Two Florida A&M junior jumpers had fabulous performances on Friday and Saturday, amongst an enormous showcase of talent at the 59th annual Florida Relays, hosted by the University of Florida.
On Friday, FAMU’s Ukiwe Maduckwe floated airborne at Percy Beard Stadium for 24 feet and an inch to win first place in the men’s collegiate long jump. He more than achieved his own personal goal of jumping 22 feet, which qualified him for the MEAC championships.
This event, which Maduckwe also won last year, was his first track meet since injuring his heel two months ago.
“I was just trying to get back into jumping,” Maduckwe said. “I wasn’t expecting to place because my foot still isn’t 100 percent.”
In the long jump invitational on Saturday with even more competition, Maduckwe leapt to a second place finish.
Men’s track and field coach Rey Robinson called Maduckwe’s two-day performance tremendous, after having a two-month layoff.
While Maduckwe was trying to qualify for the conference championships, Rattlerette Marissa Uzoaru put on an exciting show trying to qualify for the national championships.
After winning the Florida State Relays last week, Uzoaru jumped for a height of five feet, eight inches to take second place on Friday in the women’s collegiate high jump.
Then in Saturday’s invitational high jump, Uzoaru competing along side 1998 Goodwill Games Champion Tisha Waller, soared an inch higher and placed fifth. She was just six millimeters away from becoming a provisional qualifier for the national championships.
“I didn’t quite qualify for nationals, which was kind of my goal, but I still feel I competed well,” Uzoaru said.
Her coach, Donya Andrews-Little, was pleased with her effort; however, she was not totally satisfied with her performance.
“She is somehow stuck at that point [height of 5 feet10 inches] and I know she is anxious to get past that point.” Andrews-Little said. “I am waiting for her to get past that mark that she was at freshman year.”
Both coaches were satisfied with the overall performances of their teams.
Robinson thought that the men could have done better if so many of his athletes weren’t currently injured.
Andrews-Little felt that this meet was the most difficult of the outdoor season thus far for her young team.
This weekend the men’s team travels to Atlanta for the Yellow Jacket Invitational to face some more speedy, stiff competition.