COLLEGE STATION, Texas – With 10 of Florida State’s 11 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships qualifiers competing this evening – the first of two days of competition at the Gilliam Indoor Track Center – the action will be fast and furious right from the start.
Friday’s competition involving Noles includes finals in the shot put and men’s long jump, and qualifying heats in the 60- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the 60-meter hurdles.
There are a variety of ways to follow the action throughout Friday’s schedule. Here’s a quick guide:
ESPN3 (6:30 pm, ET) http://noles.co/2FsVA1u
Live Results http://noles.co/2tjTbkD
How It Works
There are 16 athletes in each individual event, with the top nine after three rounds in the shot put and long jump earning three additional throws in the finals. All marks carry over and the top eight individuals score, in a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring distribution to team totals. The top eight also earn first-team All-American honors.
In the sprints and hurdles, the fields are cut in half from 16 to the eight who will move on to Saturday’s finals. In the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles, the top two finishers in each of two heats automatically advance, plus the next four fastest times. In the 200 there are four heats of four runners each. Heat placing is irrelevant as the eight fastest times move on to the finals.
In chronological order of competition, here’s a look at how the competing Noles stack up against the competition in their respective events:
Women’s Shot Put (6:15 pm, ET)
Gleneve Grange, Senior
Grange enters her first NCAA Indoor Championships as the No. 13 seed based on her school-record mark of 17.24 meters (56-6.75). Still, this isn’t her first championship-stage event, after representing Jamaica in the shot put at the IAAF World Championships last summer in London, which followed her first-team All-American performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus. Grange has momentum with her top two marks coming in her last two meets – an ACC runner-up finish and her school-record effort win at the Alex Wilson Invitational. FSU Director of Field Events and Throws coach Dorian Scott believes Grange is ready for another big breakthrough and could put threaten the 18-meter mark.
Top contenders: Arizona’s Maggie Ewen (19.20m) and Louisville’s Emmonnie Henderson (18.14m) are the class of the field, but only 54 centimeters separate positions 3-13. Expect a tightly contested battle for those final seven qualifying spots.
Men’s Long Jump (6:30 pm)
Corion Knight, Senior & Kenneth Fisher, Grad Student
FSU is one of three schools with two qualifiers in the competition, with Knight (8.02m/26-3.75) the No. 3 seed – one of only three men over eight meters – and Fisher (7.81m/25-7.5) checking in at No. 14 in what many expect to be a wide-open affair. Fisher, who won the ACC title to lead a 1-4 sweep by Noles, has been here before. He finished 14th at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships as an undergrad at Bethune-Cookman. Knight, a freakish athlete who beat all comers for the Tyson Invitational title and was second to Fisher at ACC’s, is a transfer from Florida Memorial University where he won an NAIA national title outdoors.
Top contenders: Ohio State’s Zack Bazile (8.13m) and Texas Tech’s Charles Brown (8.03m) are the top seeds, but this is an event wrought with momentum swings and unpredictability. Anything can happen, especially with only 13 inches separating seeds 1-16. It’s a matter of rising to the occasion, which is why Texas A&M’s Will Williams (7.99m) and Florida’s Grant Holloway (7.97m) are the favorites of many.
Men’s 60-Meter Dash Prelims (7:05 pm)
Andre Ewers, Junior
Ewers is the No. 1 seed after laying down the nation’s top time (6.52) in his Jan. 20 Seminole debut win at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational. No one in the field has been able to eclipse that mark in nearly two months, but Ewers’ best since then is 6.64 as the ACC runner-up. There are no shortage of challengers entering the prelims where only .10 seconds separate seeds 1-16 and blanket finishes are the norm. Getting to the finals is the most important goal and Ewers drew lane 6 in heat 2 of the prelims, which includes four others top 10 seeds.
Top challengers in prelims: With only the top two finishers automatically advancing from heat 2, expect South Carolina State’s Demek Kemp (No. 4, 6.59), Arkansas veteran Kenzo Cotton (No. 5, 6.59) and Arkansas State’s Jaylen Bacon (No. 9, 6.60), who was fourth last year, to provide Ewers with the stiffest challenges.
Women’s 60-Meter Dash Prelims (7:15 pm)
Jayla Kirkland, Freshman & Ka’Tia Seymour, Freshman
Florida State’s freshman dynamic duo, who finished 1-2 at the ACC Indoor Championships with virtually identical 7.24 times, enter the competition as the No. 12 and No. 14 seeds, respectively. Despite their youth, they are seasoned competitors with national experience at the high school and junior level, who have risen to every challenge in their first collegiate season. Roommates and friends, they will be separated by two lanes in heat 1, with Seymour in lane 3 and Kirkland in lane 6. With each coming off personal-bests at the ACC meet, they arrive at the meet nearing peak form and capable of more.
Top challengers in the prelims: LSU’s Mikiah Brisco (7.10), the No. 1 seed, Auburn’s Jonielle Smith (No. 3, 7.18) and Natalliah Whyte (No. 5, 7.19) lead the way in a heat which included five of the top 10 seeds. The upside of such a tough draw is the action figures to be fast and could well produce as many as three qualifiers on time, in addition to the top two auto spots.
Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles Prelims (7:55 pm)
Trey Cunningham, Freshman
The third member of FSU’s freshman trio is no stranger to the big stage, either. Cunningham, who won New Balance Nationals and broke the IAAF World Junior 60-Meter Hurdles record in the process last year, debuts as the No. 7 seed (7.70) in the field. He enters the meet off an ACC Indoor Championships title, where he was as impressive through two rounds as he has been all season. He has drawn lane 2 in heat 2 of the prelims, which includes ample competition for both the top-two auto spots as well enough speed to produce a timed qualifying mark.
Top challengers in the prelims: Cunningham will be surrounded by speed with Illinois State’s Jaylan McConico (No. 3, 7.64) in lane 1, Syracuse’s Angelo Goss (No. 6, 7.69) in lane 3 and No. 2 seed (7.61) Ruebin Walters of Alabama in lane 4. Racing in that pack will be important because lanes 7-8 have finalist threats Matt Moore of Syracuse (No. 11, 7.74) and Kentucky’s Daniel Roberts (No. 8, 7.71). Collegiate record-holder Grant Holloway (7.42), whose U20 World mark Cunningham eclipsed last year, is the class of a field where the difference between positions 2-16 is .15 seconds.
Women’s 60-Meter Hurdles Prelims (8:05 pm)
Cortney Jones, Sophomore
After rocketing her way to FSU’s school-record and a silver medal at the ACC Indoor Championships, Jones appears to be right on time for another personal-best in her first NCAA Indoors appearance. She arrives as the No. 10 seed on the strength of her 8.05 in the ACC finals in her best fitness of the season, which got off to a slow start due to a fall injury. An NCAA Outdoors qualifier last year as a freshman in the 100-meter hurdles, Jones can draw on that experience as she chase her first NCAA finals appearance from lane 3 in heat 1 for the preliminary rounds.
Top challengers in the prelims: Kentucky’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, the No. 1 seed (7.95), is in lane 6, while Georgia Tech’s Jeanine Williams (No. 4, 8.02) – who nipped Jones at the line of the ACC finals – is in lane 8. The two fastest freshmen in the field – Arkansas’ Janeek Brown (No. 8, 8.04) and Georgia’ Tara Davis (No. 6, 8.03) – are in lanes 2 and 5 respectively. This heat will almost assuredly produce multiple qualifiers on time.
Men’s Shot Put (8:20 pm)
Austin Droogsma, Senior
The fifth-year senior has been focused on this meet since closing out 2017, when he advanced to both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the shot put for the first time in his career. Droogsma, the No. 6 seed in the field, has been steady as a rock throughout the season leading up to this moment. His last two performances, his career-first ACC title and his win at the Alex Wilson Invitational with a lifetime-best (20.10m/65-11.5), provide ample momentum for the big man with visions of a spot atop the podium. Consistency has been his calling card, which bodes well in an event where performing to one’s ability on championship day is the difference between making a final or not. Beyond a podium finish, Garrett Johnson’s 12-year-old school record (20.48m/67-2.25) is well within reach.
Top contenders: Arizona freshman sensation Jordan Geist (21.45m) and South Carolina senior Josh Awotunde (21.33) are the only men in the field over 21 meters. Defending champion Mostafa Hassan of Colorado State (20.62) and Georgia’s Denzel Comenentia (20.44), the lone qualifier to beat Droogsma head-to-head this season, lead a tightly-grouped chase pack of big men.
Men’s 200-Meter Dash (8:35 pm)
Andre Ewers, Junior
In just his second legal 200-meter race of the season, Ewers laid down the fastest time of his career – indoors or outdoors – to nab the No. 9 seed in 20.60. Along with that came an ACC title for the junior college transfer, who has a knack for performing even better in his second race of the day [he runs the 60-meter prelims earlier Friday]. There’s a popular theory in track circles that Ewers may be as big a threat in the one-lap race as he is as the top seed in the 60. A fierce competitor, he should benefit from his heat 3, lane 5 assignment – randomly chosen, but the preferred lane – in an event where the eight finalists are determined solely by time.
Top challengers in the prelims: Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru (20.25), the No. 1 seed overall, is in lane 3 of Ewers’ heat. In lane 4 is Houston’s Elijah Hall (No. 5, 20.51), while LSU’s Correion Mosby (No. 13, 20.70) is in lane 6. Getting out quickly will be critical to Ewers’ chances. The Nos. 2-3 seeds are South Carolina’s Ncincilili Titi (20.45) and Ohio State’s Nick Gray (20.45), neither of whom are in faster heats than Ewers.
Women’s 200-Meter Dash (8:50 pm)
Shauna Helps, Junior & Ka’Tia Seymour, Freshman
For those who haven’t paid close enough attention, Helps is in the midst of one of the finest indoor sprint seasons in FSU history. Consider this: she has broken and twice lowered FSU’s school record in the 200 and is the top-ranked Jamaican in the World at 23.02. As the No. 12 seed in the field, Helps makes her first NCAA individual event appearance in heat 2, lane 3 of the prelims, where her patented aggressive start should serve her bid to grab a top-eight spot well. Seymour shocked herself and track followers alike with her 22.85 for the ACC title two weeks ago; the No. 5 time in the World and the field for the freshman double-qualifier. Oh, and she could not asked for better positioning in an event where qualifying is determined by time after drawing lane 5 in heat 3, sandwiched between two of the meet’s biggest stars.
Top challengers in the prelims: Helps’ view from lane 3 in heat 2 will include No. 4 seed Kayelle Clarke (22.83) of Kentucky in lane 6, and San Diego State’s Ashley Henderson (No. 8, 22.94) in lane 5. As mentioned, Seymour will start in the cradle of fellow freshmen greatness with World leader and top seed Lynna Irby of Georgia (22.66) to her right, and Kentucky’s Sydney McLaughlin (No. 9, 22.95) to her left. Don’t be fooled by McLaughlin’s seed. The 2016 Olympian in the 400 hurdles as a high schooler has run exactly one 200 this season.
Note: All event start times are ET