March 25, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State track and field teams will host the 30th annual FSU Relays beginning Thursday, March 26-28. The Seminoles will jump back into action at the Mike Long Track along with several in-state rivals including Florida, USF, Florida Atlantic and FAMU.
After taking some time off to rest and recuperate from a fantastic indoor season, many Seminoles will make their outdoor debut this weekend and what better place to do it at then in Tallahassee. Also joining the FSU Relays for the third year will be the FSU Relays High School portion of the meet.
“Most of our athletes who competed at the indoor national meet will make their outdoor debut this week,” head coach Bob Braman said. “FSU Relays is a special time in the year for us. It’s our first home meet and gives everyone a chance to come out and support some of the best track and field athletes in America.”
“This is the third year we have also welcomed high schools to compete,” Braman said. “It gives us a chance to showcase our facilities and how talented our coaches and athletes are. We are really excited about our high school meet as well because it is the best high school meet in Florida this weekend.”
On the men’s front, eight-time All-American Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) will hit the track along with four-time All-American Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J.). Clark and Garvin found success at last year’s relays as the dynamic duo, alongside Brandon Byram (Gallatin, Tenn.) and former Seminole Drew Brunson were an important part of the 4x200m relay team that broke one of the oldest school records with their first-place finish time of 1:22.09.
Seminole thrower Michael Putnam (Miami, Fla.) will be given another opportunity to earn additional NCAA regional marks as he will also be hitting the field this weekend. Newcomer Pelle Rietveld (Zoetermeer, Netherlands) will make his outdoor debut wearing the Garnet and Gold for the first time at a home meet as he competes in several events.
Keep your eye out for the talented Florida State jumpers as sophomores Kim Williams (Kingston, Jamaica) and Brian Chibudu (Harare, Zimbabwe) make their outdoor debut. Tiara Swanagan (Orange Park, Fla.), Amy Harris (Birmingham, England) and Aaron Steele (Newburgh, N.Y.) will also be vying for their ticket to regionals in the triple and long jump.
The Seminole sprinters also look to continue their successful run as Teona Rodgers (Tampa, Fla.) and Candyce McGrone (Indianapolis, Ind.) are some of the top performers on the women’s side while the men look to utilize senior Javier Garcia-Tunon (Miami, Fla.) and Garvin.
With pole vaulters playing an important role in the outdoor success for the Seminoles, Coach Braman has signed up several athletes in the event to continue preparations for the outdoor conference meet in just three weeks. Rietveld and Warren Harper (Tallahassee, Fla.) will continue training as they compete for the FSU men while Liz Mabry (Gulf Breeze, Fla.), Callie Giffin (Tyler, Texas) and a few others will represent the FSU women.
“We are excited for the relays,” Braman said. “It is a lot of fun. It gives our athletes a chance to compete at home. The weather is outstanding and the facilities are great. It’s going to be the same mission whether we are home or away-try to earn those regional marks. We need to get qualified for regionals. We need to start getting some good performance for the ACC meet just three weeks away.”
FSU Relays will kick off with the heptathlon on Thursday, March 26 at 11 a.m. Live Results will be available through www.halfmiletiming.com.