June 8, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State track and field teams (Women- No. 4/ Men- No. 8) will head to Eugene, Oregon for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships beginning June 9-12 at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. A total of 18 Seminoles will battle at nationals starting at 1:00 p.m. (PST) on Thursday.
"We want to compete a little bit better than regions," FSU head coach Bob Braman said. "If we are a little better then we are going to have a good showing at nationals. We can't control the other teams so we don't know what else they are going to do and the other team's what ifs. If we can do a good job on our what ifs and take care of our variables then I think we can be challenging for the podium in the top four. Even if both teams finish in the top 10 after all the adversities we have had to overcome it would be great. If we can just have a good meet then we will be fine. That was our goal last year and we exceeded it. We have to stay out of harm's way or we are not going to make it."
Of the nine women qualified to compete at nationals, eight will battle on the track with one lone field competitor in Kim Williams. The two-time Outdoor NCAA Champion looks to lead her team and defend her triple jump title. Coming off her season-best mark of 14.03m at the NCAA East Regionals last weekend, Williams was FSU's first Seminole in history to win both the long and triple jump at nationals last year.
"Kim will be the leader on the women's side," Coach Braman said. "I am really happy the triple jump is early so she can go out there for the team. You feel like she is going to win because she is better than everyone so if that happens it won't really thrust us forward, but if she breaks a collegiate record and defends her title then she will hype everyone up. She is a very vocal leader."
In spite of a lineup change that includes long jumper Amy Harris as the third leg, the 4x100m foursome of Marecia Pemberton, Candyce McGrone and Teona Rodgers will look to impress. Heading into the 100m with the top time and favored to win is Pemberton, while McGrone looks to better her already nation-leading time in the 200m with teammate Rodgers.
"Our 200m athletes need to not think and just run," Coach Braman added. "They should know by now how good they are, but they can't be reading the other team."
Slated to compete in the 400m will be Brittany St. Louis, while mid-distance runner Pilar McShine will hit the track for the 1500m. Distance events will feature two Seminoles in Jennifer Dunn (3000m steeplechase) and Pasca Cheruiyot (10000m).
As for the men, they squad is more balanced with five track stars and four field athletes scheduled to represent the Garnet and Gold. As the busiest Seminole, Maurice Mitchell will compete in three events- 100m, 200m and 4x100m alongside David Ambler, Brandon Byram and Brian Chibudu. Byram will have a quick turnaround as the `Nole will be alongside Mitchell in the 200m.
"Maurice and Brandon will set the tempo," Coach Braman said. "How well we do is going to be determined by some of our most talented people stepping up and give us some points. Some of our athletes have a great shot of doing some things because the best athletes aren't competing in the event. The door is open to hit the homerun and do something big for us."
Making his second-consecutive trip to compete in the 400m, Kevin Borlee looks to have a good showing, while mid-distance runner David Forrester looks to impress in his first showing on the national stage as a Seminole.
As the only Seminole thrower to qualify for FSU, Michael Putman will make his first appearance at the NCAA's in both the discus and the shot put. Jumpers will have a busy day on the field with Chibudu and Marlon Woods in the long jump and Andrew Bachelor in the high jump.
Fans can go to ncaa.com for all information regarding the championships including a live webcast and live results of all events. Also follow FSU's performances live through updates on Twitter @fsugridsid.