CLEMSON, S.C. – In search of quality competition in the final full schedule of competition before the postseason, Florida State’s nationally-ranked track & field teams have split up across three meets nationally for competition Friday and Saturday.
“This is a critical weekend for us,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “It’s the proverbial ‘Moving Weekend’ for us. We’re slight ACC favorites on both sides and we need to make a statement leading into those championships.”
The largest group of Noles – comprised predominantly of sprinters, hurdlers and throwers – are squaring off against loaded men’s and women’s fields at Clemson’s Tiger Paw Invitational.
The No. 2 FSU men will face stiff competition from No. 4 Houston, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 20 Penn State, No. 28 Ohio State and No. 30 Tennessee, as well as a host of talented individuals whose teams are not among the top 30.
Third-ranked Texas A&M headlines a group of 10 women’s teams ranked among the top 30 nationally this week, including the No. 5 Noles. Kentucky (No. 10), Tennessee (No. 16) and South Carolina (No. 18) out of the SEC are joined by Big Ten powers Penn State (No. 19) and Ohio State (No. 21).
It’s only fitting that in their tune-up for the ACC Indoor Championships that the Noles will also get a close-up look at conference rivals Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Clemson’s lightning-quick track will serve as the back-drop for some elite competition, with FSU’s elite runners – Trey Cunningham and Cortney Jones (60 hurdles), Kasaun James (200), Ka’Tia Seymour and Jayla Kirkland (60/200) – looking to lock up or improve on their NCAA event rankings.
Others like Darryl Haraway (60/200), Michael Timpson (60), Ashley Miller (60 hurdles) and Karimah Davis (400) are chasing NCAA qualifying marks as part of their season-long progression.
Equally interesting to see will be the 60-meter standout Bryand Rincher’s 200-meter debut and Tye Highman’s season-opener in the 60-meter hurdles.
“Most of the national fireworks for us will be at the Clemson meet,” Braman said. “Our women’s sprints/hurdles will be a key for us at both the ACC and National level, so they need to post some fast times. Men’s sprints continue to improve and we have a chance to land some more national qualifiers.
“Our 400-meter men and Tye Highman will be key for us if we’re going to be ACC Champs again. They’re ready to post some big marks this weekend as well.”
Tiger Paw Invitational
Live Results: http://adkins.trackscoreboard.com/#/results/meet/116
David Hemery Valentine Invitational
Live Results: https://www.lancertiming.com/results/winter19/valentine/index.htm
Live Stream: http://live.flotrack.org/#/event/8503-2019-bu-david-hemery-valentine-invitational
Live Results: http://www.flashresults.com/2019_Meets/Indoor/02-08_Tyson/
Live Stream: Friday http://www.espn.com/watch/_/id/3484014/tyson-invitational
There will be no shortage of quality competition at the Tyson Invitational and the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, where the Noles have deployed their jumps and distance groups, respectively.
FSU’s Armani Wallace and Rougui Sow, ranked No. 2 in the triple jump and No. 3 in the long jump nationally, respectively, will tangle against equally stout competition in Fayetteville, Ark., which has long been a kind venue to jumpers hunting big marks.
The meet will also mark the return of redshirt junior Jogaile Petrokaite, the 2017 ACC Indoor long jump champion and four-time NCAA Championships qualifier, who missed all of 2018 with an injury.
“We’re excited to get Jo-Jo back on the runway,” Braman said. “We’ll need her to jump well if we’re going to defend the women’s title. Similarly, Jacore Irving’s progress in both jumps could be the difference in a tight battle. Armani and Rougui will continue to build their national resumes on the fast Tyson runways.”
The distance crews will lace it up at Boston University’s speedy, 200-meter oval with the women competing Friday and the men on Saturday. Women’s milers Jodie Judd and Maudie Skyring are hunting NCAA qualifying marks, as is Militsa Mircheva, who will compete in the 3000. The meet will also mark senior Mike Hall’s return to the track where he broke the four-minute mile barrier last season.
“We’ll be at the BU launching pad and we’re excited to post some fast times,” Braman said. “Mike Hall and Bert Freire are ready for fast times and we’re going to need men’s distance to contribute in two weeks. Militsa will try and get an NCAA qualifier at 3000 meters and both Judd and Skyring have a shot at Nationals in the mile as well.”
You can follow along throughout the weekend with constant updates via Twitter @FSU_Track and also checkout @ncaatrackfield on Instagram, where the Noles will be taking over on Friday. Complete recaps will be posted at Seminoles.com at the conclusion of each day.