The Florida A&M cross country teams placed in the middle of the pack in their final regular season meet, the Sodexho Stetson Invitational, in Deland, Fla.
Both men and women placed seventh, but individual runners came in different positions in their respective races. The men’s team competed against 15 teams, and the women’s team ran against 12 teams.
Shuaib Winters and Lamere Buchannon spearheaded the men’s surge.
Winters, still in the hunt to win the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) individual title, won the meet with the closest competitor being .32 seconds behind him. Buchannon set his personal record (pr) for the season with a time of 26:41.
Men’s head coach Wayne Angel expected nothing less of his two captains.
“I think Shuaib and Lamere are running great right now,” Angel said.
The disappointment of the finish does not outweigh the optimism for the MEAC championships for the coach.
“We didn’t accomplish what we wanted but they still have to put it all together for the goal,” Angel said.
Women’s coach Darlene Moore had complications and injuries to deal with on her side.
“Our performances were much lower than our expectations,” Moore said. “Partially due to some girls having personal issues and our number four runner, Stephon Martinez, sidelined ankle injury.”
The women still had runners to place in the top 25. Chandelic Jackson finished 22nd with a time of 19:49.
The seventh place finish is still an improvement over last year’s 12th place finish.
Both coaches agreed that the track was much different than the one they were expecting.
“We were under the impression that tracks from this meet and the championship would be similar, but the weren’t,” Moore said.
“The course was about 40 percent grass and 60 percent dirt and rocks,” Angel added.
The meet however, has the teams hungry to improve for the championships.
“For this meet, next year we will have better, but for the championship these tough girls will be mentally sound and rebound in the MEAC.” Moore said.
“I see it helping because the course was tougher and anytime you have a rough course you see significant improvement the next meet.” Angel added.