ATLANTA, Ga. – With the Atlanta skyline serving as the backdrop over the next three days, the 14th-ranked Florida State women’s track & field team and the 27th-ranked men begin the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Championships quest Friday at the George C. Griffin Track & Field Facility. As the top-ranked ACC team in the field, the Noles women look to extend their recent run of success.
As the defending ACC Champions, the ladies are hunting their third title in four years and fifth all-time. Only once since 2009 has the team finished outside the top two in the final team standings.
Kellion Knibb leads a trio of defending event champions for the Seminole women and is joined by Melisssa-Maree Farrington and Shauna Helps. Knibb, the NCAA leader and ACC record-holder in the discus, has her sights set on becoming the ACC’s first four-time champion in the event.
The Seminole men have goals of their own, chief among them returning to the top of the conference they have dominated to the tune of 12 titles since 2002, with their most recent crown in 2015 capping a three-year reign. Virginia enters the meet as the highest ranked team at No. 11, but FSU is next in line with their highest national ranking of the season.
ACC Network Extra will live stream action each day, with former Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O’Brien providing color commentary, along with two-time Olympian Amy Rudolph handling analyst duties for the distance events. ESPN veteran Shawn Kenney will handle the play-by-play duties.
Links to each day’s livestream (ACCNetworkExtra/WatchESPN):
Fri., May 12 at 6 p.m. http://es.pn/2oMNwiY
Sat., May 13 at 5:30 p.m. http://es.pn/2otlOEo
Sun., May 14 at 5 p.m. http://es.pn/2ooHVMW
Live results for all events can be found at http://flashresults.com/2017_Meets/Outdoor/05-12_ACC/
Brandon Tirado kicks off Friday’s schedule in the men’s hammer at 11 a.m.; one of seven finals contested on the opening day. Top-seeded Veronika Kanuchova follows in the women’s hammer at 2 p.m. Finals for both men and women will also be contested in javelin and 10,000 meters, as well as the women’s pole vault.
Friday’s schedule also marks the first day of multi-event competition with Dante Newberg beginning his 10-event decathlon quest with the 100-meter dash at 11:30 a.m. and defending ACC heptathlon champion Farrington climbing into the blocks for the 100-meter hurdles at 12 p.m.
Freshman Conor McClain, one of 29 combined FSU men and women making their ACC Outdoor Championships debuts, enters the men’s javelin (5 p.m.) as the No. 5 seed. Another pair of freshmen, Nicole Breske and Amanda Lewis, take flight in the women’s pole vault (5:30), and classmate Kayla Maczuga makes her ACC debut in the women’s javelin at 7.
On the track, senior James Rhoden, an All-ACC performer on the 2015 conference championship team, will compete in the preliminary rounds of the 400-meter hurdles as the No. 4 seed at 6:20 p.m. Teammate D’Mitry Charlton, the No. 9 seed, will join him in the opening heat.
Helps, the reigning champion in the 100-meter dash, gets her 2017 postseason started in the 200-meter preliminaries at 6:35 p.m. as the No. 4 seed. On the men’s side, graduate student Jamal Pitts is the No. 2 seed entering the 200-meter preliminaries at 6:55 p.m. and is joined by Edward Clarke and ACC Indoor Track Co-MVP Darryl Haraway, who will be making his first short sprint appearance of the outdoor season.
Sarah Candiano and fourth-seeded Michael Hall will chase down spots in the 1500-meter finals at 7:15 and 7:40, respectively, before Mackenzie Landa and Tyson Murray pull the curtain on the opening day in the 10,000-meter finals at 7:55 and 8:35.
You can follow along throughout the competition via Twitter @FSU_Track and check back for nightly video and written recaps at Seminoles.com, and daily photo galleries on our official facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/FSUTrack/?nr#