Feb. 25, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After taking some time off to rest and prepare he No. 3 Florida State men’s track and field team will head north to Blacksburg, Va., for the Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championship beginning Thursday, February 26. Since joining the league over 15 years ago, the Seminoles are tied with Clemson for the most consecutive titles (six) and are second with overall conference victories (seven). Florida State is the only team entering this weekend nationally ranked in the top 25.
“All our men are trying to protect our streak for as long as possible,” head coach Bob Braman said. “This is the excitement and motivation going into this weekend. We also want to have great performances and earn more qualifying marks for nationals only two weeks away.”
Hitting the track first for the Seminoles will be multi-event athletes, sophomore Gonzalo Barroilhet (Santiago, Chile) along side freshman Pelle Rietveld (Zoetermeer, Netherlands). Barroilhet set a good foundation for success at last year’s championship where he captured the heptathlon title and smashed the meet record with a score of 5,765.
Senior thrower Matt Wernke (Tallahassee, Fla.) will be one of Florida State’s leaders this weekend as he was the first to give the Seminoles points with his second-place finish in the weight-throw at the 2008 conference meet.
Distance runners will also be looked to for points as sophomore Matt Leeder (Brockville, Ontario) and junior Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich.) lead the way. Both Leeder and Roberts contributed points last year as Roberts took first in the mile run with 4:10.80 and Leeder followed in sixth.
Stepping out for the second time this season will be senior Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J.). Garvin topped the ACC competition last year in the men’s 200m dash prelims and later won the final run with 21.55. Sophomore Brandon Byram (Gallatin, Tenn.) and junior Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) are also expected to lead the Garnet and Gold to another championship. Clark won the 400m dash in 2008 while Byram followed Garvin’s direction and placed second in the 200m. Garvin and Clark are two of the four ACC athletes who have automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championship in College Station, Texas.
Also looking to continue his successful season will be sophomore Ngoni Makusha (Mandedza, Zimbabwe). Makusha currently holds the conference long jump record with 25-0.75 for his leap at the Tyson Invitational. His jump not only is the sixth best jump in the nation for this season, but also earned him an NCAA provisional mark.
“We have All-Americans and ACC Champions competing this weekend that will try to uphold our championships,” Braman said.