April 4, 2014
The Florida State men's and women's track & field teams are spreading out across the country this weekend as they begin preparing for the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which is just two weeks away in Chapel Hill, N.C.
"It is an important weekend," Florida State head coach Bob Braman said.
While Braman has four men's distance runners in California at the Stanford Invitational, associate head coach Ken Harnden is travelling a larger group to the eight-team Crimson Tide Invitational. The goals for both groups will be to lay down NCAA East Preliminary qualifying marks, while tuning up for the ACC Championships, where the men will try and defend their 2013 outdoor title and the women will attempt to complete the triple crown of league titles by successfully following up their 2014 indoor title.
Braman's group will compete late Friday night (early Saturday, Eastern Time) with Bryant Blahnik, Glen Yarham and Kevin Johnson tackling the always-tough 10,000-meter field, with senior Jakub Zivec racing in the 1500.
"The mission there is simple: put down a mark that will likely qualify for NCAA Regional Championship," Braman said. "You only get so many chances in the 10k. From there they can focus, initially, for two weeks down the road in conference."
Zivec, who missed much of the indoor season, is trying to reclaim the form that led to his All-American cross country honors as a junior. "Ever since the conference indoor meet he's been on fire," Braman said of Zivec. "We're looking for a regional mark."
At the Sam Bailey Track and Field Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., NCAA Indoor champion and Alabama native James Harris will make his outdoor debut in the high jump. Fellow NCAA Indoor champion, sprinter Dentarius Locke, is scheduled to compete in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay events.
The competition in Alabaman should be stout with the host Crimson Tide and Seminoles joined by Indiana, Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma, Penn State and Texas-Arlington, all of which boast either top 25 team national rankings or individuals ranked among the elite. The day-long meet is set for Saturday.
"That's going to be an extraordinarily good meet," Braman said. "Anybody that is trying to get into the conference meet in two weeks is going pretty hard."
The `Noles will be heavily represented in the field events on both the men's and women's side. The meet will also mark the outdoor season debut for FSU's talented women's distance team under the direction of Karen Harvey. Colleen Quigley, the 2013 NCAA Outdoor runner-up in the steeplechase, will make her outdoor debut in that event and be joined by transfer Pippa Woolven. Linden Hall will lead a large group of Seminoles in the 5000-meter run.
Freshman sensation Kali Davis-White, who has been limited to relay work in the first two outdoor meets of the season, is scheduled to make her individual event debut in the 200.
Just like the Stanford group, the `Noles will be looking to register early NCAA East Preliminary qualifying marks while ironing out relay combinations.
Florida State will return to action at home next weekend in the two-day Seminole Invitational at Mike Long Track in what is the final tune-up before the ACC Outdoor Championships.
Stanford Invitational Live Results/Meet Info: http://www.rtspt.com/events/stanford/invite2014/
Crimson Tide Invitational Live Results/Meet Info: http://branchsportstech.com/2014_Meets/outdoor/04-05-crimsontide/index1.php