The Florida A&M men’s cross country team is approaching the Florida State Invitational this Sat., Sept. 24 with one goal in mind. That goal is to earn a significant spot in the regional rankings.
Notable entries to the invitational include the University of Auburn, the University of West Florida and Columbus State. Also scheduled to be in attendance is the University of North Florida, Florida Tech and FSU.
According to head coach Wayne Angel, the team’s primary focus heading into competition needs to be directed towards capitalizing on its opportunity to seize a spot in the regional standings, a breakthrough that would be a first in team history.
“Our goals going into this competition are two-fold. One of our goals is to work on our integrity as a team, because one to five, the lower the score the better,” Angel said. “The other thing is that we would like to come out being ranked in the region. North Florida is ranked tenth, so we figure if we can mix it up with them, we’ve got an opportunity to be ranked in the region.”
Coach Angel isn’t the only one with great aims towards the team’s upcoming performance. Freshmen Dieumy Duclos is approaching the Invitation with a similar attitude.
“We know that while competing at this meet, we are going to encounter a whole new level of competition.
If we have a good run, we can earn enough points to qualify us for the rankings,” Duclos said. “Therefore, we need to make it our goal to go out there and leave our hearts out on the field.”
In preparation for the invitational, Angel has sought to intensify the team’s daily practices. Thus far, changes have included lengthier running distances and adjustments in their basic training style.
“One of the things I’ve changed is the intensity of the workouts. We’ve increased the mileages, whereas we’re now running anywhere from 15 to 20 miles in a single run,” Angel said. “We’ve switched from base training to sharpening and coming-off-the-hill training.”
Team captain Shuaib Winters feels that the team has powered through these adjustments rather diligently.
“Lately we’ve been training really hard and working to get mentally focused for Saturday,” Winters said.
The Rattlers are looking to build on their 24-point first-place victory at the Bethune-Cookman Invitational on Sept. 7.