Jan. 14, 2009
Tallahassee, Fla. – The No. 5-ranked Florida State men’s and women’s track and field teams will hit the ground running this weekend, as they open the 2009 season at the VT Hokie Invitational Friday, January 16th and Saturday, January 17th at Rector Fieldhouse in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Seminoles will be competing with an 18-team field which includes nationally-ranked Georgetown and ACC-rivals North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest.
“We look forward to this weekend’s competition at Virginia Tech,” said associate head coach Harlis Meaders. “We are anxious to see our young kids put on the garnet and gold for the first time and to see the progress our older kids have made.”
As the nation’s sole program with both team’s ranked in the Top 5 in the preseason poll, both Seminole squads have positioned themselves to be recognized among the nation’s elite track and field programs.
Leading the men this season will be 2008 Olympian, sophomore Ngoni Makusha (Mandedza, Zimbabwe; sprints, long jump). Makusha finished his first year as an NCAA and ACC Champion and earned All-America honors. Three-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American senior Javier Garcia-Tunon (Miami, Fla.; sprints, hurdles) and NCAA All-American sophomore Brian Chibudu (Harare, Zimbabwe; jumps) will be along side Makusha spearheading the Seminoles at the season-opener.
Continuing the rise towards greatness on the women’s front will be NCAA All-American sophomore Teona Rodgers (Tampa, Fla.; hurdles, sprints). Rodgers’ hurdling experience comes with a list of awards ranging from IAAF World Junior Champion title to NCAA All-East Region honors. Four-time All-ACC junior Tiara Swanagan (Orange Park, Fla.; jumps) will continue to contribute in the 2009 season after grabbing NCAA All-American and All-East Region titles in the triple jump last year.
This weekend will give way for the newcomers to begin paving the warpath themselves. On the women’s side, look for Christal Washington (Hollywood, Fla.), Abbey Sutton (Valparaiso, Ind.), Danielle Williams (Pensacola, Fla.) and Callie Giffin (Tyler, Texas) to contribute. For the men, sprinter Maurice Mitchell (Kansas City, Mo.) and pole vaulter Andrew Lehaye (Orlando, Fla.) will showcase their talent wearing garnet and gold for the first time.
“We are excited to see the new faces competing for the Seminoles,” said Meaders. “I am sure our freshmen our anxious to get started.”
For more information on Florida State athletics, go to www.seminoles.com.