Rattler fans can expect to see some new and old faces this year as the men’s track and field team tries to continue its winning tradition.
The team is coming out of a summer session that was highlighted by the performance of senior Chris Hargrett.
This summer, the Orlando native won two medals for Team USA at the 2006 North American, Central American and Caribbean Under 23 Track and Field Championships.
Hargrett won a gold medal for the U.S. team in the 4×100 meter relay and a bronze medal in the 100-meter relay.
Hargrett is not the only Rattler from the program to compete in both national international levels.
Sprinter Sheldon Morant did it in 2004 and Kevin Hicks competed before him.
“We are really looking forward to the track team’s performance this year,” said Ronnie Johnson, assistant sports information director.
The 2006 MEAC cross country season began with nine MEAC schools in competition.
The FAMU men’s and women’s teams competed at the Jacksonville Invitational Sept. 1.
At its most recent meet, the Mountain Dew Gator Invitational, the men’s team had five athletes in the top 20 performers list from the MEAC.
The five runners that made the top 20 list were Brian Griffith, who placed third in the recent invitational, Carlos Franklin (fourth), Brandon West (sixth), Omari Crawford (13th) and Chris Roberts (16th).
The Lady Rattlers had two runners listed in the top 20 performers after running in the Gator Invitational.
The two runners were YaTandrea Burke (fifth place) and senior Lindsay Thomas (seventh).
The cross country team is much more than a group of athletes, said junior Omari Crawford an 800-meter runner from Atlanta.
“One thing I can say about our team is that it truly is a family; everybody has each others’ back,” Crawford said.
“With runners such as Brian Brittian and Stephon James, we have a real good chance to win the conference.”
The FAMU cross country team is led by head coach Rey Robinson, a FAMU graduate.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, which is something Rey Robinson exhibits with his team.
“The team wakes up at 6 a.m.to run about twice a week, and we practice every day at 5:30 p.m.,” said Robinson.
According to a recent fan poll on www.meacsports.com, the FAMU team was ranked third out of nine as the most surprising program so far this year.
The next championship in the MEAC will be the MEAC Cross Country Championship, scheduled for Oct. 27 in Carry, N.C.
The women’s cross country team will join the football and tennis teams in Atlanta this weekend.
The Lady Rattlers will compete in an off-road version of the Atlanta Classic.
While the tennis teams will compete in the historically black colleges and universities invitational.