The University of Florida Pepsi relays provided a platform for the Florida A&M track teams to showcase their best season form against some of the top tier collegiate programs in the country.
Broadcasted live on ESPN, the meet was held at the Percy Beard track inside the James G. Pressly center on University of Florida’s campus.
Carl McKenzie started the trend of PR’s (personal record) by running his lifetime best in the 100-meter dash clocking in at 10.47 seconds. McKenzie also continued his personal goal of lowering his times every meet up until the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) outdoor championships.
“We have to keep working if we want to bring our times down even more,” McKenzie said.
Shuaib Winters took advantage of the opportunity by running his season‘s best time in the 5000-meter run with a time of 15:25.01 seconds.
Conchita Russell PR(ed) in the 100-meter hurdles running a 14.42. At 12.29, Ann-Marie Francis joined in the efforts by posting her PR in the 100-meter dash.
Individual accolades were not the only ones being gained, the relay teams also PR(ed) in Gainesville. Both the men and women’s 4×400-meter relays ran for season highs posting times of 3:18 and 3:53 respectively. The women’s 4×200-meter followed suit with a time of 1:43.72, as well as the women’s 4×100-meter relay who ran a 47.58.
Injuries did not seem to slow down the rattlers having two athletes PR with major ones.
Carl McKenzie injured his foot practicing hurdles earlier in the week and Degion Craddock ran three events with two hurt hamstrings PR(ing) in the 800-meter run at 1:56.63.
“There are some things that you just can’t coach,” said head coach Darlene Moore said.
“Carl’s mental outlook was that he was going to run a 10.5, so he put mind over matter and got the job done for us.”
Damarius Carroll did not have his best outing of the season, but enjoyed seeing his teammates do well.
“Personally, I wasn’t pleased with my own performance. I felt great, so I know I could have done better,” Carroll said. “Jeanette, Latoya and Degion all had a great meet. Jeanette competed hard in a lot of events. Latoya learned a lot and grew from racing some of the best college has to offer, and Degion didn’t complain once about his injuries.”‘
UF’s star Jeff Demps, who is also a football player for the gators, ran a blazing 10.11 in the 100-meter dash, which is the fastest time worldwide this year. He also anchored the record setting 4×100-meter relay in which he came in at 39.83.
The Rattlers will be heading to Mobile, Ala., for a meet at the University of South Alabama.
“We look to have career days from our athletes as well as posting their season’s best times heading into the MEAC championships,” Moore said.