In a feat not accomplished since 1988, the Florida A&M men’s cross-country team won the 2012 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship.
The women’s cross -country team won the MEAC championship as well ; it won for the first time since 2001.
Head men’s cross country coach Wayne Angel said it was fate for the team to end the drought and walk away with the title.
“We felt that we were a team of destiny and that we were born for this moment,” Angel said. “We made sure that we understood our individual roles and how it would affect the final outcome.”
The team scored 28 points and averaged a time of 25:33.27 on the 8K course.
The women’s cross country team conquered its fifth title scoring 63 points.
Head women’s cross country coach Darlene Moore earned the 2012 MEAC Women’s Cross -Country Outstanding Coach of the year for the first time. Simone Durden led the women’s team with her third place time of 19:08.68.
Zenia George, a third-year occupational therapy student from St. Lucia is proud of Moore’s achievement.
“She deserves it,” George said. “After last year she came out with a plan for us to be the best.”
Chandelic Jackson, a third-year criminal justice student, was very excited by the team’s performance this weekend.
“We were really hungry for this and to come through with the championship was great,” Jackson said.
Elias Chesire, a second-year chemical engineering student from Eldoret, Kenya, won the 2012 MEAC Cross-Country Most Outstanding Athlete with his first-place _finish in a time of 24:54.96.
Shuaib Winters, the 2010 MEAC Cross-Country Most Outstanding Athlete, finished behind Chesire with a time of 24:56.89.
Freshmen Kevin Marindich, a computer science student, and Antony Kimaiyo, an architectural engineering student, both from Eldoret, Kenya, finished fifth and sixth in the race. Marindich finished in 25:35.26, while Kimaiyo completed the race in 25:49.77.
Isaiah Coleman, a graduating pre-med biology student from Jacksonville, admitted that earning the championship was worth the wait.
“It’s a blessing and honor to be the champions,” Coleman said. “Shuaib, Lamere (Buchanan) and I waited four years and we finally achieved it through hard work and remaining loyal to our teammates.”
Angel earned his first Men’s Cross-Country Outstanding Coach honor. Angel said the key was setting a goal for the team.
“We executed our strategy without any hitches,” Angel said. “That helped us to be so dominant. It feels good. After 24 years, we finally realized our dream.”
Dieumy Duclos, a second-year mechanical engineering student from Lake Wales, finished 14th overall in 26:29.45.
Five Rattlers — Chesire, Winters, Kimaiyo, Marindich and Duclos — made the All-MEAC team for their top-15 finishes.
Marindich said the hunger of the team pushed them to a championship win.
“During the race, I saw how my teammates were pushing to their limit, and I knew I also had to do something,” he said. “I was really motivated by the team spirit. Especially how we ran up front with my senior teammates.”
The Rattlers will compete in the NCAA Regional Meet on Nov. 10.