April 27, 2017 - by
Penn Relays, Tom Jones Memorial Host Track Teams

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s highly touted throws group and the men’s 4×100 relay team will compete at historic Franklin Field at the 123rd Penn Relays Carnival, Thursday through Saturday. Two-time defending champion and Penn Relays record-holder Kellion Knibb leads a strong contingent of Seminoles, including teammates and fellow Jamaicans Gleneve Grange and Shanice Love, in Friday’s college women’s discus championship section.

 

Grange will actually jump-start the Noles in competition Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in the college women’s shot put championship section. The redshirt junior is coming off a career-best mark of 16.16 meters (53-0.25) , which ranks No. 3 in the ACC and No. 3 all-time among Seminoles. Among the field of 13 in the elite section, Grange is seeded fifth.

Later Thursday, sophomore Veronika Kanuchova makes her Penn Relays debut in the women’s hammer, where she ranks sixth nationally with a season-best mark of 65.75m (215-8). Kanuchova will be pressed by Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe, the 2014 NCAA champion and 2015 runner-up, who enters the competition with a top mark of 68.05m (223-3) and ranks No. 2 nationally.

Competing unattached, freshman Steven Cross will hunt a U.S. Junior national qualifying mark in the 10,000-meter run, with the race set for 11:05 p.m. (ET).

On Friday, the Noles will have a busy schedule at two locations. The men’s 4×100 relay or Jamal Pitts, Edward Clarke, Raheem Robinson and Kenil Grant is hunting a second consecutive trip to Saturday’s Penn Relays Race of Champions, which will likely require an improvement on their season-best 40.16.

Knibb begins her three-peat title quest alongside Grange and Love as the Jamaican trio competes in the championship section of the discus set for 11:30 a.m. Austin Droogsma, ranked No. 7 collegiately, will square off with No. 6 Josh Awotunde as the top two seeds in the college men’s shot put championship section, set for 12 p.m. Senior Chad DaCosta and redshirt sophomore Fred Jones are slated to compete in the college sections of the shot put and discus, respectively.

Penn Relays, Tom Jones Memorial Host Track Teams

“There’s a legacy with Penn and throws for us,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “We’ve had a real history at Penn with throws and it’s been a pretty good one. And with the men’s 4×100, we need to get as many reps as we can because that’s a national scoring group when everybody’s healthy. The 4×100 is absolutely critical. They need to solidify their NCAA East position.”

At the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Fla., 29 Seminole women and 14 Seminole men will compete in the one-day event, with the women’s pole vault leading off the day at 11 a.m. followed by Jogaile Petrokaite – ranked No. 19 nationally in the long jump – following up at 12 noon.

Among the Noles looking to make some headway on the NCAA East and National ranking lists are Shauna Helps, who will compete in the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay, and Peta-Gay Williams and Nicole Setterington in the 100-meter hurdles.

The Seminole women will also attempt to break under the 45-second mark in the 4×100 relay at Florida’s Percy Beard Stadium.

“Regardless who is in it, we need to get that NCAA East mark knocked out, because at the end of the year – with the elite hurdle girls and Shauna Helps on it – it’s a national scorer; better than squads that have made finals before,” Braman said.

Shaquania Dorsett not only figures to be in the mix for a spot on the 4×100, but coming off her season-best 53.06 400 win at Stanford last week, will try and improve her NCAA East standing.

Ed’Ricus Williams, the 2016 Florida Relays men’s high jump champion, hopes to find his stride at 1 p.m., while FSU’s quartet of men’s 800-meter runners – led by Jake Burton – will be hunting NCAA East marks at 4:35 p.m.

Braman called the men’s 800 a matter of “urgent business,” with grad student Jaap Vellinga joining Matt Magee, Matt Butler and Burton chasing quality marks. Burton is the lone member of the group with an NCAA East qualifying mark.

“We’ve got three potential regional qualifiers who don’t have marks and training indicates that these guys can easily crack in the 1:49.6, which is what it took last year,” Braman said. “We have a lot of work to get done in the 800.”

With the ACC Outdoor Championships just two weeks in the offing – the Noles will host the Seminole Twilight next Friday – Braman stressed the importance of rounding into shape with the postseason right around the corner.

“We definitely need to get the momentum going the right way,” he said. “There’s work to be done for sure, because we go for three consecutive weeks, theoretically.”

Penn Relays live results can be tracked here http://pennrelaysonline.com/Results/schedule.aspx, while the Tom Jones Memorial meet will post live results here http://www.halfmiletiming.com/live-results/2017/4.28.17uftomjones/results/.

As always, FSU updates will be available periodically via Twitter @FSU_Track, with a complete recap posted to Seminoles.com at the conclusion of competition Thursday-Saturday.

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