March 10, 2016 - by
Brits In His ‘Element’ Among Seven NCAA Indoor Qualifiers

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Stefan Brits shares one important characteristic with his six Florida State track & field teammates who will be competing at the NCAA Indoor National Championships:

All seven Seminoles have posted career-best performances in their respective events this season, which culminates with the two-day championship meet, set to begin Friday at the Birmingham CrossPlex. The entire group of individual event qualifiers, will be in action on the opening day of competition.

A four-time All-American, Brits is back at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time since placing sixth in the long jump at the 2013 meet. He sealed his spot in the field by producing a lifetime-best leap of 7.82 meters (25-8) in a runner-up finish at the ACC Indoor Championships two weeks ago.

What sets Brits apart from his highly acclaimed teammates – and everyone else in the field – is the fifth-year Seminole is the only known championship qualifier currently enrolled in a doctoral program in chemistry. So in addition to two hours of practice each day, Brits also balances taking classes, research work in the lab and also teaching an undergraduate chemistry course for non-majors.

Leaping to success on the track, in the lab
By Amy Farnum-Patronis, Florida State 24/7

Brits and sophomore 800-meter qualifier Chelsea Jarvis are Florida State’s nominees for the NCAA Elite 90 honor, presented to the male and female qualifiers with the top grade point average competing at each sanctioned NCAA Championship. Jarvis, an actuarial science major, will compete in Friday’s semifinal rounds, with the top three finishers in each of two heats and the next two fastest times advance to Saturday’s final.

The meet will be streamed by ESPN3 beginning Friday at 6:25 p.m. (ET) and Saturday at 4:55 p.m. A tape-delayed broadcast will air on ESPN2, Saturday at 7 p.m.

Live results will be available at http://noles.co/1R7NR9r and as always you can follow the action via Twitter @FSU_Track, with recaps of the action posted nightly on Seminoles.com.

FSU contingent has more qualifiers than last season

Five Seminole women and two men make up the contingent, which is the program’s largest combined group of individual qualifiers since 2014.

Of the seven, four are making their first NCAA Indoor Championships appearance: Jake Burton (800); Mulern Jean (60 hurdles); Sasha-Ann Lebert (weight throw) and Jogaile Petrokaite (long jump). Additionally, Jarvis is a first-time individual event qualifier, after representing the Seminoles on its distance medley and 4×400 relays at last year’s championship meet.

Senior Der’Renae Freeman (long jump) is back trying to better her seventh-place finish in 2014.

Unranked, not under-represented

FSU’s men and women enter the meet unranked; a rarity for a program that has traditionally been one of the nation’s elite. The Seminoles, however, are certainly not under-represented, especially when compared to its fellow Atlantic Coast Conference programs.

Though the women and men placed fourth and sixth, respectively, at the ACC Indoor Championships, the Seminoles’ seven combined individual event qualifiers ties for the highest total from the 15-team league. In what most view as a rebuilding season, FSU’s total qualifiers are in line with past years.

ACC NCAA Indoor Qualifiers (Individuals)

School                  Women               Men                      Total

Florida State         5                              2                              7

Miami                   6                              1                              7

Syracuse              1                              5                              6

Clemson               4                              1                              5

Notre Dame           4                              1                              5

Virginia Tech          2                              3                              5

NC State               3                              2                              5

Louisville               3                              2                              5

Others: Virginia 4 (2/2); Duke 3 (3w); North Carolina 2 (1/1); Georgia Tech 1 (w); Pitt 1 (m); Wake Forest 1 (m)

Note: Clemson, Notre Dame and Duke have qualified women’s distance relay teams, as do the Virginia men

Seminole storylines

·         Three Florida State qualifiers are currently enrolled in postgraduate studies: Stefan Brits (chemistry); Meme Jean (criminology) and Sasha-Ann Lebert (public administration);

·         Jake Burton and Chelsea Jarvis are providing the Noles with a rare presence in the 800 at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Burton is the first FSU male to qualify in the event since Philip Rolle (1982), while Jarvis is the first female since Laura Gerber (2001);

·         Sasha-Ann Lebert is just the second FSU woman to qualify for nationals in the weight throw, following in the footsteps of Briana Cherry-Bronson (2014);

·         “Meme” Mulern Jean is one of the nation’s most improved athletes in the 60-meter hurdles. Jean’s PB 8.08 in the ranks fifth in the field, and it is a dramatic improvement over her previous best (8.23), which was set in 2014. The grad student transfer sat out last season to give birth to her daughter, Ava Young;

·         Senior Der’Renae Freeman might have a little added motivation as she returns to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time since 2014. Freeman accepted the long jump silver medal on the podium in Albuquerque, N.M. in 2014, but was later awarded seventh place following a protest of her longest jump.

 

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