EUGENE, Ore. - The Florida State track & field teams will hit jump feet-first into the fray at the NCAA Championship meet Wednesday at historic Hayward Field, with six athletes competing in opening day events.
FSU's fifth-ranked men, who will be represented by 10 athletes in nine events, have finished eighth or better at each of the last eight NCAA Championship meets. Four Seminole men will compete in semifinal round action Wednesday, including the 4x100 relay, Dentarius Locke (100), James Harris (400) and Zak Seddon (steeplechase). Senior Andrew LaHaye will make his third championship appearance in the pole vault finals.
Only two members of the 18th-ranked women's team - Chelsea Whalen (javelin) and Kayleigh Tyerman (10,000) - are scheduled to compete, each in finals.
The four-day meet on the University of Oregon campus pits the top 24 athletes and relay teams in each individual event, with the top eight scoring.
While the Seminoles lack the numbers to compete for team titles, they are not short on firepower. Based on season-best times or distances, the Seminole men have nine entries ranked to score. The women have three athletes seeded to score.
"Our goal is always to be top 10," FSU head coach Bob Braman said, referring to the men's team. "Getting on the podium or being a top five takes an extraordinary performance by the whole team, not just the one or two. If you have a whole team-like performance, that's where you really move up the team standings.
"We have people who can be high scorers; top-five type scorers, which are big in this meet, in many events. The key is for everybody to do what they can do without looking over their shoulder (for) somebody that's going to carry the team in two events."
The Seminole women have finished in the top 20 each of the last seven years, which Braman said is once again a realistic goal, though he does not rule out a better result.
"If the women put it all together we could steal a top 10, but realistically top 20," Braman said.
Managing emotions on the championship stage is just one key component to individual and, ultimately, team success.
“The key on the first day is matching the intensity of the meet, but not to get caught up in the Hayward Field mystique, and crowds they haven't seen the whole year,” Braman said. “The enthusiasm is going to be really high and the key is going to be executing what you're planning to do. …
“Trust your coaches, trust your preparation and compete at your best, without getting caught up in the hype.”