TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rocketing up 15 spots in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) computer rankings, the Florida State men’s team is back in the top 10 for the first time since the 2014 season.
Checking in at No. 7 this week, the Seminoles are as high as they have been since also rising to No. 7 in the seventh poll of the 2014 season, where they went on to place fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships
“It’s exciting to be back to the elite level again,” said FSU coach Bob Braman. “Our coaches and athletes have worked tirelessly over the last two years to be back in the hunt.”
Ranked outside the top 25 in the preseason, the Noles have been on a steady climb since, and their ascent from No. 22 to No. 7 this week can be attributed to two key things.
Florida State’s men turned in a big weekend between the Tyson Invitational and David Hemery Valentine Invitational. Corion Knight registered the No. 3 long jump (8.02 meters/26-3.75), while teammate Kenneth Fisher (7.81m/25-7.5) posted the No. 11 mark nationally at Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Track Center.
Meanwhile, at Boston University’s Track & Tennis Center, Michael Hall cracked the four-minute mile barrier, finishing second among all collegians in 3:59.37.
Those developments, along with Andre Ewers’ national-leading 60-meter dash and No. 6 rankings nationally by Austin Droogsma (shot put), Trey Cunningham (60 hurdles) and Armani Wallace (triple jump), provide the Noles high-scoring marks in the computer rankings.
Those lofty rankings are further highlighted by the fact that for the first time this season, the computer model is using only 2018 times and marks in calculating rankings. Previous models factored 2017 performances for all returning athletes to the team totals.
There is often fluctuation week-to-week in the rankings, and the week four models were certainly no exception. While Texas Tech slipped past Florida into the No. 1 spot, followed by Georgia, No. 4 USC rose 11 spots. Among top 10 teams, no squad climbed more positions than the Noles, who are now the top-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference men’s program for the first time this season.
With the ACC Indoor Championships just two weeks away, a handful of Noles will tune up or chase national marks this coming weekend at Notre Dame or Texas Tech, before descending on Clemson, S.C. for the Feb. 22-24 conference meet.
That’s where Braman will turn his focus next, hoping to make another tie back to the 2014 season – when the ACC Indoor Championships were last contested at Clemson – and the Noles carried home their 11th and most recent conference championship trophy.
“Our focus is solely on the ACC Championships, but we hope to keep getting better in the four weeks before Nationals,” Braman said.