The Rattlers track and field team may be suiting up outdoors now, but judging by Saturday’s performance, that is the only thing that has changed. And head coach Wayne Angel could not be happier.
Florida A&M garnered several top-tier performances and qualified for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship in six events during the Webster Surgical Center 62nd Annual FAMU Relays, its outdoor season opener, on the Robert “Pete” Griffin Track.
“Overall, we had a nice performance today,” Angel said after the competition. “I’m pleased; we’re looking good. This is a young team. We didn’t have Steve Emere, but as a jumping-off point, I think the FAMU relays was a great success. I think nothing but sunshine and blue skies ahead if we stay healthy and keep training hard.”
Highly touted sprinter Jeremy Tillman blazed to first place in the 100m dash in a time of 10.52, which was good for a championship berth. Niko Richey followed closely in second place in a championship-qualifying time of 10.65, while Charief Lewis finished in sixth in 10.84 rounding out FAMU’s top-10 performers.
Lamere Buchanan dominated the 800m run, as he shined to first place in a time of 1:55.63. McDaniel Olivier had an impressive outing of his own, as he sprinted to third place in a time of 1:57.63.
Buchanan, who bested his performance during last year’s relays (second, 1:55.87), said the team’s performances hint toward a successful outdoor season.
“We performed excellent,” Buchanan said. “It was an excellent way to open up for the season and a good show for the fans that came out to support.”
Xavier Mackey extended the Rattlers’ trend of golden performances to the shot put, as he garnered first place with a throw good for 13.33m. He later earned second place in the discus throw (38.53m).
Distance star Elias Chesire dashed to second place in the 1500m run in a championship-qualifying time of 4:00.98, while Derrick Morgan flashed to second place in the 400m dash (48.58).
The 4 x 100m relay team – Lewis, Elijah Owens, Defario Phillips and Richey – garnerd second place in a championship-qualifying time of 40.61. The finish trumped rival Bethune-Cookman (third, 40.95).
FAMU earned similar success in both the 4 x 400m relay (second, 3:14.62) and the 4 x 800m relay (second, 8:02.29).
Tillman later secured second place in the javelin with a distance of 45.52m, while Lewis garnered third place (43.54m). Both finishes were good for championship berths. Timothy Upton (41.73m) and Jean Leon (39.96m) finished fifth and eighth, respectively.
Emere, the MEAC triple jump champion, was absent from the relays because he represented FAMU during the NCAA Division one 2012 Indoor Championship in Nampa, Idaho. He soared to 12th place in the triple jump during the preliminary round (15.57m) but fell short of the finals.
FAMU will return to action Thurs., March 22 during the Florida State Relays at the Mike Long Track.