TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There will be a distinct southeast flavor to the 37thFSU Relays, which will be contested Friday and Saturday at Mike Long Track.
The host Seminole men and women will take on perennial SEC challengers Alabama and Mississippi State, as well as Southern Miss in a quadrangular scored meet. The Crimson Tide men enter the meet just days after earning a No. 5 outdoor preseason national ranking from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
FSU’s women, which checked in at No. 14 in the USTFCCCA national poll, will get plenty of competition from 11th-ranked Mississippi State and No. 23 Alabama.
“The collegiate meet is really going to be fun,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We’re very much alike competitively so it’s going to be a really tight score. But the athletes will have fun rallying to earn points for the Noles, so that’s going to be pretty cool.”
In addition to the college competition, the highly selective high school portion of the event will feature more than 110 teams from seven states.
“This will be our best FSU Relays ever on the high school side,” Braman said. “There will be some great athletes competing here and many of the records will be challenged.”
While Florida schools make up the bulk of the competition on the high school side, strong programs from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee will also compete. The high school meet is restricted to the top 32 athletes in each running event, top 20 in field events and top 16 in relays, all based on verified performance marks.
With its continued growth in both popularity and competitiveness, the FSU Relays will once again be streamed live by FloTrack and carried on ESPN3 as well. Live coverage will begin Friday at 1 p.m., and Saturday at 8 a.m., with the broadcast running the duration of the meet both days.
There is no shortage of storylines as the meet unfolds.
Redshirt junior Kellion Knibb, the school record-holder in the discus, makes her return to competition in that event after missing the entire 2015 season due to injury. Meme Jean, coming off her first season of indoor competition in the hurdles since coming to FSU for grad school, will make her outdoor debut with the Seminoles in the 100-meter hurdles, where she will be pushed by a strong field, including teammates Nicole Setterington and Peta-Gay Williams.
All-American long jumper Der’Renae Freeman will join fellow senior sprinter Jande Pierce on the 4×100 relay and school-record hammer thrower Katja Vangsnes will be pushed by first-year Seminole Veronika Kanuchova, who will be competing unattached.
One of the most compelling stories on the men’s side will be how FSU’s young sprinters – Darryl Haraway, Edward Clarke and Raheem Robinson – fair in their outdoor debuts against solid competition.
Doctoral candidate Stefan Brits, fresh off a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump, will take his act outdoors against a stout field.