Feb. 15, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With four meets behind them, the men’s and women’s track and field teams will head to Blacksburg, Va., to take on the best the Atlantic Coast Conference has to offer. The Seminoles enter this weekend’s conference championships with several of the ACC’s top athletes, all of which will need to compete at their highest level to achieve a conference championship in Blacksburg. Florida State will face nationally-ranked competition in this weekend’s conference meet, as Clemson’s men’s and women’s teams are both ranked in Trackwire’s Top-25. The Tigers are ranked 12th on the men’s side and third on the women’s squad, while also earning a No. 6 ranking in the Team Power Rankings, for the men’s squad. North Carolina’s women’s team, last year’s indoor conference champions, enter the weekend ranked 22nd in the Trackwire Top-25. FSU’s men’s team enters the competition ranked 27th in the power rankings. The Seminoles will look for a successful return to Blacksburg, where several of the Garnet and Gold set season-best marks earlier this season.
The FSU men’s team, which finished fourth in last year’s indoor championship, return many of its top performers from last season and should have a chance to take home the conference crown. Leading the Seminoles will be a newcomer to Tallahassee, Shawn Brown. The junior transfer from the University of South Florida has jumped his way to national prominence, clearing 7’3 ?” at the Virginia Tech Invitational. Brown’s mark currently leads the conference and ranks him in the top-five NCAA marks in the country this year. Brown is the favorite to win the high jump title, which would keep the conference high jump crown in Tallahassee, as Brown looks to continue the tradition began by Christian Bland last season. Bland, a junior from Lawrenceville, Ga., won the indoor conference title last year. Bland cleared a career-bets height of 7’1″ at the USATF Indoor Championships last season, and has already cleared 7′ ?” this season, earning the conference’s fourth-best high jump of the season.
The dominance the Seminoles own in the high jump is matched by their prolific triple jumpers. Senior Joe Allen and sophomore Mario Lowe have owned the conference in the horizontal jumps this season. Allen leads the duo, notching the conference’s best mark in the triple and long jumps, both of which he nailed at the Virginia Tech Invite. Allen’s season-best mark in the long jump, 24′ 4 ?” falls just short of his career-best of 25’10”. Allen is the reigning ACC indoor and outdoor champion in the long jump, and will look to retain the title this season. He also took home an ACC crown in the triple jump in last year’s indoor season and is the favorite to capture that title again this year following his ACC-leading triple jump of 51’6 ?”, an NCAA provisional mark. Allen’s greatest competition for the triple jump title could also be wearing garnet and gold this weekend, as Lowe has jumped his way to the conference’s second-best mark heading into this weekend’s competition. Lowe is currently the only other athlete in the Atlantic Coast Conference to hit the sand with a 50+ mark, notching a second-place mark of 50’8 ?” at the Virginia Tech Invite. The Seminoles will add to their depth in the horizontal jumps with sophomore Kolby Jones, who has turned in a 23’6″ long jump this season to rank 10th in the conference.
FSU should also own the edge in the pole vault this season, as the Seminoles have three vaulters in the conference’s top-10. Leading the `Noles is senior Jason Dean. The senior from Clearwater, Fla., has returned from a season-ending injury last year to lead the conference with a 16’10 ?” mark, cleared at the Gator Invitational. Dean is followed closely by sophomore Jeff Atkinson, who notched a 16′?” mark this season, and stands at No. 4 in the conference. Pat Gerberich rounds out the vaulting trio with a 15’1″ mark earlier this season. Gerberich owns a career-best mark of 16′ ?” and could break into the conference’s top-five this season.
Adding to the Tribe’s strength in the field events are newcomers B.J. Linnenbrink and Dorian Scott. The duo of throwers has made their mark in the ACC in the weight throw and the shot put, respectively. Linnenbrink, a transfer from Johnson County Community College, owns the conference’s third-best weight throw this season, while Scott, a freshman from Springfield, N.J., tossed the shot 53′ 6 ?”, also notching the ACC’s third-best mark. Both athletes will look to score for the `Noles this weekend in their effort to win an ACC Championship.
FSU will also look to sprinter Danyne Brown and distance runners Maarten van den Heuvel and Joep Tigchelaar to contribute in the point totals. The Seminoles 4x400m relay team should also see success, as it enters this weekend with a season-best time of 3:17.31, behind only Clemson, Virginia and Georgia Tech.
On the women’s side, the Lady Seminoles will look to return to the winner’s circle after winning the program’s first ACC title in last year’s outdoor season. With the loss of several All-ACC performers from last year to graduation, the `Noles will look to a combination of seasoned-leadership and strong newcomers to lead the team’s way to another conference title.
Leading the women into battle will be junior Makiba Batten. Batten is the most decorated returner from last year, earning All-ACC indoor and outdoor honors after winning the conference title in the shot put, capturing NCAA All-America accolades in the discus and setting a new FSU record in the discus with a mark of 172’10”. Batten enters this weekend’s competition with the fourth-best shot put in the conference, but should challenge Clemson’s Jamine Moton for the title. Joining Batten in the thrower’s circle will be newcomer Nicole Scott. Scott, a transfer from Oklahoma State, has focused on the weight throw this season, and has proven to the be Seminoles’ leader in that event. Scott notched her season-best mark and finish at Florida Intercollegiates, when she tossed the implement 52’6 ?” for a sixth-place finish. She currently stands seventh in the conference with that mark.
The Lady Seminoles will also look to a strong pole vaulting corps to put points on the board. Newcomer Megan Robbins, who joined Scott in her move from Oklahoma State, cleared the bar at 12’1 ?” for the `Noles’ best mark this season, as well as the third-best mark in the conference. Veteran Lindsay Osborn is close behind Robbins, clearing 12-feet for the ACC’s fourth-best mark. The two pole vaulters are the highest ranked duo in the conference. Taressa Bundy has also turned in strong performances in the field events, as the junior from Cleveland, Ohio landed a 41’5 ?” triple jump in her last trip to Blacksburg. Kim Jones will join Bundy in the sand, entering this weekend with the conference’s fifth-best mark at 39’2 ?”. Jones has also made her way onto the conference’s top-10 list in the long jump (10) and the 55m hurdles (1). Jones’ time in the 55m hurdles (8.04) in the finals of the Gator Invitational has made her the favorite in that event in this weekend’s meet. Nyila Littlejohn of Clemson is the next closest competitor at 8.09. Andrea Dulmage and Laura Gerber should also make an impact in the distance and middle distance events.
Competition begins for the 2001 Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championships at 11:00 a.m. on Fri., February 16, with the men’s long jump. The distance medley relay ends Friday’s competition at 6:30 p.m., before action resumes Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. with the men’s weight throw. The Championships will conclude with the 4x400m relay at 4:30 p.m. Look for all the results and latest information at www.seminoles.com.