Every great reign must come to an end. And who knows better than the University’s men’s track team.
“For the past three to four years we’ve had our run,” head coach Robinson said. “We’ve won six conference championships.”
Despite its long run of success, the team is now in the rebuilding stage. Head coach Rey Robinson said there is a bright future shining ahead.
Seventeen freshmen and sophomores and six juniors and seniors comprise this year’s team.
The rebuilding process comes after the men’s track team placed fifth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last year.
Ernell Cook, a 20-year-old, sophomore criminal justice student from Gainesville, said this season, injuries have been a constant setback.
Cook said the team is looking to build on last year’s success.”We almost broke the school record last year in the 4 x 100 meter relays at Georgia Tech,” Cook said.
Teamate LaJarius Cook said the team is on its way to building a better program.
“We’re doing pretty good,” he said. “We had a lot of new people come in right now, we’re just trying to rebuild right now,” the 19-year-old sophomore said.
“It is just going to take sometime,” Cook said.
“Last year was a learning experience for him and many of his freshmen brothers,” Cook said. “Right now we are just dealing with a lot of injuries.”
However, despite the issue of injuries, the 21-year-old, senior business administrator Chris McCoy sees the potential.
“Remember this team is still young, just freshmen and sophomores,” McCoy said. Many of the athletes are just becoming accustomed to collegiate track. The potential here is good, he added.
As for the freshmen, they have potential they are eager to explore.
“I just want to compete,” said Gregory Bynes an 18-year-old, freshman general studies student from Fort Lauderdale. He isn’t alone. Cordero Hestle, an 18-year-old, freshman business administration student from Orlando, has big plans of his own.
“I just want to be the best I can be”, Hestle said. The plans he has range from winning the MEAC conference to being able to compete along with his teammates in nationals his junior or senior year.
“It is what you do off the field that reflects what you do on it,” Hestle said.
As the team begins to gel, they become more than just teammates, they become friends.
“I just want my teammates to know if they need anything, they can call on me”, said the team captain Brandon West, a 21-year-old junior from, Royal Palm Beach.
“The team needs to know that its captain is here. It takes more than just a performance on the track to keep a team going,” West said.
The coach also seems to think his team captain’s strategy is working.
“Our seniors are doing great, and my team captain has really been carrying his load”, said coach Robinson.
“In 2008, I think the team will be where we need to be,” the coach said.