The Florida A&M men’s cross country team heads into this weekend’s Bobby Lang Invitational with history on its side.
After two successful years, FAMU is set to host the third annual invitational on the university campus, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. Among the teams scheduled to compete are Bethune-Cookman, Albany State and Morehouse College.
Head coach Wayne Angel expects his crew to continue this positive trend during this year’s invitational. However, he has pointed out that a victory is not the primary goal heading into this weekend.
“This is our house, and we’re going to enter this meet with the attitude of defending our turf,” Angel said. “But the most important thing is progression. We are looking to do better. Right now, what we are looking at is progression and improvement, and being able to close that gap. That’s really what we are trying to do.”
Sophomore Degion Craddock feels the team will improve by learning to pace itself during the beginning of the race.
“During the previous meet, we ran our first mile way too fast,” Craddock said. “Basically, we are working to set the best pace for the first mile so we can have a strong race.”
Craddock expects his team to have a successful outing at the Invitational.
“In terms of performance, I honestly feel that we are going to do better this time compared to last year,” Craddock said. “We are definitely closer as a team, and as a team with one plan and one goal, coach has the blueprint for us to perform our best this weekend.”
The meet is named in honor of the renowned FAMU Track and Field coach, Bobby Lang, who is recognized for directing the program for 33 years, earning more than 30 conference championships.
The course will begin on the Griffin track then travel around Bragg Stadium. It will then move past the Al Lawson Center, down Wahnish Way and Okaloosa Street, past the university recreational center.
It is then set to travel through Martin Luther King Street, beyond the old FAMU DRS and down FAMU Way, back to Wahnish Way. The course it set to come full circle, with the finish line on the Griffin track.
The team has capitalized on home turf advantage during the first two years of the invitational, with a first and second place finish respectively.
Senior Shuaib Winters, who posted a record time of 25:20 during last year’s event, has set himself specific goals for Saturday.
“I definitely plan to run a faster time compared to last year,” Winters said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to overdo anything. So I’m going to go out at a modest pace.”