TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There is no time for transition as the Florida State track & field teams put the indoor season in the rearview mirror and embark, whole-heartedly, on the outdoor campaign this weekend. With the men’s and women’s teams sending contingents to both the Bulls Invitational at the University of South Florida (Friday and Saturday), and Friday’s Yellow Jacket Invitational at Georgia Tech, it’s full steam ahead for a season that will culminate with the mid-June NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
One of the anticipated strengths of the Florida State program this spring will be the field events, and the Bulls Invitational will mark the outdoor debut of some of the Noles’ very best.
Sophomore Veronika Kanuchova, who broke the Mike Long Track record in the hammer last season while competing unattached, will make her outdoor debut on the USF campus Friday at 2 p.m. in the first event of the meet. Kanuchova, a three-time Slovakia National silver medalist, enters the 2017 season with a 2016 personal-best mark of 69.48 meters (227-11) which exceeds the top throw of any returning collegian.
Graduate student Kellion Knibb, the 2016 NCAA Outdoor silver medalist in the discus with the top returning mark in the nation (61.44m/201-7) begins her quest for a medal upgrade in her final season of eligibility on Saturday.
Among other notable Noles competing on Friday at USF will be Brandon Tirado (men’s hammer), the men’s discus quartet of Emmanuel Onyia, Chad DaCosta, Austin Droogsma and Fred Jones, and Ed’Ricus Williams in the high jump. Combined-event athletes Melissa-Maree Farrington and Dante Newberg are also scheduled to compete.
The sprinters and hurdlers are slated for action on Saturday with the Noles entering men’s and women’s teams in the 4×100 relay, both of which qualified for the 2015 NCAA Championships. Peta-Gay Williams and Cortney Jones will race in the 100-meter hurdles, while ACC 100-meter champion Shauna Helps will jump-start her outdoor season in the 400-meter dash. NCAA 100-meter dash qualifier Edward Clarke will open the season in the 200, while 2015 All-ACC 400-meter hurdler James Rhoden will make his return to the event after a one-year absence.
You can follow the Noles throughout the meet via live stats at http://bit.ly/2n174zA.
The distance squads for both the men and women are traveling to Atlanta to compete in a variety of events. Fifth-year 800-meter standout and co-captain Jake Burton will knock off the rust in a pair of events (1500, 800), leading a group which includes Jaap Vellinga, Matt Magee, Will Simons and Tyson Murray, among others.
Transfer Militsa Mircheva will make her outdoor debut for Florida State in the 1500, one of several Noles competing in one-off events in an effort to build strength early in the year. Catherine Blaney, Madison Harris, Emily Edwards and the freshman trio of Emily Edwards, Hailey Hendry and Megan Mooney are among the other entrants.
The Friday-only event will feature Seminole women and men entered in the 1500 (2:40 p.m.), 800 (4:55 pm) and 5,000 (6:30 p.m.). You can track the Noles’ progress via live results at http://results.deltatiming.com/tf/2017-yellow-jacket-invitational.