TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There will be a packed bus for next week’s short drive to Jacksonville, where the Florida State track & field teams will compete at the NCAA East Preliminary, where the objective is quite simple:
Post a top-12 finish in any event and advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas, June 5-8.
Few teams nationally carry more momentum into the NCAA postseason than the Seminole women. Fresh off a record-setting romp to the fifth ACC Outdoor title in program history the 10th-ranked Noles boast their largest contingent of qualifiers since the NCAA went to East and West Preliminary meets in 2010.
“Our women are riding high after their epic ACC win, and a big part of that was several of them knocking out Regional qualifiers in the process,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “It’s really exciting to have such a big group going to Jacksonville, and it’s across all event groups.”
The women will send 23 qualifiers – 22 individuals and the 4×100 relay team – into competition at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium. The total qualifiers eclipses the previous high of 20, set in 2014.
FSU’s men climbed 17 spots to No. 20 in this week’s USTFCCCA National Ratings Index – the biggest move among teams ranked in the top 45 nationally – following some impressive performances in their third-place ACC Championship finish.
The Noles count 18 qualifiers heading to Jacksonville.
“Our men’s group isn’t our biggest ever, but it has some really elite athletes who project to put big points on the board at Nationals,” Braman said. “But, we have a few wild cards that are good enough to punch their tickets to nationals as well. I could see two to three sprinters join Andre [Ewers] in Austin, and people like Jacore Irving, Mike Hall, Sanjae Lawrence, Brandon Tirado or Kyle Fearrington could join the party as well.”
ACC Championship Track MVP’s Ka’Tia Seymour and Andre Ewers lead the way as double qualifiers in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, while also anchoring their respective 4×100 relay teams. Jayla Kirkland joins Seymour in the same trio of events.
Cortney Jones and Shanice Love are the top seeds in the 100-meter hurdles and discus, respectively, while Militsa Mircheva is seeded second in the 10,000-meter run. In all, 12 FSU women are seeded 12th or better.
“This is the deepest team we’ve had in my nearly 20 years here,” Braman said of the women. “I hope that depth helps us in our title chase in Austin.”
Armani Wallace holds the highest seeded among FSU men, checking in at No. 2 in the triple jump. Trey Cunningham is the No. 4 seed in the 110-meter hurdles, while Ewers is seeded sixth in both the 100 and 200. Jacore Irving is the only other two-event qualifier, earning spots in both the long jump and triple jump.
“It would be great to seven or eight scoring opportunities at Nationals, which makes the Regions such a critical meet,” Braman said, referring to the men.
Competition begins Thursday at 12 p.m. with Brandon Tirado in the hammer and Lauri Paredes in the javelin, and concludes Saturday evening.