TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The opportunity to defend a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference Championships at home as well as compete against the nation’s top programs in elite meets – both indoors and outdoors – highlight the 2015 Florida State track & field schedule.
With the start of the indoor season less than a month away the Seminoles are gearing up for a schedule that features quite a few changes from recent years, yet remains designed to prepare the men’s and women’s programs to chase championships at the conference and national level.
“We are extremely excited to be hosting the ACC Championships this year,” said Florida State coach Bob Braman, as the Seminoles prepare to host the outdoor championships for the third time, May 14-16 at Mike Long Track. This marks the first year that the ACC Outdoor Championships will be held in May, which falls in line with most of the major conferences nationally.
“We have a fantastic fan base that will turn out in big numbers to support the Seminoles,” Braman add.
“It’s great that we’ll be able to bring the highest level of our sport to Tallahassee. We’re especially excited to be defending titles on both sides. The home track and home crowd advantage will be invaluable for us.”
The return of the ACC Championships for the first time since 2005 – FSU also served as host in 1992 – also led to some other changes to the home schedule. The annual FSU Relays (March 27-28) will continue to boast one of the top high school fields in the South, but the collegiate format has changed.
Instead of the traditional invitational, the Seminoles will square off against Miami, North Carolina and Ohio State in a quadrangular meet. It marks the first four-team, head-to-head competition at home since 2001 for the Noles.
“The event-by-event showdowns should be a fun format for our fans,” Braman said.
Those two major home meets have led FSU to cancel – at least this season – the Seminole Invitational and Seminole Twilight meets, which have historically been contested in April and May, respectively.
The balance of the indoor and outdoor schedule is once again set up for the Noles to sharpen their competitive skills against elite competition in preparation of NCAA Championship competition.
FSU’s indoor schedule, which begins Jan. 17 at the Auburn Invitational, includes two new venues.
“We shook up the indoor schedule a bit this year with a full team competition at the McCravy meet at Kentucky and a high performance distance meet at Boston University,” Braman said.
The Seminoles will travel nearly their full squad to Lexington, Ky. for the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational Jan. 23-25, which annually attracts many of the nation’s top programs. Three weeks later, the men’s and women’s distance group will head to Boston University – home to one of the fastest indoor facilities in the nation – to compete at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational (Feb. 13-14).
FSU’s men and women will also get well-acquainted with the facilities at Virginia Tech and Arkansas, which will serve as the host sites for the ACC and NCAA Indoor Championships, respectively. The Noles are scheduled for two visits to each of those sites in advance of the championships, as well as a trip to Notre Dame for the Alex Wilson Invitational.
The ACC Indoor Championships, where the Seminole men and women will also defend 2014 titles, are set for Feb. 26-28 in Blacksburg, Va. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be contested in Fayetteville, Ark., March 13-14.
“Outdoors we’ll have two great home meets as well as high level meets at Stanford, Mt. SAC and Texas,” said Braman, who also expects to send a large contingent to Penn Relays for the first time in years. “We feel like the schedule sets us up well for the National Championships at seasons’ end.”
The outdoor season opens with the Bulls Invitational (March 20-21) at USF, followed by the FSU Relays. The teams will split up to compete at the Florida Relays and Stanford Invitational (April 2-4), then travel to Coral Gables for the Hurricane Alumni Invitational (April 10-11).
There will be no shortage of elite competition to test the Seminoles’ outdoor progress at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Cal. (April 17-18) and the prestigious Penn Relays (April 23-25) at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Tom Jones Memorial (April 25) in Gainesville, Fla., the Longhorn Invitational (May 2) in Austin, Texas and the Payton Jordan Invitational (May 3) in Palo Alto, Cal. will serve as lead-up preparation for the ACC Outdoor Championships.
For the second consecutive year and third time in four years, the Noles will travel to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCAA East Preliminary (May 28-30) at UNF, which will determine the qualifiers for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, that are set for June 10-13 at Oregon.