title Defense

Photo by Bob Thomas/FSU

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – On a day when the weather was suited for indoor activities, Florida State junior Shanice Love was the picture of consistency Friday, working from inside the rain washed discus ring at the at the 125th Penn Relays.

Navigating the foul conditions better than her 11 competitors in the championship section, Love successfully defended her title with a winning mark of 58.25 meters (191-1), the No. 3 throw in the meet’s history.

“It wasn’t the best series, with the conditions and everything, but it was just mind over matter during the competition,” said Love, who managed to better her 2018 winning mark by more than two meters.

Her victory is the fourth consecutive by a Florida State athlete in the women’s discus, and the fifth in six years. And it came with three-time Penn Relays champion and meet record-holder Kellion Knibb looking on in support of her fellow Jamaican and former teammate.

Perhaps most importantly, Love’s performance in what at times was a driving rain, distanced her further from the disappointment at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships. Facing similar conditions as one of the top seeds in the field, Love fouled her first two throws and failed to reach the finals.

“It was a challenge; it was a test, knowing that I had been through it at nationals,” Love said. “I didn’t want to make that a replay so I tried to lock things in and at least get a safe throw…It was a good test for what we’ll do when it rains. It was a test to see whether I could overcome rain and bad weather.”

Love, an honor student in accounting, aced the test.

Of the top eight finishers, she was the only athlete with fewer than two fouls. And of her five legal marks, her worst mark (57.16m/187-6) would have won the competition. Worth noting, given the similar conditions to last season’s NCAA Championships, that mark would have also stood as a fourth-place finish.

Love, who has won four of five discus competitions this season and ranks third in the NCAA, will now turn her attention toward the postseason. She will be the favorite to defend her ACC title in two weeks at the University of Virginia, then prepare for the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville.

Still, she was happy to continue the Seminoles’ winning discus ways in the shadow of historic Franklin Field and deliver her teams’ second win of the meet. Veronika Kanuchova won the women’s hammer on Thursday.

“I feel really good to know that I could continue and will continue that winning streak for FSU,” Love said. “I’m very proud to wear that garnet and gold.”

In addition to Love, junior Sanjae Lawrence also had to brave the conditions – and a weather delay – which impacted his competition schedule. A lengthy delay for lightning in the morning men’s college discus, forced him to withdraw and turn his attention to the championships section of the shot put.

Coming off a personal-best performance and a victory at Mt. SAC Relays last week, Lawrence was unable to find his rhythm in the driving rain. He managed to reach the finals with a third-round throw of 17.11 meters, but three consecutive fouls in the finals left him in eighth place.

Saturday’s Penn Relays schedule will include Conor McClain in the college section of the men’s javelin and Brandon Tirado competing against a strong field in the championship hammer field.

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