The Florida State track and field programs seek to build off their successful outdoor seasons when they begin competition at the NCAA meet on Wednesday.
FSU claimed the ACC outdoor title and saw 12 men and nine women earn entries to the NCAA Outdoor Championships following the preliminaries in Jacksonville. Among those is junior Jo’Vaughn Martin, who ran a pair of 100-meter under 10 seconds and was part of the 4×100 relay team. Martin said he transferred from Sam Houston State to be pushed by his teammates and coaches, and those daily challenges in practice have prepared them for the postseason competition.
“Florida State came to mind because, the year before COVID, they had Andre Ewers and Kasaun (James) emerged,” Martin said. “I knew I wanted to go to a place, a group of guys that are gonna push me every day.”
Martin has run the 100 in 9.94 seconds and 9.97 seconds, with the second time helping him claim first at the NCAA Division I east Preliminaries. He also took second in the 200 at the ACC Outdoors (20.46). The Houston native said he doesn’t feel like he’s run his best 100 yet, knowing that he has struggled out of the blocks only to fight to catch up and surpass the pack.
“I’m kind of a perfectionist in a way,” Martin said. “That’s kind of what drives me. I have to be perfect, even though it’s very hard. I don’t think anyone, besides maybe Usain Bolt, has run a perfect race, and maybe he didn’t even think it was perfect. I know for sure I haven’t run a perfect race. So that kind of thing, to know I can still be better and I can still do more, that is what drives me, that motivates me to keep going.”
Martin grew up playing football in Houston but in high school saw his path in track would get him to college and help him earn a scholarship. He’s done just that at Sam Houston State and now FSU, where he has excelled on the track and is a finance major.
“Coming out of high school, my sophomore year I just was looking around, my area wasn’t a good area where I grew up,” Martin said. “Just the people around me people. I saw people graduate and just stay in the area, not really do much with their life, get into things they’re not supposed. My No. 1 goal, sophomore year I was like, ‘I’m going to college and I’m getting a scholarship.’ I didn’t start track and field until my junior year, so it was kind of just another way for me to get a scholarship. Football wasn’t going as planned. So my coach decided to try me out in track. The rest is history.”
The FSU track and field teams look to make a little history in the coming days, too. Martin is part of a large Seminole contingent who have traveled across the country to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Outdoors. He and the 4×100 relay team — which includes Taylor Banks, Kasaun James, Don’drea Swint and Martin — will run their first race Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. The women’s events will begin on Thursday. James will also compete in the 100 and 200.
They are just a few of the competitors to watch. Others include:
Adriaan Wildschutt (28:25.11), who owns the ACC record in the 10,000 meters
Ruta Lasmane (14.15 meters) and Alonie Sutton (13.37 meters) will take part in the triple jump
High jumper Isaac Grimes (8.02 meters), triple-jumper Jacore Irving (15.98 meters) as well as Milton Ingraham (59.26 meters) in the discus.
Shanice Love, who had a season-best 61.22 meters and was first at the East Prelims, while freshman Caisa-Marie Lindfors threw a personal-best mark of 58.66 meters to take second. Javelin thrower Sara Zabarino (52.35 meters) will compete.
The 4x100m squad of Shian Hyde, Jayla Kirkland, Ka’Tia Seymour and Edidiong Odiong ran a 42.99 in what is the second-best time in FSU history. Kirkland will compete in the 100 meters.
Maudie Skyring will run in the 1,500 meters after she qualified in 4:13.72.
“Having both teams ranked in the Top 10 makes this year extra special,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “They can feed off each other’s success and both make a run at a Top 5 finish.”
NCAA Outdoors on TV
ESPN’s TV coverage will jump around from various networks. On Wednesday it will begin at 4 p.m. on ESPN3, 8 p.m. on ESPNU and 6 p.m. on ESPN2. On June 10 at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN3, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2; on June 11 at 3 p.m. on ESPN3 and 8 p.m. on ESPN2; June 12 at 2 p.m. on ESPN3 and at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.