TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the third consecutive week a Florida State track & field athlete has been recognized as the top performer in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Doctoral candidate Stefan Brits was named ACC Men’s Field Performer of the Week on Tuesday, following his breakthrough, winning performance in the long jump at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational on Saturday.
Battling rain and windy conditions, Brits soared 7.94 meters (26-0.75) for the win at UCLA’s Drake Stadium, topping a field of 10 competitors from both the collegiate and professional ranks. By posting the second-best mark of his outdoor career, the Cape Town, South Africa native moved to No. 2 on the NCAA Division I list this season and No. 1 among all ACC jumpers.
Brits’ winning mark was into a negative 2.0 headwind. It was his finest meet performance since setting the 2013 ACC Championship meet record (8.05m) at North Carolina State.
A five-time All-American, Brits entered the outdoor season off a third-place finish at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships.
He follows fellow Seminoles Darryl Haraway (March 29) and Zak Seddon (April 5), who earned ACC Track Performer of the Week honors earlier this season.
Seminole Invitational will feature star lineup
After a one-year hiatus from the schedule, the Seminole Invitational meet is back in 2016 and better than ever. The two-day affair, which begins Friday at Mike Long Track, will include nationally-ranked South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio State programs as well as Rutgers, Jacksonville, South Florida, North Florida and Florida A&M.
In addition to the collegians, the field will include former Seminoles and Olympians Walter Dix, Kimberly Williams, Ngoni Makusha, Anne Zagre and Rafeeq Curry, 2012 Olympic men’s hammer finalist Kibwe Johnson, and a host of other current and post-collegians hoping to cap their outdoor season at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Johnson will kick things off Friday in the opening event with the men’s hammer, which is set to begin at 12 noon. A five-time U.S. champion, Johnson owns a personal-best of 80.31 meters (263-6), which is nearly 30 feet longer than the current Mike Long Track record.
Following the men’s competition, Florida State freshman Veronika Kanuchova, who is competing unattached this season, is currently ranked 29th in the world in the women’s hammer (67.45m/221-3) and vying for a spot on the Slovakian Olympic team.
The men’s discus and women’s high jump follow at 4 p.m. and the first track event is set for 7:20 p.m. on Friday.
Saturday’s competitive schedule begins with the javelin at 10 a.m., followed by the first track event – the women’s 100 hurdles – at 12:05 p.m.
There is no admission charge to the Seminole Invitational.
Senior recognition set for Saturday
More than two-dozen Florida State track & field athletes competing in their final season of eligibility will be recognized for their contributions to the program on Saturday at 11:40 a.m. before the start of the running events at the Seminole Invitational.
This weekend’s meet is also the “Paint It Pink” event in support of Breast Cancer Awareness as the Seminole will be sporting pink ribbons throughout the competition.
FSU women still ranked No. 22 in latest poll
The FSU women’s track & field team maintained its No. 22 position in the latest USTFCCCA national rankings, which were released Monday. The Seminoles are among XX ACC schools in the top 25, which includes Miami (14), Virginia Tech (17) and Notre Dame (20).