May 9, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- What can be one of the most nerve-wracking weekends of the track & field season should be a little less stressful for the Florida State teams.
The Seminole men and women won't be sweating out too many events as they compete at the Georgia Tech Invitational and the Virginia Challenge in what widely recognized as the "last chance" weekend of qualifying for the NCAA postseason.
With most of its top athletes already locked into qualifying spots for the May 23-25 NCAA East Preliminary, the `Noles are in build-up mode for a final push.
"We're in good shape across the board," said FSU associate head coach Ken Harnden, who is in Atlanta with the Seminole sprinters, jumpers and throwers. "This is a tune-up, not a last-chance effort. We're trying to get everybody ready for two weeks out and the first round of nationals."
Only the top 48 ranked athletes in each event -the top 24 in each of the sprint relays - at the end of this weekend will advance to the East Preliminary meet.
From the group of Seminole competing in Atlanta, pole vaulter Karly Jackson, 400 hurdlers Sarah Chandler and Marsha Ariol, Garrett Singletary and Stacey Alvarez in the javelin and Briana Cherry-Bronsonin the hammer are still chasing qualifying spots. Several others will try and protect their current qualifying marks with improved performances.
"We like what we've done," said Harnden. "We the like the group that's on the bus and we're ready to go put a good one down."
The competition at Georgia Tech's George C. Griffin Track will run Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, FSU's top distance runners will be sharpening up in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday against one of the most competitive fields in the east.
Much like the Atlanta group, there are only a handful of athletes still hunting qualifying marks at Virginia. Most of those will compete in the 10,000 meter race, including Jennifer Dunn on the women's side, and male counterparts Seth Proctor, Josh Graciaand Will Bridges.
"The big-timers have already got their marks," FSU head coach Bob Bramansaid. "We've got a few things to do. This is also going to be our first back-to-full speed competition since conference. This is really important so in two weeks we can shift into gear and do what we do at regionals."
With major conference championships also being contested this weekend, the Seminoles will need a strong showing to preserve their current standing in the USTFCCCA National Computer rankings.
The Florida State men are currently ranked No. 3 nationally, while the women are No. 16.