TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gather nationally ranked track & field teams and individuals from host Florida State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Rutgers and Ohio State, mix in a dozen or more post-collegians with Olympic Games experience and eyes on Rio this summer, and you have the makings of the finest Seminole Invitational in meet history. The two-day event begins Friday at 12 p.m. with the men’s hammer and wraps up Saturday with the men’s 4×400 relay at 4 p.m.
What transpires in between those times will undoubtedly produce quality results and intense competition, both among the collegians and the professionals in attendance. In all, 19 college programs, including 10 from the NCAA Division I ranks, are lined up and ready to compete.
Between the rosters of the Division I teams alone there are 63 athletes – 33 men and 30 women – ranked among the top 25 in their respective events.
In addition to the aforementioned Division I programs the field will include athletes from Georgia Tech, USF, UNF, Jacksonville and Florida A&M.
“This is the highest quality meet we’ve ever had for the Seminole Invite,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio State and Rutgers bring talented squads to Mike Long Track. And there are a bunch of pros who are looking to hit the Olympic standard. I’m super excited to host such a meet but I’m even more excited for our athletes who get to compete at such a high level on their home track.”
South Carolina is the top-ranked men’s team, checking in at No. 10, with Ohio State close behind at No. 15 in this week’s USTFCCCA NCAA Division I National Team Computer Rankings. On the women’s side, Tennessee arrives ranked No. 19 while the host Seminoles are at No. 22.
Given the quality of competition and the venue, the meet will provide a feel not unlike the ACC Championships, which the Seminoles will host next month.
Certainly, the level of talent among post-collegians adds to the affair. Former Seminoles with Olympic pedigrees scheduled to compete include Walter Dix, Kimberly Williams, Ngoni Makusha, Anne Zagre and Rafeeq Curry. Among the other Olympic hopefuls on hand are FSU freshman Veronika Kanuchova, who is sitting out a redshirt season but aiming for the track record in the women’s hammer and a spot on the Slovakian Olympic team.
FSU volunteer coach Ricardo Estremera will be chasing an Olympic qualifying mark in the 3000-meter steeplechase Friday night for a spot on the Puerto Rican national team.
Beyond the Seminole connections, Olympic sprint hopefuls Gloria Asumnu and Dezerea Bryant on the women’s side, and James Ellington, Gabor Pasztor and Dwayne Cowan are among the top seeds on the men’s side.
Florida State junior Kellion Knibb, ranked No. 2 nationally in the women’s discus, is among a strong group of elite collegians competing on Friday. Senior Otniel Teixeira leads a solid field in Friday’s 800-meter run, where he is currently ranked No. 14 nationally.
The men’s discus and women’s high jump follow the hammer at 4 p.m., with the women’s long jump set for 7 p.m. Friday. The first track event, the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, will go off at 7:20 p.m.
Saturday’s competitive schedule begins with the javelin at 10 a.m., followed by the first track event – the women’s 100 hurdles – at 12:05 p.m.
“We’re looking to hit some ACC and region qualifying marks this weekend,” Braman said. “The competition will set us up nicely to do so.”
There is no admission charge to the Seminole Invitational.
You can monitor the results live here http://results.flotrack.org/2016/04-15-FSU/ and keep abreast of the Seminoles via Twitter @FSU_Track. A complete recap at the conclusion of each day will be posted to Seminoles.com.
Farrington competing in Hep at Charlotte
Junior heptathlete Melissa-Maree Farrington, who was unable to open her season at the Texas Relays due to illness, will compete in the heptathlon at the Charlotte Invitational Friday and Saturday at Irwin Belk Track & Field Center on the campus of UNC-Charlotte.
Farrington will begin her heptathlon quest with the 100 hurdles, set for 2 p.m. Live results are available at http://www.lostiming.com/Meets/Results/Charlotte/
Senior recognition set for Saturday
More than two-dozen Florida State track & field athletes competing in their final season of eligibility will be recognized for their contributions to the program on Saturday at 11:40 a.m. before the start of the running events at the Seminole Invitational.
This weekend’s meet is also the “Paint It Pink” event in support of Breast Cancer Awareness as the Seminole will be sporting pink ribbons throughout the competition.