Multi-eventers at #TXRelays16; distance at Stanford
Veteran heptathletes Grete Sadeiko and Melissa-Maree Farrington, and freshman decathlete Dante Newberg will be competing at the 89th Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Wednesday and Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Sadeiko and Farrington are among a field of 31 entrants hoping to knock out early-season NCAA Championship qualifying marks. Newberg will make his collegiate decathlon debut against a field of 18, which will include collegians as well as Olympian and Texas grad Trey Hardee.
The heptathlon competition begins at 11:30 a.m. (ET) with the 100 hurdles, with the high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash to follow on the first of two days of action. The seven-event competition continues Thursday, beginning at 12 noon with the long jump, followed by the javelin and 800.
Newberg begins the 10-event decathlon with the 100-meter dash Wednesday at 12 noon (ET), which is followed by the long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 meters. The 110-meter hurdles, the first of five events Thursday, gets the action going at 11 a.m. and is followed by the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meters.
“The highlight to start off the week will be our two ladies getting after it in the heptathlon,” Braman said. “They can punch their [NCAA] tickets right now. Last year Grete did just that. Both of them are in top form and they have each other to compete against in the very good Texas Relays multis.
“It’s always good for our program to start doing those big, quality things right now, because it lends momentum to the other people when we get people into the national meet. It opens the doors. Everybody feels like, ‘Ok, I’m next.’”
On Friday, four Seminole distance runners will take to the track in Palo Alto, Cal. at the Stanford Invitational, historically one of the top distance meets annually.
FSU senior All-American Zak Seddon, who has locked in a pair of NCAA qualifying marks with runner-up 3000-meter steeplechase finishes at the meet in 2013 and 2015, will return for a final time hunting his first career win. A year ago Seddon posted the second-fastest time of his collegiate career (8:36.55) in a seven-plus lap battle with eventual champion Tabor Stevens of Adams State.
“Zak Seddon is really ready for a great opener in the chase,” Braman said. “I think he’s got a very good chance at taking his personal-best of 8:34 down. We’ll see how the race unfolds. If it’s a fast race there is a chance that he can get the Olympic standard, which is 8:30.0. That’s not a far reach if things go really, really well, he might be able to check that box real early.”
Redshirt sophomore Bridget Blake, an NCAA East Preliminary qualifier in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, will also make her season debut in the event. Blake ranks ninth on FSU’s all-time list (10:16.90) in the event and is poised for a big season coming off a breakout indoor campaign.
“Based on indoor, Bridget is way, way ahead of last year and looking for a significant improvement in her chase race,” Braman said. “We certainly think she’ll get a regional mark, if not do something nationally.”
With eyes on posting early NCAA East qualifying marks, seniors Georgia Peel and Christine Griggs will chase those standards against quality fields in the 1500 and 10,000, respectively, Friday night.
“That’s the same story for Georgia and Griggs, is to go ahead and knock out a regional mark in that distance carnival, where there’s really good weather and really good competition and opportunity to do something big,” Braman added.
Larger group headed to Gainesville for Florida Relays
A larger group of Seminoles will be competing over the course of three days at the annual Florida Relays inside Percy Beard Stadium at the University of Florida, which begin Thursday but kick into high gear on Friday and Saturday.
Florida State will be well-represented against quality competition in a host of invitational events, including the women’s long jump (Der’Renae Freeman), women’s hammer (Katja Vangsnes) and the women’s discus (Kellion Knibb). All of those field events will take place Friday.
On the track, Jake Burton and Otniel Teixeira landed spots in the men’s invitational 800. Shauna Helps and Jande Pierce earned spots in the invitational women’s 200, while Darryl Haraway will test himself against the field in the men’s invitational 200.
“The men’s 800 is usually spectacular there,” Braman said. “Jake Burton and Otniel Teixeira are looking for big marks. They’re certainly in top form.”
On Saturday, most of the on-track action is reserved for relays, and the Seminole women figure to be especially stout in the shuttle hurdle relay, led by Meme Jean, Nicole Setterington and Peta-Gay Williams. All three women are also entered in Friday’s 100-meter hurdles.
Both the men’s and women’s 4×100 relay teams, which opened with NCAA East Preliminary-worthy marks last week at the FSU Relays, will be tested by a deeper field of quality competition. Many of the same athletes will also compete in the 4×200 relay.
“The shuttle hurdle relay for the women will be kind of Penn Relays preview for the women,” Braman said, of the rarely contested event. “We’re trying to see if we can run spectacularly fast.”