Feb. 2, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State men’s and women’s track and field teams will make their way to Gainesville, Fla., for the second time this season, this time to compete in the Gator Invitational. The meet, hosted by the University of Florida will be an unscored meet that will feature some of the top track and field programs in the country. Of the 24 teams competing, 12 are ranked in the latest Trackwire Top-25 poll. Alabama enters the meet with the highest ranked men’s team, standing at fourth in the country. The University of South Carolina enters the weekend with a No. 3 ranking, the highest of any competing women’s squad. Four of the teams competing have both their men’s and women’s squads ranked, Florida (m-t18, w-t13), Auburn (m-11, w-t25), LSU (m-6, w-t23) and Mississippi (m-t16, w-11).
Florida State enters this weekend’s competition with some of the most prolific athletes in the nation. Senior Joe Allen and juniors Makiba Batten and Shawn Brown head the list, while juniors Megan Robins and Mario Lowe can also compete on the national level. Brown returns this week after having last weekend off, giving him a chance to concentrate on bettering his height of 7’3 ? “. This mark was a NCAA Provisional mark and currently stands as the third-best height in the country. Senior Christian Bland could be Brown’s biggest competitor this weekend, as he looks to clear 7-feet for the second time this season. The one-two punch of Allen and Lowe currently lead the conference in the triple jump, with Allen leading the way with his 51’6 ?” mark at the Kroger Invitational. Lowe added a 50′ 8 ?” mark to finish second in that event at Virginia Tech’s Kroger Invitational. Newcomer B.J. Linnenbrink will add to the Seminoles’ dominance in the field events, as the thrower currently stands second in the ACC with a 61+ mark in the weight throw at the Kroger Invite.
Junior Makiba Batten has already shown signs of greatness in the shot put, posting a 46’4 ?” mark at the Florida Intercollegiates. The Lady `Noles’ recent dominance has come in the pole vault, as the duo of Robbins and senior Lindsay Osborn have combined for the first and fourth-best marks in the conference, respectively. Robbins has already posted the second-best mark in FSU history (12’1 ?”) this season after transferring from Oklahoma State two years ago and redshirting last season.
The Gator Invitational will feature some important firsts for the Seminoles. Michael Jennings returns to the track for the first time this season. Part of the defending ACC Champion 4x400m relay team, Jennings will compete in the 400m dash this weekend. Jennings currently owns the 10th-best 400m time in FSU history. Joining Jennings on the track for the first time this season will be 2000-season standout, Maarten van de Huevel and newcomer Joep Tigchelaar. Tigchelaar comes to Florida State with an extensive resume of international competition, including qualifying for the Junior World Track and Field Championships in the 10,000m. Tigchelaar will compete in the 3,000m for the first time this season. Maarten van de Huevel will return to the track to compete in the 800m, an event which he led the 2000 squad in.