April 12, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Seminole Invitational is traditionally used as the final tune-up for the Florida State track & field teams prior to the Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Championships.
That's still the case this weekend, but fans attending the Friday-Saturday meet at Mike Long Track will get an added bonus.
Women's distance coach Karen Harvey will unleash her top runners - Hannah Brooks, Amanda Winslow, Violah Lagat and Jessica Parry, among others - in the 800- and 1500-meter event on Saturday. Given the closely-managed training schedules of one of the elite programs in the nation, it will provide those in attendance a rare chance to see the Seminole women go all out at a home event.
Collectively, the Seminole men and women will be chasing both NCAA Regional-qualifying marks while vying to secure spots on next week's ACC Championship meet in Charlottesville, Va.
"For a lot of people this is a critical meet because they're looking to earn their spot to go to conference," said FSU head coach Bob Braman. "We have a lot of things we need to get done. We need to be on top of it this week or we're not going to be able to just flip the switch come next Thursday."
It's a relatively low-key meet with representatives from eight schools joined by some national and world class unattached athletes kicking off their London Olympic season efforts in earnest.
One of those athletes is former Seminole All-American and national champion Barbara Parker, who is vying for a spot on Great Britain's Olympic team. Parker will compete in the 1500 against a field that includes All-Americans Winslow and Brooks, as well as standout Seminole freshmen Aubree Worden and Colleen Quigley. FSU's Linden Hall, Astrid Leutert, Kayleigh Tyerman, Jackie Drouin and Chelsi Woodruff are also in the 1500.
Former Seminole Luke Gunn, who is also vying for a spot in the London Games on his home soil, will also give it a go in the 1500 meters.
Lagat and Parry will attempt to post regional-worthy marks in the 800 on Saturday.
Among the most prominent unattached athletes scheduled to compete are former Seminoles Ngoni Makusha (long jump) and Kim Williams (triple jump). Christian Taylor, the 2011 World Champion in the triple jump, is also scheduled to compete in the long jump and the 100-meter dash.
The action gets underway Friday at 4 p.m. with the discus and high jump, followed by the javelin (6 p.m.) and the long jump (7 p.m.). Action on the track begins at 7 p.m. with a 3000-meter race, followed by the steeplechase and 5000 meters.
Saturday's action gets underway with the hammer throw at 10 a.m., followed by the triple jump and 100-meter hurdles at 12 noon. The highly-anticipated women's 1500-meter run is set for 3:40 p.m., which should provide just enough time to get to Doak Campbell Stadium for the 4 p.m. start of the annual Garnet & Gold spring football game.
Saturday will begin with commemoration ceremony at 11:40 a.m., as the McIntosh Society and track alumni honor former Seminole thrower, Spc. Marc Anderson, who died serving his country in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002.
You can follow the Seminoles in action throughout the meet via Twitter @FSU_Track and check back with Seminoles.com for recaps and photos each day.