The men’s track and field team has made a habit of beating the finest all season. Now, it is ranked among the finest.
Recording personal-best times across the board, Florida A&M displayed yet another dominating performance in Johnson City, Tenn. during the Niswonger Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
Two more runners qualified for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Indoor Championship on Feb. 17, meeting the championship standard in every event.
FAMU entered the invitational ranking eighth in the Southern Region Track Polls above Florida State, Georgia Tech and Alabama. This feat marks the program’s first regional ranking in the poll’s five-year history.
“This program is taking huge leaps,” head coach Wayne Angel said after the meet. “Our main focus coming in was to get the final two qualifiers out the way, and we did that. Then we wanted to compete with a high level of intensity to keep the momentum and prepare ourselves. This was a dress rehearsal for MEAC.
“The first day was a great success. Then the second day, we just took it to another level, which made me feel good as a coach. All the hard work is starting to pay off.”
Dual-sport athlete Jeremy Tillman paced the Rattlers with a second-place finish in the 60m dash in a personal-best time of 6.77.
The 4 x 400m relay team – Niko Richey, Derrick Morgan, Steve Emere, and Elijah Owens – blazed to a second-place finish in an impressive team display.
Emere (21.78) and Richey (22.06) would later place fifth and sixth in the 200m dash, respectively.
“I couldn’t be happier, especially given today,” Emere said about the team’s performance this season. “Our boys out here showed out. We have everybody qualified for their events, so I really couldn’t be happier. Now it’s about getting to MEAC and doing the same thing.”
Owolabi Deji sprinted to a personal-best time of 1:53.76 in the 800m run, beating his previous record by 2.5 seconds. Lamere Buchanan (1:55.93) and Degion Craddock (2:11.12) finished sixth and 21st, respectively.
“We keep getting better and better each week,” Buchanan said. “I’m happy with our performance. MEAC is getting closer, and we’re moving at the rate we should be.”
Willie Johnson soared to fourth place in the high jump with a distance of 6-06.75.
All-MEAC runner Shuaib Winters (15:01.49) jolted to fourth place in the 5000m run, followed by Dieumy Duclos (16:25.32) in 45th.
Morgan (48.91) and Owens (49.68) would later place fourth and eighth, respectively in the 400m dash.
Shelton Tarver taped eighth in the triple jump with a distance of 43-03.75.
FAMU runners compete again Friday at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, S.C.