The Florida A&M men’s track and field team dominated at Friday’s Birmingham Invitational, clinching two victories, several top-10 finishes and three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Indoor Championship qualifiers.
“The team showed a lot of promise. We’re right on the verge of a big breakthrough,” head coach Wayne Angel said. “We’re going into MEAC in a great position. Each week, we get better and better. Now, we’re really growing and becoming closer as a team.”
Steve Emere, the current MEAC men’s track and field athlete of the week, took first place in the triple jump for the second-straight week with a distance of 51-11.75. Shelton Tarver finished in the top-10, taking 10th place with a distance of 13.62m.
Emere, who qualified for the championship during the Birmingham Ice Breaker, also placed fifth overall in the 60m hurdles, breaking tape in a time of 8.05.
“Overall, I think the team did pretty well,” Emere said. “We got a few more people to qualify for MEAC this time around, so that’s pretty good. There’s still room for improvement, and to make that happen, we really have to want it.”
All-MEAC runner Shuaib Winters paced the Rattlers with a first-place finish in the 5000m run in a time of 15:09.94, a full 30 seconds ahead of second place and good for a championship berth.
“I’m cool with the performance,” Winters said. “I was exhausted when I ran the race, so I know I can run a much faster time. I’m just thankful to have qualified for conference – relieved a lot of pressure.”
Jeremy Tillman captured third-place in the 60m dash in a time of 6.84. Niko Richey came in at seven seconds even – good for 13th place and a championship berth.
As a team, FAMU finished third overall in the 4 x 400m relay (3:19.03) and fourth in the distance medley relay (10:26.79) for a personal best time.
Owolabi Deji placed fifth in the 800m run in a time of 1:56.74. All-MEAC runner Lamere Buchanan finished closely in seventh (1:56.97) and Degion Craddock came in ninth (1:58.36).
In the 400m dash, Derrick Morgan finished in a time of 49.46 for a fifth-place finish. Elijah Owens came in 18th place (51.12) while D’Athony Lewis finished in 31st (52.54).
McDaniel Oliver took home seventh place in the mile run in a time of 4:39.71.
Tarver would later take sixth in the long jump for a distance of 23-00.50. Willie Johnson followed closely in seventh place at 22-11.25.
Johnson also finished ninth in the high jump with a distance of 6-02.75. Jean Leon leaped to a 16th place finish, good for 5-05.00.
In the 200m dash, Richey took 12th place (22.22), Phillps garnered 30th (22.60) and Lewis secured 31st (22.63).
Xavier Mackey garnered 14th place in the shot put with a toss of 13.50m. Leon finished 25th with a throw of 9.05m.
Mackey would later finish 18th overall in the weight throw with a distance of 11.69m.
FAMU will return to action Sunday, as it will travel to the University of Florida in Gainesville to participate in the Gator Invitational.