Clemson, SC -- The post-Atlantic Coast Conference Championships track & field schedule is all about preparation for the NCAA postseason, which provides the backdrop for Florida State’s participation in Saturday’s Bob Pollock Invitational.
With no fewer than 14 Seminole men and 14 women virtually assured of spots at the NCAA East Regional, many of whom are competing this weekend, the meet represents a chance to stay competitively sharp while improving seeding position.
For others, like senior thrower Michael Putman, it provides one of the final chances to earn a mark worthy of regional qualification. After qualifying for the NCAA Championship in the shot put and discus each of the last two seasons, Putman is making his season debut. He has been sidelined since suffering a broken right thumb throwing the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships, which required surgery.
Putman had his cast removed two weeks ago, and while he’s still a week away from competing in the shot put, he will compete in the discus at Clemson.
Several other Seminoles will try and post regional qualifying marks as well. Redshirt freshman Markindey Sineus is currently ranked 49th in the hammer, while Trevor Andrews is 85th. With only the top 48 athletes advancing to the May 24-26 regional at UNF, they are on the clock.
The same applies for Justin Byrd in the 110-meter hurdles, where his season-best time of 14.30 ranks 52nd. Stefan Brits (long jump), Pablo Navarrete (800), Stephen Newbold (200), Kieran Showler-Davis (200), Ronald Bolden (400) and John Kennedy (pole vault) also fall into that category.
On the women’s side, Jackie Drouin, Aubree Worden and Linden Hall are all on the wrong side of the top 48 rankings in the 1500-meter and will attempt to join four Seminole teammates who are currently ranked in the top 15 in that event. Likewise, Marsha Ariol will need to drop at least a full second from her season-best 400-meter hurdle time of 1:00.80 to climb from 62nd and into the top 48. Briana Cherry-Bronson has some work to do to get into the regional mix in the hammer throw as well.
While some ‘Noles have their sights set on breakthrough performances, others are looking to sharpen their skills for the stretch run. Decathlete Gonzalo Barroilhet, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation, will get some competitive work. Barroilhet is entered in the 110 hurdles, shot put, discus and javelin.
Sprint standouts Maurice Mitchell and Horatio Williams won’t be sweating out qualifying standards, but Saturday’s meet may well represent their last attempts to improve on their times in the 100 and 200. The same holds true for David Ambler in the 100. He may benefit from shaving a few tenths off his 10.44 100 PR, which currently ranks 36th.
Seminole jumps standouts Amy Harris (long jump) and Michelle Jenije (triple jump) will use the meet as a chance to polish their already impressive resumes, while Desmonae Gray (triple jump) will focus solely on improving her No. 33 ranking.
The same holds true from Chelsea Whalen, who is well within the qualifying standards in both the javelin and shot put, but is looking to make strides.
The one-day meet at the Rock Norman Track & Field Complex begins with field events at 10 a.m. and concludes with the 800-meter run at 7:35 p.m. Live stats for the meet are available at http://timinginc.com/ and a full recap of Florida State’s performance can be found Saturday evening at Seminoles.com.