TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – You need look no further than this weekend’s Florida State track & field schedule to have a grasp on just how different the sport is compared to others on the collegiate level.
The Seminoles dive head-long into the outdoor season over the next three days, with nearly 60 athletes competing in four elite meets across three different time zones. Logistical challenges aside, the objective is quite simple:
Find the best environments and competition in specific event areas – sprints, jumps, throws and distance events – to enhance performances. In a sport where only the top 48 athletes, based on season-long performances in 18 individual events, advance to the NCAA postseason, posting qualifying marks is the No. 1 objective this time of year.
“This weekend really gets the outdoor season going,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We’re in four different meets in order to put our kids in the best competition possible for lifetime bests and regional marks.
“It’s a juggling act for sure, but it’s worth the logistical challenge in order to have great performances.”
The juggling begins Thursday evening in Gainesville, Fla., where approximately three dozen Noles will compete over the next three days at the annual Pepsi Florida Relays. FSU is one of 100 universities – including seven top-25 men’s and women’s programs – competing.
Junior Brandon Tirado, one of five Noles in action on the opening day of competition, kicks off the weekend in the men’s hammer throw at 5 p.m. FSU’s Gainesville contingent is made up predominantly of field event and women’s sprint competitors.
Friday’s schedule includes competition at all four venues. FSU’s distance crew gets things going at the Raleigh Relays, hosted by NC State shortly after 9 a.m., beginning with the women’s 5000-meter run.
In Austin, Texas at the 91st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, the Seminole men’s sprint squad has a busy morning planned with the 4×100 relay team tackling preliminary round competition at 10: 55 (ET). Less than an hour later, Andre Ewers, Edward Clarke and Raheem Robinson climb into the blocks for 100-meter dash qualifying. The finals in both events are set for mid-afternoon Saturday.
The action resumes in Gainesville shortly after 12 noon with Trey Cunningham, Tye Dickens and Dante Newberg scheduled for the 110-meter hurdles. Among the highlight events involving Noles, Ka’Tia Seymour and Shauna Helps are in the invitational 200, Kenneth Fisher and Corion Knight are joined by Keniel Grant in the invitational long jump, while Shanice Love will chase her third consecutive win of the season in the invitational discus, alongside Gleneve Grange and Ieva Zarankaite.
“The field events have big opportunities this weekend against great competition,” Braman said. “The triple jump crew, in particular, will be key for us, as this is their season opener in that event. The throwers love to compete at UF and they’ll be launching some big throws I’m sure.”
Armani Wallace, Montel Nevers and Ashton Butler will represent the Noles in the triple jump on Sunday at the Florida Relays, where Austin Droogsma will double-dip, competing in the invitational discus before defending his shot put title from a year ago.
Back in North Carolina on Friday, the distance-centric Raleigh Relays will include Noles in action, beginning at 5:44 p.m. with the start of the women’s 1500, followed by the men’s 5000 and culminating with freshman Addi Coggins’ women’s 10,000-meter debut, set to start at 10:31 p.m.
And just as the Friday action is wrapping up on the East Coast, five of FSU’s top distance runners will begin competing in Palo Alto, Calif. at the Stanford Invitational.
Michael Hall and David Barney are slated for action in the 5000-meter run, with the first heat scheduled to begin at 10:56 (ET). Shortly after midnight, Militsa Mircheva will make her collegiate 10,000-meter debut, to be followed by Steven Cross and Stanley Linton in the men’s 24-lap affair.
“Some of the big keys will be the 10k racers and the 4×100 relays,” Braman said, assessing the full schedule. “The 10k is rarely contested and so this might be the only cool-weather opportunity for a region mark for Cross, Linton and Mircheva
“The 4×100 relays need weekly reps in hot competitions if we want to be successful at nationals, so that’s a challenge for this weekend. The men’s sprinters head to Texas Relays and I know Andre Ewers wants a little Lone Star State revenge from indoors. The women’s sprinters were fantastic at home last week and now they’re ready to take the next step at Florida Relays.”
Through last weekend’s FSU Relays, the Noles appear to have already locked in 10 women’s and seven men’s NCAA East Preliminary qualifying marks, based on historical top-48 (or top-24 relay) standards. Those numbers should climb at the conclusion of this weekend’s coast-to-coast chase.
“It’s all real exciting and collectively I hope we have a monster weekend,” Braman said.
You can monitor live updates via Twitter from all four meets @FSU_Track, or check in at the following links for live results or webstreams.
How To Follow The Noles
Live Results https://noles.co/2pKV0TJ
Friday SEC Network+ (12:15-1 pm & 1:25-4:10 pm) https://noles.co/2GiSgTS
Saturday SEC Network+ (2:40-3:30 pm/4:15-6 pm/6:40-7:35 pm) https://noles.co/2GTWFOa
Live Results https://noles.co/2E4NxTQ
Live Results https://noles.co/2GVdMyX
Friday ACC Network Extra (6 pm) https://noles.co/2GVErf8
Live Results https://noles.co/2uAyRfK
Friday Flotrack Live Stream (12 pm, ET) https://noles.co/2GnesfH