Tallahassee, FL - Represented by a 51-athlete contingent, the Florida State track & field teams will compete in the two-day UAB Blazer Invite to open the 2014 indoor season, with preliminary round and field event action set for Friday at the Birmingham (Ala.) Crossplex Arena.
The meet, which wraps up Saturday, will mark the Seminole debut of 11 athletes including highly-touted freshmen Michael Cherry (4x400 relay) and throwers Austin Droogsma and Chadrick DaCosta (shot put) on the men’s side. Freshman sprinter Kali Davis-White (60m dash, 300m dash, 4x400) and long sprinter Sydnee Over (500m, 4x400) headline the most acclaimed newcomers on the women’s side who will compete in garnet & gold for the first time.
“I’m interested to see what the newbies do,” Florida State men’s and women’s coach Bob Braman said. “We have so many new people who are conference-level people that may or may not be national level. When they put the uniform on for the first time in a meet like this, those people get a little more excited than the veterans do. The vets are trying to knock some rust off and see how their fall (training) program went, which is kind of what we expect from them.
“In the field events, sometimes you’ll get a big ‘wow’ moment from a throw, jump or vault.”
The meet will feature plenty of competition, both collegiately and from post-collegiate athletes, including former Seminoles and Olympians Ngoni Makusha (long jump) and Gonzalo Barroilhet (pole vault, 60m hurdles). Defending NCAA Indoor men’s champion Florida, along with the Gator women, are scheduled to compete as well as athletes from Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. In all, more than 30 collegiate teams are entered.
In addition to the newcomers, several of Florida State’s most heralded athletes will also take part in the competition, including senior All-Americans Dentarius Locke, James Harris and Alonzo Russell, who were members of the 2013 school-record 4x400 relay team which placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Locke and Harris were members of Team USA which competed this past summer at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
Harris will also compete in the high jump after placing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in that event in the spring.
Junior All-American Stefan Brits will compete in the long jump along with senior Paul Madzivire, who was the 2012 ACC indoor and outdoor champion but did not compete last season.
On the women’s side, multi-time All-American senior sprinter Marecia Pemberton is schedule for duty in the 60- and 200-meter dash events. Senior Chelsea Whalen, who set the school record outdoors in the shot put last season, will take aim at the indoor mark after a banner summer. Another senior, Briana Cherry-Bronson, returns to the scene of her school-record weight throw performance, eager to build on that standard.
Friday’s schedule begins at 5 p.m. (ET) and includes preliminary heats in the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles, as well as the 500- and 300-meter sprints on the track. The weight throw, triple jump, men’s high jump and women’s pole vault are also on the opening day slate.
You can follow the action the link for live stats below and through periodic updates on Twitter @FSU_Track, with a complete recap available at www.seminoles.com.