The Florida A&M University’s men and women’s cross country teams finished strong in the MEAC championships Saturday at the SAS Soccer Park, in Cary, N.C.
The men’s cross country team fell just short of first place as they finished second with 75 points.
Junior Brandon West said the team accomplished a great goal.
“Our hopes were to place in the top two and that’s what we did,” West said.
The men’s team went into the race focused. West said he felt that regardless of the outcome of the race, the team was determined to leave the race with Rattler pride.
“Our goal was to go in with our hopes high and come out with our heads up,” West said.
The Rattlers were led by senior Omar Osbourne, who finished seventh overall with a time of 25:04.
“There was a lot of competition this year. This was the fastest year recorded in the MEAC so far,” Osbourne said.
FAMU men’s other finishers were: juniors Brian Griffith who finished 14th at 25:54, Gerald Christian who finished 16th at 26:03 and Eric Ward who finished 20th at 26:25. Sophomore Brandon West finished 21st at 26:26 and freshman Justin Davis finished 18th at 26:09.
The 2005 title was clinched by Norfolk State with 20 points. FAMu finished second while and University finished third with 105 points.
Points were determined by totaling the finishing positions of each team member and the team with the least number of total points won the title
On the other hand, the Lady Rattlers finished fourth, missing third place by just two points.
According to sophomore YaTandrea Burke, Howard and Hampton brought the most competition to the race.
“The races were real close at the beginning, then it started to thin out during the second mile,” Burke said.
The team chased after senior Lady Rattler Danielle Bass, who led the way, finishing 13th at 19:25. Sophomore YaTandrea Burke finished 15th overall ,and second for FAMU, in 19:43 and junior Lindsay Thomas followed at 18th overall in 19:58.
The Lady Rattlers were ranked fourth going into the race and wanted desperately to prove to the MEAC that they were among the top teams in their conference.
“We knew we were ranked fourth going in the race. Our goal was to reach third place,” Bass said.
Although the Lady Rattlers didn’t finish in the top three, they enjoyed the atmosphere and the competitive races.
“It was about having fun and getting back to the true love of the sport,” Bass said.
The Howard University Lady Bison won the women’s championship. They continued their reign as cross country champions with 58 points, making this their seventh overall title.
Norfolk State finished second with 78 points. Hampton completed the season ranked just two points ahead of FAMU in third place with 104 points.
Head coach of both Rattler teams Rey Robinson said that his team practiced very hard to prepare for the championship race.
“The young men and women were very enthusiastic about running in practice. We stuck to our plan and race preparations the week before,” Robinson said.
Although neither team brought back the MEAC championship title, coach Robinson couldn’t be prouder of both his teams.
“They did well. Both the men and women came close to their personal best or beat it. I just want the students and the University to know those kids did an absolutely outstanding job. Absolutely outstanding,” Robinson said.
Contact Quidara Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org