For the surging cross country teams at Florida A&M, the Sodexhio Stetson Invitational is the final meet before the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships. The last regular season meet will be held in Deland, Fla.
As of now, Florida A&M is the only Historically Black College/ University (HBCU) in the meet. This is not unfamiliar territory, according to women’s head coach Darlene Moore.
“We were the only HBCU at this meet last year as well,” Moore said. “Fortunately for us this terrain remarkably similar the one we will be competing on for the conference championship.”
Men’s head coach Wayne Angel also acknowledged the kinship of the next two courses that the teams will see.
“This is a flat course just like the one at the MEAC championships,” Angel said. “This is basically a dress rehearsal and tune-up for our teams,” he added.
Both teams have steamed through the regular season with hopes of having runners qualify for post season runs. All their efforts weren’t in vain as they captured the division one titles, and everyone from both teams qualifying.
Early favorites from Florida A&M include Shuaib Winter, who won MEAC athlete of the week this season, and Lamere Buchannon, the men’s co-captain.
“Those guys are just the catalyst for the team. Everybody has to run a smart race in order for the team to be successful,” Angel said.
Chandelic Jackson, Clarrisa Golden, and Shanay Mayes from the women‘s team have out-performed their freshman status and have earned their way into the top 20 cross country athletes in the MEAC. Golden ranks number eight, Jackson sits at 11, and Mayes completes the trio at number 17.
The MEAC championship will be hosted by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore October 22 and both coaches are looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m looking for those three ladies to propel us into the top four teams in the MEAC,” Moore said. “Because these young ladies are so talented athletically and academically, they have really made my job easy this year and I know they are going to do well.”