Track teams must step it up for indoor championship meet

The finish line nears for the MEAC indoor track season.

This weekend marks the men’s and women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in Landover, Md. The Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex will host the event Friday and Saturday.

Coach Robinson said that the team must be ready for the challenge at hand.

“We’ve got a lot of pieces missing this year. The guys with us now are going to have to step up,” Robinson said.

The Rattlers will travel north without junior Kevin Hicks.

Hicks decided to forego the remainder of his collegiate eligibility in the summer.

Coach Robinson said that the meet will be very competitive.

Junior distance runner Brandon West heads into the weekend with a positive outlook.

“I really would like to go for a three-peat. We’ve got to push the pace from day one,” West said.

The Royal Palm Beach native stressed that the team needs to jump out of the blocks early.

“We’ve got to do what we’ve been training to do. We can’t let up from start to finish,” he said.

On Jan. 15, at the Florida Intercollegiate Indoor Meet, West set the pace in the 5,000 meter run.

He finished first at 16 minutes, 27.88 seconds.

The orange and green has registered 28 top 10 finishes in their three indoor meets thus far.

Senior jumper Jermond Smith won the triple jump at the Pepsi Indoor Invitational with a leap of 15.61 meters.

The victory in Gainesville landed Smith a spot in the United States Track and Field Association Indoor National Championships Feb. 25 and 26.

The Rattlers understand the importance of an early start in this weekend’s finale.

“We’re going to have to be ready to go when that gun goes off,” Robinson said.

The women’s track and field team plans to improve on last year’s sixth place finish.

Hampton University has won three titles in a row and four of the last five titles.

Sophomore sprinter LaKendra Cunningham said that Coach Maicel Malone has emphasized three main goals for the team: put forth the best effort, make the meet finals and place in the events.

“We’re going into the meet with this in our heads. I think we’re going to do well,” Cunningham said. The Tallahassee native added that Coach Malone has helped instill a “great team spirit this year.”

Cunningham was a part of the 4×400-meter relay team that finished fifth at the Pepsi Indoor Invitational on Feb. 5.

The relay team clocked in at 3 minutes, 53.97 seconds.

Junior sprinter Natasha Russell, freshman sprinter Kendria Strong and junior distance runner Lindsay Thomas complete the 4×400 “A” team.

Thomas also placed fourth in the 800-meter event with a time of 2:11.9.

Freshman sprinter/jumper Carisse Brown looks forward to her first MEAC indoor championship meet.

“Everybody is real excited. We plan on trying to make finals and get first place,” Brown said.

Brown is one-fourth of the 4×400-meter relay team that finished seventh with a time of 4:5.68 seconds at the Pepsi event.

Senior hurdler Shantrice Greene, senior middle-distance runner Tiffany Harris and junior sprinter Jesseka Forbes complete the 4×400 “B” team.

Cunningham has a game plan ready for this weekend, “I have to get out well and finish strong.”

Contact John W. Marsh at