It is a new year and a new semester for students, but for the Florida A&M University Lady Rattlers track team it is also a brand new season.
“We have many goals set for this season,” said Maicel Malone, FAMU’s women’s head track and field coach. “Hopefully we can finish top four in both indoor and outdoor in the MEAC conference.”
Coach Malone said each year the team is getting better and that its running times are dropping. Malone admits that going into this season the Lady Rattlers are facing many obstacles with the loss of some important athletes to graduation. However, she said she feels they still have a great team, and Melanie Gardner, the assistant coach agrees.
“Last season we did very well, and this season we lost six seniors,” Gardner said. Despite the loss, Gardner said the team has plenty of good runners who can step up and do a good job.
So far the team has had two meets, one at the Ed Temple Classic and an indoor meet at Clemson University. Despite the fact that the team lost, Malone said that in those two meets some of the runners improved their times and techniques.
“I feel that we didn’t do as well as we wanted to because we came off of break and didn’t have much training,” Malone said.
Coach Malone said going into this season her top runners are seniors Jeanna Dorcelin and Yetandrea Burke. Malone said both of the ladies had a very good cross country season, which is carrying into the track season. She also said freshmen Letoya Wright, Derricka Love and Nicola Listroph have adjusted well to the team and are helping to pace a squad in the middle of rebuilding.
“Coming out of high school to running on a collegiate level is more challenging because it’s older runners who know the techniques really well,” said Wright, 19, an elementary education student from Palm Beach.
Wright also said the workouts in college are more challenging and demanding and that the coaches provide more techniques. She said she believes that it is really paying off.
Jesseka Forbes, a pharmacy student from Tallahassee, agreed.
“Coach Malone has stepped up the practices and training, and it’s really paying off,” said Forbes, 20.
Malone said the team’s goal for the new semester is to work more in the community in addition to working hard on the field.
Malone said she believes with every track meet the ladies will continue to bring their times down and get in shape so they can put out faster times.
“We plan to be a force to be reckoned with,” Gardner said.