April 2, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Instead of the fight song, the opening to ABC’s Wide World of Sports might be a better tune for the Florida State track and field teams as they will be spanning the nation for this weekend’s competitions. The Seminoles are three different locations with competitors at the Texas, Stanford and Florida Relays.
“This is the first really big weekend for us of the outdoor track season,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “This is where our elite athletes start to put their season together and we pick up a lot of regional marks. It’s on par with a midterm examine because it will tell us where we are and what we have to get done leading up to the conference and regional meets.”
Opening up competition for the first time this season in the decathlon will be 2008 NCAA Indoor heptathlon champion Gonzalo Barroilhet (Santiago, Chile). The rookie earned his first ACC Outdoor Performer of the Week award after clearing a career-best height of 5.35m (17-06.5) in the pole vault during the FSU Relays last weekend.
“It’s going to be a big weekend for Gonzalo because this may be the biggest meet of the year for the decathlon, including the NCAA Championships,” Braman added. “You’re going to have former NCAA Champion and collegiate record holder Trey Hardee in the event and Donovan Kilmartin from Texas who most people have as the favorite to win the event at NCAAs so it’s really going to tell him where he stacks up.”
The sprint contingency for the top-ranked Seminole men’s team will be in action at the 81st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, April 3-5. NCAA Indoor 60m hurdle champion Drew Brunson (Snellville, Ga.) will take his first crack at the 110m race. An All-American last year in the 100m dash, Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) will be in the blocks as well.
Already qualified for the NCAA East Regional, the Seminoles will try to improve their times in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays while also taking part in the 4x200m relay. The lone men’s field athlete in competition will be redshirt freshman Brian Chibudu (Harare, Zimbabwe) who is only four inches away from reaching the regional qualifying mark of 7.34m/24-01.00.
The lone women’s competitor in the Lone Star State will be freshman phenom Kim Williams (Kingston, Jamaica). The NCAA indoor runner-up in the triple jump, she will take her first crack at the event during outdoors.
“About two-thirds of the great sprint programs are going to be at Texas,” Braman noted. “Then at Stanford you’re going to have about 80 percent of the top distance runners in the country. It’s almost like the playoffs, it’s very important to be there.”
The distance crew is off to the West Coast for the Stanford Relays, April 4-5. Several women’s runners are on the verge of qualifying for the regional meet. Junior Lydia Willemse (Forest, Ontario) is looking to get back to the regional in the 3000m steeplechase while senior Kristen Hagen (Blacksburg, Va.) is just five seconds off the mark.
Already in for the 800m, sophomore Pilar McShine (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) needs to clip just over four seconds off her 1500m time for her second regional mark. Senior Debbie Huss (Wyomissing, Pa.) ran the second fastest 10,000m time in school history at Stanford last year on her way to the NCAA Championships and she will try her hand at the 5000m race this weekend.
The men’s team is only sending a trio of competitors to Northern California this weekend. Daniel Roberts (Vicksburg, Mich.) will try to lower his 5000m time. Junior Steeve Gabart (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Trey Andrews (Titusville, Fla.) will go in the 10,000m race.
The women’s sprinters and a good portion of the field entries will be in Gainesville for the Florida Relays, April 4-5. Already in the regional meet for the 110m hurdles, freshman Teona Rodgers (Tampa, Fla.) is in three events over the weekend: 100m, 200m and 110m hurdles. Joining her in the 100m and 200m races is talented newcomer Nicole Marcus (Tallahassee, Fla.).
Florida State’s strongest contingency on the women’s side will be in the 400m dash. Senior Dana Massiah (Arima, Trinidad & Tobago) already has her ticket punched for regionals in the event while classmate Kandia Batchelor (Tampa, Fla.) as well juniors Keyla Smith (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Hshkeni Richemond (Sufferin, N.Y.) will try to get back to regionals.
The women’s team will try to improve on its regional qualifying mark in the 4x400m relay and get under the time in the 4x100m. FSU will also enter a 4x200m team.
The men’s squad will be well represented in the field events. Senior Matt Wernke (Tallahassee, Fla.) earned his spot in the regional hammer throw competition last weekend. Junior Tim Reen (Jupiter, Fla.) cleared a personal-best height of 2.10m/6-10.75 to qualify. Women’s pole vaulter Tori Allen (Indianapolis, Ind.) is looking for her second trip in a row to the regionals.