Rattlerettes look to fly past competition

The Florida A & M Women’s Track and Field team begins their 2003 season Saturday, January 18, as they visit the University of Florida for the annual Florida Intercollegiate Meet. The meet will, held in the Gator’s O’Connell Center, is the Rattlerette’s first indoor competition of the season.

The teams competing in the meet include University of South Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, Florida International University, Jacksonville University, Florida State University, and Bethune Cookman College.

Last year FAMU’s women had a disappointing outing, medaling in only two events. Former track member Sherry Francis placed third in the 55-meter hurdles, and senior Marisa Uzoaru won the high jump competition. Uzorau, received All-American honors in Nationals last year as a high jumper. Robin McClain had the next best finish, placing sixth in the 55-meter hurdles. FAMU placed seventh in the 4 X 400 team relay.

This year the Rattlerettes have more experience and confidence. Coach Little has high expectations.

“I feel very positive about this team,” Little said. “Our number one goal is to win MEAC indoor and outdoor.”

The Rattlerettes return four seniors, one junior, and 10 sophomores. The freshman class includes LaJuan Samuels, a 400-meter runner from New Jersey, Jasmine Foster, a 100-meter runner from Texas, and four Florida natives.

Krenishia Smith, a freshman from Apopka, Florida, has high personal goals that will help benefit her team.

“I want to win everything, every meet. I want to qualify for the NCAA’s,” Smith said.

Smith’s teammate Hope Wells, a freshman from St. Petersburg, Florida, has some of the same goals in mind.

“Individually I want to qualify for the NCAA’s, I also want to improve all of my times,” Wells said.

The Rattlerettes’ indoor season ends on February 22 in Landover, MD with the MEAC indoor Conference Championship. March 1 begins the outdoor season when FAMU hosts the Snowbird meet. The Rattlerettes have five meets in Tallahassee and two in Gainesville. Other meet sites include Tampa, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Gainesville.

Last season the women’s team scored 99 points at the championship, but Hampton edged them out with 107 points.

Coach Little couldn’t hide her excitement as questions of a Hampton rematch surfaced.

“We are ready for them,” Little said. “We have a good team, and we’re looking to battle them out.”

The Rattlerettes can reclaim their title in May in at the Conference Championships.

This Saturday’s meet in Gainesville begins at 10 a.m. with the field and track events at 11 a.m.