March 21, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- The 34th FSU Relays, one of the largest and most competitive track & field meets in the South, begin Friday at Mike Long Track on the Florida State campus. More than 2,400 high school, college and post-collegiate athletes, will compete in the two-day affair that will feature some of the nation's most talented athletes.
The host Florida State men's and women's teams are among the field of 24 colleges competing from a group that includes their Atlantic Coast Conference rivals Virginia Tech and Clemson and perennial powers Florida and Michigan. The competition gets underway with the first field events set for 12 noon Friday, followed by the 4x100 relays kicking the action off on the track at 1 p.m. Friday's competition will close with the Distance Showcase, featuring the best college and high school competition, which begin at 5:15 p.m. and draw to a close with the 10,000 meters set for 8:35 a.m.
Saturday's action begins at 8 a.m. and runs throughout the day, culminating with the 4x400 relays, which begin at 4:30 p.m.
"We're excited to have our biggest FSU Relays ever," Florida State coach Bob Bramansaid. "It's the 34th annual, which makes it one of the largest and most prestigious in the South. It will be great to break in our new track and continue to be the outstanding host that we've always been."
The meet will mark the first competition on Florida State's newly-resurfaced track. The Hobart Texture Synthetic Surface, installed by Beynon Sports Surfaces, is the most advanced in the industry. It is the next generation of the surface installed at Oregon's historic Hayward Field, the host site of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
No fewer than nine 2012 Olympians are set to compete over the weekend, including former Seminoles Kimberly Williams (Jamaica, triple jump), Gonzalo Barroilhet (Chile, decathlon), Lacy Harper (USA, pole vault) and 2008 Olympian Rafeeq Curry(USA, triple jump). The meet will also serve as the return of former Seminole All-American and 2011 Bowerman Award winner Ngoni Mitchell, who will compete in the long jump for the first time since suffering an Achilles injury last spring, which prevented him from representing Zimbabwe in the Olympics for a second time.
"I think it's going to be a great experience for the high school kids to be around the best teams in the ACC, but also the Olympians and great kids we have here at Florida State, and compete in the same arena," Braman said.
The Seminoles will be well-represented on the track right from the start with standout sprinters Marvin Bracy, Dentarius Locke and James Harris competing in Friday's first event - the 4x100 relay. Newly-minted All-American long jumper Stefan Brits and 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championship qualifiers Andrew Lahaye (pole vault) and Darrin Gibson(1500) will also contend for individual honors on the men's side.
Junior shot put and javelin standout Chelsea Whalen will continue her chase for the school shot put record, while Briana Cherry-Bronson, who set the FSU indoor mark in the weight throw, will attempt to set an NCAA qualifying standard in the hammer. Junior Elizabeth Ichite, fresh off a personal-best and a win in the 400 last weekend, will also compete.
FSU junior transfer Anne Zagre, who reached the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles at the London Olympics representing Belgium, will make her home debut for the Seminoles. She will be joined by a host of talented first-year FSU women, including freshmen Maryke Brits (long jump, 100 hurdles), Hannah Acton (pole vault, high jump), Der'Renae Freeman (long jump, 4x100), Sage Watson (400, 4x400), Ewa Marcinkiewicz (400 hurldes), Natalie Concepcion (800, 1500), Kellion Knibb (shot put, discus) and heptathlete Grete Sadeiko(100 hurdles, long jump, javelin).
There is no admission charge for the two-day event and you can follow the action via Twitter @FSU_Track #FSURelays. Complete coverage of the meet can be found at www.seminoles.com, as well as http://www.facebook.com/FSUTrack