March 7, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.- With the men's sprinters and jumpers and the women's distance group leading the way, the Florida State track & field teams are ready to see where they measure up against the nation's best at the 2013 NCAA Indoor National Championship meet.
Thirteen Seminoles - seven men and six women - are qualified for the two-day event, which opens Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Complex on the University of Arkansas campus. The FSU men are ranked No. 6 in this week's USTFCCCA computer poll - its highest standing of the season - while the women check in at No. 18.
Whether the `Noles have enough qualifiers to equal their rankings in the final team standings, remains to be seen. Florida State head coach Bob Braman has long looked at the indoor season as a stepping stone to the outdoor campaign, but as associate head coach Ken Harndensaid:
"If they're handing out trophies, we want one."
The Seminoles figure to have a formidable presence in a number of events.
Freshman Marvin Bracy and junior Dentarius Lockeare the top two seeds in the 60-meter dash, an event that has never previously been won by the Seminoles. Bracy, the No. 1 seed, is bidding to become the first true freshman to win a national championship in the 60 since Baylor's Jacob Norman did it in 2006 and only the second since at least 1999. He and Locke, who is also a member of the Seminoles' fourth-seeded 4x400 relay, have been lock-step together at the top of the rankings since unleashing times of 6.54 and 6.56 at the Feb. 9 Tyson Invitational meet, which was contested on same track as the championship meet.
Junior high jumper James Harris enter the meet tied for the sixth best mark (2.26 meters/7-5), after setting the Florida State school record last week at the Alex Wilson Invitational. Like Locke, Harris will also double up on the 4x400 team, which also earned a qualifying mark last week at the Alex Wilson Invitational (3:06.55). Alonzo Russell and Stephen Newboldround out the 4x400 quartet.
Senior Amanda Winslowleads FSU's nationally-prominent women's distance group as the No. 3 seed in the mile on the strength of her school-record 4:33.22 set earlier in the year. Winslow, who is also scheduled to compete in the 3000-meter run, is making her fourth consecutive NCAA Indoor Championship appearance. Her previous best finish was a fifth-place showing in the mile as a sophomore in 2011.
The Seminoles' distance medley relay team shattered the school and conference record at the ACC Championships, winning in 10:57.41. At the time it was the second-fastest in the country this year and the 12th-fastest in NCAA history. Senior Jessica Parry steps in to replace Winslow on the relay and will be joined by freshmen Sage Watson and Georgia Peel, and sophomore Colleen Quigley. The Seminoles are the No. 3 seed in the 12-team race.
If the Seminoles are to ascend beyond their ranked positions in the team scoring they will need contributions from athletes ranked outside the top eight spots. Junior triple jumper Phillip Young is the No. 16 seed, but he was sixth a year ago at the championship meet and is FSU's lone returning indoor All-American. Sophomore Stefan Britsis seeded 13th in the long jump, but has been remarkably consistent throughout the season and appears poised for a breakthrough.
On the women's side, junior Anne Zagreearned a late berth into the 60-meter hurdle field due to an injury. Zagre, a member of Belgium's 2012 Olympic team, where she advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles, is no stranger to the big stage.
The two-day meet will be streamed live by ESPN3, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. (ET), with Saturday's broadcast set to begin at 7 p.m. You can access ESPN3 directly through Seminoles.com.
Fans can also follow the action via Twitter @FSU_Track, with complete recaps available at Seminoles.com or facebook.com/FSUTrack.