GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For three dozen Florida State track & field athletes, Friday’s Tom Jones Memorial Invitational at the University of Florida is all about opportunity. For some, it is one of the final opportunities to earn a spot on the ACC Championships roster by hitting qualifying standards or proving to the coaching staff that best is yet to come.
For others, it provides an opportunity to post an NCAA East Preliminary mark – or improve on an early standard – in an effort to secure one of 48 positions reserved for the best in each individual event.
Still others, like combined-event athletes Grete Sadeiko and Dante Newberg, are taking advantage of the opportunity to improve specific events they will contest in the ACC heptathlon and decathlon, respectively.
“The Tom Jones meet is a great opportunity for us to punch our NCAA Region tickets and to also earn some ACC marks,” Florida State head coach Bob Braman said. “This is a high-level meet that gives us elite competition, right down the road.”
The day-long meet at Percy Beard Stadium begins with field events at 11 a.m., specifically the men’s hammer (Brandon Tirado), women’s discus (Sasha-Ann Lebert), women’s long jump (Grete Sadeiko) and a quartet of women’s pole vaulters.
Junior Chad DaCosta and redshirt freshman Frederick Jones are scheduled to compete in the men’s discus at 12: 30 p.m., as well as Katja Vangsnes in the women’s hammer.
The first events on the track begin at 1 p.m., where Nicole Setterington, McKoya Banton and Sadeiko will compete in the 100 hurdles, followed by Newberg in the men’s 110 hurdles. In the case of both Sadeiko and Newberg, the meet will provide them with an opportunity to contest multiple events in one sitting.
Jamal Pitts, who blistered a breakout 200 last week, will get his first opportunity to race at 100 meters. Alistair Moona has time to make up in the men’s 400, as does Madison Harris and Matt Butler in the women’s and men’s 800. Stephen Sutherland is chasing an NCAA East mark in the 200, while Courteney West has an eye on a top-48 spot in the women’s 1500.
West will be joined at that distance by ever-improving men, Michael Hall, Bryce Kelley and Max del Monte.
You can get periodic Twitter updates @FSU_Track or check back late Friday night for a full recap of the day on Seminoles.com