May 15, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
For the second time in a month, the Florida State track and field teams will be traveling to Georgia Tech for a big meet. However, this trip will actually have a little more on the line than last month’s ACC Championship. This weekend’s Georgia Tech Invitational represents the last chance for some Seminoles to get a qualifying mark for the NCAA East Regional.
“We’ve got a number of athletes on both sides that are right there for that regional mark,” FSU head coach Bob Braman said. “Everyone in the meet is right around the mark or already qualified for regionals so it’s going to be a very fast, competitive meet. For a bunch of our seniors this is their last chance to extend their career and not many athletes get to run their last meet on their home track so that would be special for some of them.”
The men’s team, which moved up two spots to No. 2 in the latest USTFCCCA National Poll, already has 22 athletes and both relays in the regional meet with 32 different marks. On the women’s side, the Seminoles moved up to No. 17 and they will try to build on their 19 marks from 14 athletes and two relays.
Sophomore Trey Andrews (Titusville, Fla.) has only attempted the steeplechase once in his career, but all he needs to shave is 12 seconds to reach the necessary time of 9:07.00.
In the field events, a pair of Seminoles are right on the verge of the regional meet. Freshman Aaron Steele (Newburgh, N.Y.) returns to the site where he set a personal-best of 14.85m/48-08.75 in the triple jump. He needs to reach 15.00m to get into the meet. An improvement of just over a meter will get sophomore Travis Whitfield (Jay, Fla.) into the hammer throw.
The women’s team has a number of athletes that have a shot of making the regional meet this weekend. Senior Kandia Batchelor (Hillsborough, Fla.) will be a member of the 4x400m relay at the regional meet and she’d like to add her name to the 400m dash as well. Her top time this year of 54.66 is just 0.05 from the needed mark. Almost as close is sophomore Auja Pughsley (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) as she need to trim 0.14 from her 200m time make the qualifying time of 23.96.
Similar to Andrews in the men’s steeplechase, sophomore Amanda Quick (Tampa, Fla.) has only run the race once in college, but is close to qualifying in the event. Her 10:54.00 in her first attempt is less than three seconds from the standard. Senior Audrey Hand (Virginia Beach, Va.) ran a personal-best 4:28.95 last month in Atlanta in the 1500m. She needs to trim just over a second off her time to run one more meet at home.
Just 0.15m, or about six inches in English measurements, separates pole vaulters Tori Allen (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Lizbeth Mabry (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) from qualifying for the regional meet. Their season high coming into the weekend is 3.70m/12-01.50.
“In addition to serving as a last chance meet, this weekend will be a good tune up for our top athletes who haven’t been in action since the conference meet,” Braman added. “Every year this meet serves as almost a preview of the regional because there are so many good athletes here trying to improve their seeding and you’ve got a number of good post-collegiate athletes so it’s going to be an exciting weekend.”
Following this weekend, the qualified Seminoles will prepare for the NCAA East Regional Track and Field Championships on their home track, May 30-31.