Feb. 23, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After taking a week off from competing to continue training at the Mike Long Track, the Florida State track and field teams (Men-No. 13/ Women-No. 20) will travel to the Rector Fieldhouse on Virginia Tech’s campus for the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships beginning Thursday, February 25-27. Both the men and women’s squads will be looking to defend their 2009 titles that saw the men earning its seventh-consecutive trophy, eighth overall, and featured the women dominating the meet for the first time in program history.
“On the men’s side it will be us, Virginia Tech and Virginia who will all be fighting for the top spot,” FSU Head Coach Bob Braman added.”It’s going to be a battle again. We have won seven straight so that’s a streak we want to keep on going. If we keep our athletes healthy we will have a good shot. We need to get some national qualifying marks so we can get more at the national meet. We’ve got work to do.”
As an eight-time ACC Champion, the men will look to senior Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) to lead the way alongside the 2009 ACC Indoor Field Performer of the Year and two-time ACC Champion Ngoni Makusha (Mandedza, Zimbabwe). Joining both Clark and Makusha in guiding the men will be Gonzalo Barroilhet (Santiago, Chile) as FSU’s only heptathlete while he battles to defend his 2009 ACC title.
Keep an eye out for returning All-ACC performer Maurice Mitchell (sprints: Kansas City, Mo.) who took home the bronze medal in both the 60m dash and the 200m dash last season.
Fellow sprinter Brandon Byram (Gallatin, Tenn.), who currently holds the ACC’s top 200m time, is also slated to compete alongside Mitchell and Clark in the sprint events in addition to the 4x400m relay.
On the distance front, look for Matt Leeder (Brockville, Ontario), Ciaran O’Lionard (Macroom-Co. Cork, Ireland) and Nathan Duby (Winter Springs, Fla.) to contribute points, while Michael Putman (throws: Miami, Fla.) and Andrew Bachelor (high jump: Pompano Beach, Fla.) represent the `Noles on the field.
“Last year on the women’s side was a real magical year so it’s going to take a lot of hard work to achieve that again,” Coach Braman said. “This year is going to be tough with people like Susan Kuijken gone. You just don’t replace people like that, but we are up for the challenge. There is no question though that we are going to be better outdoors though. Our stars are going to have to be stars and we need to have a big meet.”
Six-time ACC Champion Kim Williams (Kingston, Jamaica) will be leading the women to defend their 2009 title as the junior posted 18 points in last season’s meet. Fellow jumper and All-ACC performer Amy Harris (Birmingham, England) will join Williams on the field with newcomer Michelle Jenije (Tallahassee, Fla.).
Senior Allyn Laughlin (Ambridge, Pa.) and Caila Coleman (Tallahassee, Fla.) will be representing the garnet and gold in throws while pole vaulter Liz Mabry (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) and high jumper Tiara Swanagan (Orange Park, Fla.) battle to earn their first NCAA provisional marks of the season.
Assistant Coach Jackie Richards’ sprinters will be looked at to score points for FSU with returning All-ACC performers Danielle Jeffrey (Kingston, Jamaica), Brittany St. Louis (Arima, Trinidad & Tobago), Candyce McGrone (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Teona Rodgers (Tampa, Fla.).
As the only returning indoor All-ACC distance runner, Pilar McShine (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) will be relied on to also add points as the `Nole earned a silver medal in the mile run last season. Joining McShine on the track will be Amanda Winslow (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Jennifer Dunn (Decatur, Ala.) and Andrea Palen (Gardiner, N.Y.) who will travel to their first conference meet.
“It’s a sense of pride about winning those ACC rings,” Coach Braman said. “We’ve got to keep fighting. This is the burden and stress we carry as being one of the top schools. All I’m asking for is to try our best.”
Fans can keep up with live stats throughout the meet on www.flashresults.com and can go to www.seminoles.com for daily recaps.