May 25, 2016 - by
Burton, Teixeira Bring out the Best in Each Other

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State Track & Field is well-represented as the NCAA postseason begins with the three-day East Preliminary, May 26-28 at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.  The Seminole women have qualified 15 individuals and a sprint relay team, while the men have qualified 11 individuals, plus a relay team.

In the first round of NCAA Championships competition, the top 48 athletes in individual event and the top 24 relay teams, will be competitively reduced to the top 12 in each event. They will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 8-11 at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Two Seminoles – heptathletes Melissa-Maree Farrington and Grete Sadeiko – have already secured trips to Eugene by ranking among the top 24 nationally. Sadeiko is one of three FSU women looking to return to the scene of last year’s sixth-place NCAA finish team, joining All-American long jumpers Der’Renae Freeman and Jogaile Petrokaite. Veterans Kellion Knibb and Katja Vangsnes were championship qualifiers in 2014.

Senior Zak Seddon will hunt a third NCAA Championship appearance in the steeplechase after placing eighth a year ago for All-American honors. Grad student Stefan Brits has an eye on a fourth trip in the long jump, but first-team All-American honors for the first time outdoors. Otniel Teixeira is the only other Nole with NCAA Outdoor experience, having qualified in the 800 back in 2014.

 The Seminoles will be quite busy when the action begins Thursday with NCAA men’s long jump leader Stefan Brits and teammate Keniel Grant getting things started at 3:30 p.m. ACC women’s hammer champion Katja Vangsnes will follow at 4 p.m.

Seminole storylines

•             Stefan Brits and Kellion Knibb enter the NCAA East Preliminary as the top seeds in the men’s long jump and women’s discus, respectively. Brits owns the top mark in the NCAA this season (8.22m/26-11.75), while Knibb ranks fifth nationally (60.62m/198-11)…of the seven ACC athletes who enter the meet as top seeds, FSU is the lone conference school with more than one.

•             In all, Florida State boasts five men and five women ranked among the top eight in the East. Beyond Brits, Zak Seddon is the No. 2 seed in the steeplechase, Armani Wallace is No. 6 in the triple jump and Edward Clarke is No. 8 in the 100. The men’s 4×100 relay is the No. 7 seed. On the women’s side, Meme Jean (100 hurdles), Der’Renae Freeman (long jump) and Katja Vangsnes (hammer) are all No. 7 seeds, while Jogaile Petrokaite is seeded No. 8 in the long jump.

•             One-third of the Florida State 15-member men’s postseason roster is comprised of first-year Seminoles. Clarke, Darryl Haraway and Raheem Robinson, members of the 4×100 relay, are true freshmen, as is Wallace. Ashton Butler is a redshirt freshman. There are only two true freshmen – Shauna Helps and Peta-Gay Williams – on the 17-member women’s postseason roster, which is decidedly more experienced with 12 upperclassmen or graduate students.

•             There is no shortage of diversity when it comes to Florida State’s combined men’s and women’s postseason roster. Of the 32 athletes – 15 men and 17 women – 10 different countries are represented. In addition to the United States, there are Seminoles from South Africa, Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Lithuania, Estonia and Norway.

You can follow the progress of the Seminoles via Twitter @FSU_Track with complete recaps to follow each day at Seminoles.com.

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