March 5, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State track and field teams (Men- No. 3/ Women-No. 4) will compete in one of the busiest weekends of the season beginning Friday, March 4, as the Seminoles will split up between four different meets. As some of the Seminoles will kick off the outdoor season at the North Florida Spring Break Open, others will be battling in the Notre Dame, Iowa State and Virginia Tech Inviationals for their last chance to qualify for the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championship in College Station, Texas just a week away.
“We will need to get in the top 16 in all our events this weekend,” said head coach Bob Braman. “Women’s distance runners have already done what they could do. The men’s distance group will still have a shot in the mile. To get an automatic mark is hard to reach. You have to be able to compete at your maximum capacity and put yourself in the top 16 by the end of the weekend so you will be picked for nationals. The number can move, but it is usually 16 athletes in each event. That will be the goal for everyone- be in the top 16.”
The North Florida Spring Break Open will kick off the outdoor season for the Seminoles and the meet begins with the field events at 1 p.m. and gives way to the javelin and hammer throw.
“The North Florida Invitational gives the opportunity to some of the outdoor events such as hammer and javelin throw and the 400m hurdles that don’t contest in the indoor season,” Braman said. “Those athletes are excited to get the outdoor season started after seeing all the success through the indoor season. Developmental athletes who didn’t get the chance to be a part of the ACC Indoor Championship will also be joining. ”
Assistant coach Dennis Knobles and associate head coach Harlis Meaders will be leading a variety of field event athletes at the Virginia Tech Invitational in Blacksburg, Va. Freshman Amy Harris (long jump: Birmingham, England) and Lizbeth Mabry (pole vault: Gulf Breeze, Fla.), along with senior Tim Reen (high jump: Jupiter, Fla.) and sophomore Kamorean Hayes (throws: Charlotte, N.C.) will be giving their best effort to automatically qualify for nationals.
“Amy Harris will try to improve to the top 16 in the long jump which I believe she can do,” Braman said. “Tim will have to get about two more inches to qualify. Kamorean will need about half a foot to make it.”
Sprinters fighting for their spot at the Iowa State Invitational to join senior Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle, N.J.) and junior Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.), who have already produced automatic marks with their times, will be sophomores Kevin Williams (Miami, Fla.) and Brandon Byram (Gallatin, Tenn.) as well as newcomer Brandon O’Conner (Miami, Fla.). Assistant Coach Ken Harnden will also be giving guidance to the women as freshmen Candyce McGrone (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Danielle Jeffrey (Kingston, Jamaica) compete in their respected events.
“Maurice Mitchell and Brandon Byram look like they already qualified in the 200m dash, but they will run again just to be sure and improve their time,” Braman added. “We will also be running a 4x400m relay that has not qualified. Iowa State is the best 4x400m relay spot in the country so all the good teams will be competing there. As for the women, although Candyce McGrone and Danielle Jeffrey have provisional times, they both need to run faster to make it to nationals which would be outstanding for our freshmen.”
The Alex Wilson Invitational on the campus of Notre Dame will host the last NCAA qualifier meet the Garnet and Gold will be competing in. Braman will be leading the pack of junior Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich.) and sophomores Justin Harbor (Bunnell, Fla.) and Matt Leeder (Brockville, Ontario) as the distance runners will be given the opportunity to make their final strides for nationals.
“I will have three distance runners going to Notre Dame,” Braman said. “Matt Leeder will be in the 3000m to try to take three seconds off his time and earn a ticket to the national championship. Justin Harbor and Daniel Roberts will be part of the mile run to try to make the mile standard. Roberts already has a mark in the 3000m run. All these athletes can do it. ”
Results for the three of the four invitationals (Notre Dame does not have live stats) are as follows:
Virginia Tech Invitational-www.flasresults.com