April 27, 2016 - by
Eight Earn All-ACC Academic Honors; Track Noles Hit The Road

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Eight Florida State track & field athletes – six women and two men – have been selected to the All-ACC Academic Indoor Track & Field team, as announced by the conference office Wednesday. Headlining the group is doctoral student Stefan Brits, who placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump and was the ACC runner-up, has been a fixture on the All-ACC Academic team since his arrival five years ago.

Senior Otniel Teixeira, who placed fourth in the 800 at the ACC Indoor Championships, is making his third consecutive appearance on the squad.

Brits and Teixeira were among 24 men recognized as All-ACC Academic who earned either All-American or All-ACC honors this past indoor season, while meeting the 3.0 cumulative grade point average minimum requirement for inclusion.

With six women earning recognition, Florida State trailed only Duke and Notre Dame (seven each) for honorees among the 15 league schools.

Veterans and repeat honorees Chelsea Jarvis, Kellion Knibb and Nicole Setterington led the Seminole contingent, which included junior transfer Melissa-Maree Farrington and freshmen Shaquania Dorsett and Peta-Gay Williams.

Jarvis, an NCAA Indoor Championships qualifier in the 800 and bronze medalist at the ACC Championships, caps her sophomore season with a second consecutive selection to the team. Knibb and Setterington earned second-team All-ACC honors in the shot put and 60-meter hurdles respectively.

Farrington, who began her career at Nebraska, was the ACC runner-up in the pentathlon. Dorsett was a member of FSU’s runner-up distance medley relay and placed eighth in the 400 in her first indoor campaign. Williams was seventh in the 60-meter hurdles.

Noles Stretching Out Across Country This Weekend

Florida State track & field athletes will be stretched across the country this weekend at three separate meets in search of NCAA postseason and ACC Championship qualifying marks.  Two of those meets, the three-day Penn Relays and the Payton Jordan Invitational, will pit the Seminoles against some of the finest talent in the world.

“We’re chasing region marks, which we always are right now as we’re getting ready for conference,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “For those that have them already, they are trying to improve on the national level.”

The Seminoles will have a relatively large contingent competing at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field for the 122nd Penn Relays, which begin Thursday.

Redshirt junior Kellion Knibb returns to the scene of her breakthrough performance in 2014 when she won the title and went on to set the Jamaican national record in the discus and earn All-American honors.

“That really was a breakout for her,” Braman said of Knibb. “With all the Jamaicans there she really got excited and put together a phenomenal series and got the win…then she went to regions and threw the 61-meter bomb in Jacksonville. It was a really good year for her…This is, maybe, the momentum kicker for her, even though she has been good all year.”

Knibb will be joined in the discus field by graduate student Sasha-Ann Lebert, while senior Katja Vangsnes will compete in the women’s hammer later in the day.

Sasha-Ann Lebert gets better each week,” Braman said. “She’s that student of the game where as the weeks go by, she gets better, just like she did indoors. She keeps rising up and has her sights set on making nationals. So does Katja. It’s a big deal for our throwers.”

Distance runners Christine Griggs (10,000) and Courteney West (5,000) will also be chasing NCAA East Preliminary qualifying marks in their races Thursday evening.

Hurdlers Meme Jean and Peta-Gay Williams will not only compete individually in the 100-meter hurdles, but will also be a part of FSU’s shuttle hurdle relay team, which is considered one of the favorites in the field.

On the men’s side, the 4×100 relay team of Raheem Robinson, Darryl Haraway, Edward Clarke and Keniel Grant will try and earn a spot in Saturday’s Championships of America final. The Seminoles are among the favorites in the field as well, having posted a season-best time of 39.41.

Individually, Ben Bonhurst and Chad DaCosta will both compete in the men’s shot put, with DaCosta doubling back in the discus.

Two other throwers will be hunting NCAA East Preliminary marks on Saturday at the Jace LaCosta Invitational on the Mississippi State campus.

Redshirt freshman Fred Jones and junior Emmanuel Onyia got late starts to the outdoor season, but are fast closing on a spot among the top 48 discus throwers in the East.

“You’ve got the evolution of Fred Jones, who does not yet have a regional mark, but is a lot like Sasha-Ann Lebert,” Braman said. “He’s getting better every week. He’s a tough kid, smart kid, talented kid and the moment is not swallowing him up. Fred’s excited about it and Emmanuel Onyia is going to throw.”

The balance of the squad competing in Starkville, Miss. is comprised predominantly of women’s distance runners trying to secure ACC Championship qualifying marks.

From a distance-racing perspective, Sunday’s Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford provides a stark contrast. The day-long meet will be the stage for world-class and nationally elite athletes to chase IAAF Olympic qualifying marks.

Seminole senior Zak Seddon, who posted the nation’s top collegiate 3000-meter time (8:33.09) with his runner-up finish at the Stanford Invitational on April 1, will try and preserve that position and also meet the Olympic standard as he hopes to represent Great Britain in Rio later this summer.

“He runs well at Stanford,” Braman said of Stanford. “He doesn’t mind mixing it up with the big boys…All he has to do is catch a ride. He’s trying to get his Olympic standard, which is 8:30.”

Middle distance standouts Otniel Teixeira and Jake Burton also pursuing lofty marks against an elite field of 800-meter runners as they attempt to dip under 1:48 for the first time in their careers. They will be joined by Matt Butler and Michael Hall, who are chasing region and ACC marks.

On the women’s side, sophomore Chelsea Jarvis will open her outdoor campaign in the 800, while senior Georgia Peel has designs on improving her season-best 1500 (4:20.62). Meanwhile, Bridget Blake is poised for a breakthrough in her second 3000-meter steeplechase of the season.

You can keep up with the action via Twitter @FSU_Track and check back with Seminoles.com for complete recaps at the end of each days’ competition.

Graduation weekend and more

A total of 17 track & field/cross country athletes are scheduled to graduate from Florida State this weekend, even though approximately one third of the group will be unable to attend commencement due to competition. The graduation class total for the program is by far the largest of any FSU athletic team. In all, 59 student-athletes are registered for graduation…the FSU men’s track & field team debuted at No. 25 in this week’s USTFCCCA National Computer rankings, while the women slipped out of the top 25 for the first time. It marks the first week that the computer rankings included only the performances already posted in the 2016 outdoor season.

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