Feb. 11, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In their last chance to prepare for the ACC Indoor Championships later this month, the Florida State track and field teams (men-No. 6/women-No.5) will be competing in two different meets this weekend with the majority of the Seminoles traveling to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas and a smaller group of distance runners going to the Husky Classic in Seattle, Washington. The Tyson Invitational, hosted by the University of Arkansas (men-No. 1/women-No.14), will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Complex and close to 50 schools will be participating including in-state rival Florida (men-No.3/women-No.15), Tennessee (women-No. 2), Michigan (women-No. 3/men-No. 15) and LSU (women-No. 4/men-No.10).
“The Tyson Invitational is one of the premier indoor meets in the country,” said associate head coach Harlis Meaders. “We have always been able to get a high level of competition there each year because it has been the home of the NCAA Championship. This will be a conference tune-up for us.”
Among Florida State’s top competitors headed to Arkansas will be junior and seven-time All-American Charles Clark (sprints: Virginia Beach, Va.) and sophomores and 2008 Olympians Gonzalo Barroilhet (multi-events: Santiago, Chile) and Ngoni Makusha (long jumps/sprints: Mandedza, Zimbabwe). At last year’s stint in Arkansas, Makusha shattered the Florida State record with his jump of 7.93m/26-00.25, earning him an NCAA automatic qualifying mark.
“This will be the first meet where you will be able to see the true strength of the team,” said Meaders. “This will be the largest entourage we will be traveling so far this season.”
On the women’s front, junior co-captain Kim Williams (jumps: Kingston, Jamaica) will be along side Swanagan attempting to earn automatic marks for the NCAA Indoor Championship. Rodgers is familiar with the Tyson Invitational as she finished last year’s meet with a season-best 60m hurdle run with 8.40 that earned her an NCAA provisional mark.
“I am anxious to see Tiara Swanagan to get back on the track,” added Meaders. “The women’s team will also be coming strong with Teona Rodgers just having a fantastic meet last weekend. Other athletes who just competed in New York are also anxious to get back on the track again.”
After having an incredible showing in the Big Apple last weekend, junior Pilar McShine (distance: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) will be heading up the group traveling to Washington.
The Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor is a one-day event that will feature some top competition. The running events will get underway at 11 a.m. Eastern with the field events getting underway at approximately 2 p.m.
“Pilar McShine had an excellent race up in New York,” said Meaders. “Ninety percent of the individuals earning automatic qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships acquire them on Washington’s track where the Husky Invitational is located so we will be taking our elite distance runners up there with assistant coach Karen Harvey. I think they will have a fantastic meet.”