The FSU women’s track and field team enters indoor season with a No. 2 ranking, the best preseason ranking in program history.
Curt Weiler, Tallahassee Democrat
High expectations aren’t a new thing for the Florida State track and field teams.
The men’s and women’s teams have amassed a combined four national titles and are established programs, but haven’t truly contended of late.
The men have managed only one top-five finish at NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships over the last six years.
The women haven’t finished in the top five at either championship since 2009.
Coming into this season, that may be changing as both the men’s and women’s teams are highly regarded in the USTFCCA Preseason Indoor Poll.
The men are ranked third behind Texas Tech and Florida — their highest preseason ranking since 2010 — while the women are No. 2 behind only Arkansas, their highest preseason ranking in program history.
“It doesn’t matter what we have on paper. It’s about what we put out there, but as far as the team, we do have a big team with a lot of elite athletes,” sprinter Andre Ewers told the Tallahassee Democrat.
“If we apply everything that we’re capable of, we should do some big things.”
Added FSU head coach Bob Braman, “I don’t think it’s uncharted. I think they both think they have a chance to win.”
The Seminoles open indoor season this weekend at the Clemson Orange and Purple Elite event in the same complex where they swept last year’s ACC Indoor Championships.
On the men’s side, Ewers is a big reason for the hype.
The senior is the leading returning scorer from last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships after a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash and a third-place finish in the 100.
This has landed him one of the 10 spots on this year’s Bowerman preseason watch list, an award given each year to the best track and field athlete.
“It’s our Heisman. It’s maybe even more unique that football because we have more positions,” Braman said.
“There have been Olympic medalists that haven’t won the Bowerman…It speaks to what he did last year. He’s hungry as all get out.”
Ewers is the fifth FSU athlete to be named to the Bowerman watch list. Only one Seminole, Ngoni Makusha in 2011, has ever won the award.
“Words can’t describe that to me. I still haven’t soaked it in yet because it’s such a big honor,” Ewers said.
“To be among the greatest in the NCAA from last year is a big honor.”
The women’s team is led by a youth movement a season ago that now has a year more of experience under its belt.
Junior Cortney Jones finished in the top four in hurdles at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships last year and posted the best 60-meter hurdles time in program history (8.02).
Sophomores Ka’Tia Seymour and Jayla Kirkland tied for the third-best 60-meter dash time in program history (7.24) and Seymour also broke the FSU record in the 200-meter dash (22.85).
In all, current Seminoles have the top time in program history in three of the seven indoor running events.
“We have a very together training group and this year is closer than we’ve ever been before,” Jones told the Tallahassee Democrat.
“Everyone is coming together to build that goal and they’re stronger than ever.”
With ACC Indoor Championships only six weeks away and NCAAs two weeks after that, it will be known soon exactly how much of a title threat both FSU teams are this season.
“You’ve got to hit the ground running,” Braman said.
“It’s definitely is you is or is you ain’t over the next six weeks.”
Clemson Orange and Purple Elite
When: Friday, 10 a.m.
Where: Clemson University Indoor Complex, Clemson, South Carolina