Walt Disney World is where dreams come true. As of Saturday, it is also where the Florida A&M men’s cross country team became champions.
Shuaib Winters made history during the Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic in Orlando, becoming FAMU’s first-ever individual champion.
With a time of 25:10.18, Winters led the way as the team finished with 316 points and 13th place.
Despite adverse weather conditions, Winters won over UNC Pembroke star Pardon Ndhlovu. During the first four miles of the race, it was a tight matchup between the two.
Winters was finally able to cap the final mile with a first-place victory.
“Given the weather and competition, it was a tough run. But I kept my composure through it all, surprisingly,” Winters said. “I think that is how I was able to win it in the end.”
Winters, a senior from Conyers, Ga., said this feat demonstrates that he is prepared to repeat as Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion.
“I’m excited. I feel like I’m back on track for the season,” Winters said. “I trusted my coach’s strategy and it worked completely. I’m ready to defend my MEAC Championship title.”
Head coach Wayne Angel was equally impressed with Winters’ history-making performance.
“Shuaib placed first over 214 runners and made school history in the process. It was a very impressive effort,” Angel said. “Tough athletes can run in all conditions, and he proved his toughness today. I was very pleased with him. He is beginning to come into shape at the right time.”
With the MEAC championship only three weeks away, Angel said Winters’ performance will help the team make an impact.
“We are definitely in the right direction in terms of MEAC. With the way he is running, we are going to be very good. It’s actually sort of scary,” Angel said.
Both Lamere Buchanan and Dieumy Duclose finished in the top-60, as Buchanan took 38th with a time of 27:18.15 and Duclos garnered 56th with a time of 27:46.19.
Other notable finishers included Robyel Kidane (121st, 29:25.23), Degion Craddock (139th, 29:53.96) and McDaniel Oliver (182nd, 32:19.13).
FAMU will return to action on Friday and will travel to Deland, Fla. to compete in the Stetson Invitational.