TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fresh off strong performances at the ACC Outdoor Championships, the Florida State track & field teams are prepared to make some noise at next week’s NCAA East Preliminary, which will be held May 24-26 at the USF Track & Field Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
The Noles are well-represented on both sides as the field of qualifying men and women, which were released by the NCAA on Thursday.
FSU’s 12th-ranked men, fresh off their ACC title, qualified 16 men in 19 individual events, plus the 4×100 relay. The women, who were a strong third last week at Miami, are advancing 11 in 16 individual events as well as their 4×100 relay.
“We qualified really well for the first round of the NCAA Championships,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “This one of our biggest groups in the last five or six years, and many of our qualifiers have a legitimate chance to make the Finals in Oregon.
“We’re represented in every area and we have legitimate national qualifying chances in all those areas.”
The three-day NCAA East Preliminary pits the top 48 athletes in 18 individual events, as well as the top 24 teams in each relay, based on the top marks recorded over the course of the season. By the conclusion of meet the top 12 in all events will advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 6-9.
ACC Championship Track MVP Andre Ewers is the No. 1 seed in the 200-meter dash on the strength of his slightly wind-aided 19.98 for the conference title. The junior transfer is also seeded fourth in the 100-meter dash (10.04w). He swept both of those events at the ACC Championships as the Noles men clinched their 12th title – the most among active conference schools – on Saturday at Miami’s Cobb Stadium
The Noles’ lone No. 1 seed on the women’s side is sophomore discus thrower Shanice Love. Love also won an ACC title and boasts a season-best throw of 57.77 meters (189-6).
Based on top 12 seeds, the Noles project to qualify seven individuals in addition to the 4×100 relay. In addition to Ewers, Austin Droogsma (No. 4, shot put), Corion Knight (No. 4 long jump; No. 8 high jump), Armani Wallace (No. 5 triple jump) and Trey Cunningham (No. 7 110 hurdles) are the highest FSU seeds, along with the No. 9 4×100 relay team, which includes Darryl Haraway, Ewers, Darryl Gay and Edward Clarke.
The women could be even better represented at the collegiate finale at Historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus, which will be demolished and replaced by a modernized stadium. Published reports say the new stadium, which will be online for the 2021 IAAF World Championships, will have a $200 million price tag.
The Noles boast 10 individuals with top-12 seeds, as well as their 4×100 relay.
While Love is the lone top seed, she has plenty of company among highly-seeded teammates. Ieva Zarankaite is the No. 4 seed in the discus and No. 10 in the shot put, right behind Gleneve Grange (No. 9). Militsa Mircheva (No. 5 10,000), Lauri Paredes (No. 6 javelin) and Cortney Jones (No. 7 100 hurdles) are single-digit seeds along with Ka’Tia Seymour, who projects to advance in two events (No. 7 200, No. 11 100). Shauna Helps (No. 16 200) is also a member of the No. 9 seed 4×100 relay team, which includes Jones, Seymour and Jayla Kirkland.
Braman, now in his 15th season at the helm of the Seminole men and women, is looking forward to returning to his hometown of Tampa, where he spent the first 17 seasons of his collegiate coaching career at USF.
“We feel like it’s a big advantage for us to be so close to home, and we’re certainly acclimated to the heat and humidity,” Braman said. “I can’t wait to get back to my hometown and see if we can’t have a great first round weekend.”
The Seminoles will depart of USF on Tuesday. The meet will be streamed live by Flotrack to subscribers http://bit.ly/2IdZWYf and live results can be monitored throughout the competition at https://www.ncaa.com/sites/default/files/external/track-field/results/d1/outdoor18/East/index.htm.
As always you can stay up to date with the Noles via Twitter @FSU_Track and get complete coverage at Seminoles.com.