April 4, 2013
GAINESVILLLE, Fla.– With the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Championship meet quickly approaching on the horizon, the Florida State men’s and women’s track & field teams will try and solidify their postseason roster this weekend at the 69th annual Pepsi Florida Relays.
Roughly 50 Seminoles will compete Friday and Saturday at Percy Beard Track, including some of the more prominent members of the team who have not yet opened their outdoor seasons, or will be competing in individual events for the first time. That group includes star sprinters Marvin Bracy and Dentarius Locke, who will compete in the 100 and 200, respectively, and also team up on the 4×100 relay team.
Women’s distance coach Karen Harvey will unleash her crew for the first time in the 5000-meter run and 3000-meter steeplechase, both of which are set for Friday night. All-Americans Amanda Winslow and Colleen Quigley will lead the distance contingent, which will also include 2012 NCAA qualifier Kayleigh Tyerman.
“This is really an important competition for virtually all of our groups because we’re two weeks away from the ACC meet,” Florida State head coach Bob Bramansaid. “Next weekend is more of a fine-tuning and selecting the people that are on the border of making the (ACC) team. … We want to see where we are. We have people coming back from injuries and those kinds of things. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Both the FSU men and women are expected to contend for top team honors at the ACC Championships, set for April 18-20 at NC State in Raleigh, N.C. The Seminoles bring plenty of momentum into one of the biggest meets in the Southeast following strong performances by the men and women at the Texas Relays and Stanford Invitational last weekend. On the strength of their performance, the Florida State men climbed three spots in the weekly USTFCCCA national computers rankings to No. 6.
The Seminole men currently have four individual event leaders in the ACC, while the women have a pair of event leaders. From a national perspective, the `Noles are off to a strong start, with 14 men and 12 women currently ranked within the top 48 in the NCAA East Preliminary standings. Only the top 48 in each events, and the top 24 relay teams, will move on to the first qualifying round of NCAA Championship competition.
Braman is hopeful those numbers will improve significantly with so many athletes opening up their outdoor seasons on the home track of the rival Florida Gators.
“I’m happy with those that are in those positions,” Braman said. “Those that are on the board right now as likely regional qualifiers are doing really well. A lot of our superstars, our national scorers, need to put their names on the national board and they haven’t yet. … They look to do so this weekend.”
Though the NCAA East Preliminary meet is still six weeks away, it’s clear there is a lot to gain from a strong showing against a powerful field which includes seven top 25 men’s programs and six nationally-ranked women’s teams.
“We’re going to get a lot of work done this weekend with a lot of people that are going to flood that top 20 at the regional and top 10 at the ACC meet,” Braman said.
Friday’s college competition begins at 12 noon. You can keep up with the Seminoles via Twitter @FSU_Track and the official hashtag for the meet is #FLRelays. Check back for recaps at www.seminoles.com and also at http://www.facebook.com/FSUTrack.