June 1, 2007
Tallahassee, FL – The Florida State track and field team prepares for the biggest meet of the season, the NCAA Outdoor National Championships hosted by Sacramento State. The men’s team remained No. 1 in the nation throughout the outdoor season and will fight to defend its title at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif., June 6-9.
Returning from last season is an elite group of Seminole athletes in both the sprints and 3,000m steeplechase events. Leading the men will be junior sprint phenomenon Walter Dix (Coral Springs, Fla.) in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. Dix enters the national meet ranked No. 1 in those events after winning all three at the NCAA East Region Championships on May 25-26. His time of 19.69 broke the 200m collegiate record and makes him the featured athlete competing next week.
“[Walt] is that featured guy,” head coach Bob Braman said. “But that doesn’t put any extra pressure on him. Walt knows how to block it all out. He gets into his world and that’s the way he’s always been. He won’t be intimidated.”
Seniors Greg Bolden (Morrow, Ga.) and Andrew Lemoncello (St. Andrew’s, Scotland) return to the NCAA Championships in hopes of adding crucial points to the board for Florida State. Bolden, an NCAA Division II National Champion while at Albany State, will run the 100m and the lead-off leg of the national leading 4x100m. Lemoncello returns for his third consecutive national meet in the 3,000m steeplechase after placing fourth in the event both in 2005 and 2006.
Junior Ricardo Chambers (Palm Beach, Fla.) was the runner-up in the 400m to Xavier Carter of LSU last season but enters the national meet ranked on-top in his event and is favored to claim the title this year.
The last of the individual veterans is sophomore Michael Ray Garvin (Upper Saddle River, NJ) also entered in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. At the regional meet this year, Garvin placed third in the 100m and fourth in the 200m and ran the third leg of the champion 4x100m relay. Garvin placed eighth in the 200m last season but hopes to score higher in his events this time around.
Joining the fight for the first time will be freshman Charles Clark (Virginia Beach, Va.) who qualified in the 200m and will run resume his role as the anchor leg of the 4x100m. Clark scored at three championship meets for the Seminoles including second at the regional meet and outdoor conference meet and fourth at the indoor NCAA Championships, all in the 200m event.
Another new face is junior Luke Gunn (Forest Gate, England) who automatically qualified in the 3,000m steeplechase with a third-place finish at the regional meet in Gainesville, Fla.
This season the men are no longer seen as the underdogs. Although the men were ranked No. 1 entering the nationals, they were not considered to be the big threat last year. But in 2007 the Seminoles will be the team everyone is gunning for.
“I think [we are] that team everyone is watching,” Braman said. “Last year on the charts we were favored as well but people thought we would fold-up and we didn’t. This has never been an overnight thing and we don’t have to go and do anything different [for nationals]. We are not going to over-think or sit down and talk about it. We didn’t do that last year and we’re not going to this year.”
On the women’s side, six individuals earned a spot on the roster including seniors Barbara Parker (Norfolk, England), Alyce Williams (Palm Coast, Fla.) and Sarah Reed (Punta Gorda, Fla.) who each competed last season the 3,000m steeplechase, triple jump and shot put, respectively.
Parker took second in the steeple at the NCAA East Regional Championships, improving her career-best and remaining No. 1 all-time at Florida State with a mark of 9:53.23. Williams was the runner-up in the triple jump at regionals, earning an automatic bid with her 43’5.25″ leap. Reed will return with an at-large mark of 53’0″ in the shot put.
Joining the returnees this year will be sophomore Susan Kuijken (Nijmejor, Netherlands) in the 1,500m, junior Debbie Huss (Wyomissing, Pa.) in the 10,000m, Alycia Williams (Palm Coast, Fla.) in the 400m, and the 4x100m relay.
The excitement begins on Wednesday, June 6 at 10:00am PST with the men’s decathlon. The first event for the Seminoles will be the men’s 4x100m relay semifinals at 3:00pm PST. Seminoles.com will be updated every evening following competition and host Sacramento State’s website, HornetSports.com, also has important information.