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June 5, 2012
The NCAA Track & Field championships get underway on Wednesday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa and once again the Florida State Seminoles look to be right in the mix.
The FSU men finished second in NCAAs last season to Texas A&M and won three straight titles from 2006-08. (The 2007 title was vacated due to NCAA infractions).
This year after qualifying 10 different athletes for the Outdoor Championship meet, FSU is projected to finish as the national champion according to trackandfieldnews.com. The site projects FSU to finish in first place with a final of 52 points, just two points ahead of Florida and five points ahead of the Aggies.
"I think we're going to drop some big surprises in terms of scoring," said senior decathlete and Olympian Gonzalo Barroilhet. "The whole team is looking great. All the people that should have qualified made it, and even people that shouldn't, they stepped up and qualified so we have a really good team and we're ready to go."
The championship meet gets underway at 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday with preliminary races for a number of events including the 100m and 4x100 relay.
Barroilhet will compete in five of his 10 decathlon events on Wednesday, including the 100-meter dash, the long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter dash. The ACC champion and meet record holder will tackle the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meters on Thursday, a lineup that includes three of his strongest events.
"Gonzalo kicks it off and he's got a big second day, but he's got to get out of the blocks so to speak really well and do a good job in his events," FSU coach Bob Braman said. "He needs to get in good position so that he can take control of the meet on Thursday."
Barroilhet qualified for the NCAA championships this season for the fist time since 2008 after dealing with shoulder injuries the previous three years. Barroilhet also competed for his home country of Chile in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has already qualified for the 2012 Olympic games in London.
But for now the senior is just focusing on trying to help his team bring home another title. He is the No. 2 seed, but trackandfieldnews.com projects him to bring home the title in his final collegiate meet.
"It's been a while since I've been able to compete at the national level at NCAAs. But I'm relaxed and just want to go out there and have fun and do my best," Barroilhet said. "I'm really confident in what we've been doing with the coaches with the way they trained me and I think it's going to be a good week."
FSU will also be hoping to get a good chunk of points in the 100-meter dash event. Seniors Maurice Mitchell, Kemar Hyman, and Horatio Williams all qualified for the championship meet and are all lined up in the third of three quarterfinal heats of the 100-meter dash on Wednesday.
Hyman is projected to finish as the national champion in the 100m after running a 10.11 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round last week in Jacksonville, Fla. Mitchell is projected to finish right behind his fellow teammate in second place after running a personal-best 10.15 in the prelims.
The 100m finals will take place on day three of the meet on Friday at 4:55 p.m. ET.
"It would be amazing," Mitchell said of potentially finishing 1-2 with Hyman. "At the end of the day we're teammates and we're putting points on the board whether I get first or whether he gets first, so I'm hoping that we both can continue to stay healthy throughout these next couple of days and go out there and score 18 points we really need for the NCAA title."
Mitchell will also be looking defend his nation tile in the 200m in Des Moines. He ran a 20.13 in Jacksonville. The finals will take place on the meets final day on Sunday at 10:39 p.m. ET.
"I'm looking forward to going out with a bang," Mitchell said. "Hopefully we can go out there and contend for a national title and I can defend my NCAA title in the 200-meter. I'm happy, I'm exited, I'm healthy, so God has blessed me to get this far so I'm happy to have gotten this far and hopefully I'll have a good meet."
Florida State NEWS