Dec. 1, 2004
What reflections do you have looking back at your first year with the program?
On a national level, it was great to see how our group developed. The natural progression of our squad despite having injuries was very satisfying. We set the stage nicely for the upcoming 2004-05 season.
What are the team goals for this year?
Our main focus is to take the next step on the national level and be a top 5 team. We certainly are not going to sacrifice our training for regionals and nationals but we do want to win back our Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Championship title.
In the sprints area, you have a strong group returning as well as a top notch class coming. How do you expect such a talented unit to mesh together and affect the program?
We lost a lot of leadership in Brian Dzingai. He’s an All-American, ACC Champion and most recently an Olympian. We do return three of four legs on our All-American, fastest time in school history 4x100m relay and a number of top individuals in the sprints including sophomore All-America Cedric Nabe, an NCAA individual qualifier in the 100m dash and junior All-American Derrick Baker, a late season regional qualifier in the 100m and 200m events. We lose ACC 400m champion Sean Campbell but the class of 2005 is definitely one of the top five in the nation and one of the best in the program’s history. (Walter) Dix is the top sprinter in the nation, (Kenny) O’Neal is number three and Ricardo (Chambers) is one of the top five 400m high school runners in the country. The great thing about this group is that they’re young and will be good for a couple of years. The challenge I see will be having these kids grow up within our training system quickly.
In the throws area, Dorian Scott and Garrett Johnson return from redshirt seasons, two of the top shot putters in FSU history. Both are ACC Champions and All-Americans. What impact do you anticipate them having on the program this season?
Getting Dorian and Garrett back for the season is should be a big help to us this year. We need them to score points for us at the ACC Championships meet, at the NCAA East Regionals and on the national level. They are phenomenal student-athletes and should also help some of the younger guys – newcomer Beau Burroughs and redshirt freshman Travis Dane – get better and stronger. Include juniors Andrew Diakos and John Fallone – two throwers who had great seasons last year – you have a strong throws group that will be hard to stop from winning events and scoring points. Diakos is the only returning thrower who scored for the Seminoles at the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. Both Diakos and Fallone are top six all-time in their respective events (hammer, shot put) and have two full seasons of eligibility left at FSU. As usual Coach Meaders brings a deep unit to the program and we hope that this season will be a break out year for the throws area.
Eddy Rodriguez, Tom Lancashire and Ian Hornabrook are back in Garnet and Gold and ready to lead the distance area. After stepping up in the first season for FSU and contributing to the team scoring, what should we look for from this group?
In the distance area, we should have our best and deepest squad ever. Eddy Rodriguez had the fifth best time in school history in the 10000m run while Ian Hornabrook was a three-time All-ACC honoree and qualified for regionals in the 3000m steeplechase. During Lancashire’s rookie campaign, he was one place shy of All-American honors, so we should see him come back and have a great sophomore season. We’ll score more points with the distance group rather than relying on one person to carry us, especially with the addition of Andrew Lemoncello, a transfer from Scotland and the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Cross Country Champion, who can compete in the 3000m steeplechase, 5000m run and the 10K. He trained under the same coach as former FSU All-American Vicky Gill and should come in as a threat on the national level in the steeple and add depth in the other events at the conference meet. Junior Sean Burris who was impressive during the 2004 cross country season should continue to provide leadership and excellent competition to the group that is a good mix of talent and experience. Veteran Kevin Cook will also add to the distance area, after limited competition during the 2004 season.
All-Americans Willie Johnson and Rafeeq Curry, anchors in the jumps area for FSU, will start their final season competing as a duo. They have been a huge part of the conference championship teams as well as putting FSU on the national stage – should this year be any different?
Willie and Rafeeq have excelled in their event at all levels. They are best friends who feed off of each other and help keep each other competitive. The key for them is to step up in other areas and possibly become bigger threats. Willie can be a serious competitor on the conference level in the long jump and Rafeeq adds speed to a 4x400m relay that qualified at-large for nationals. Dix can also long jump adding him to the list with current Seminole Ricky Argro, who has additional duties as an alternate on the 4x100m relay as well as in the individual sprints. Junior Shawn Allen will continue to lead the high jumps corps for the Seminoles after leading the group for the past two seasons.
The depth in throws, sprints and the field events seems to be deeper than ever. How will that help Florida State continue the transformation to national prominence?
It works with our goals to get to the top of the conference and score in more events at our big meets – ACCs, East Regionals and NCAAs. We are expecting all of the areas to win or place extremely high. We return enough veterans that we should challenge the top ten in the nation, especially during the outdoor season. We have three of four legs of the 400m relay, the top two throwers in the region in 2003 and the best triple jump tandem in the nation. This is the year that a number of student-athletes should come into their own become viable candidates for individual honors as well as boost FSU into the national team spotlight.