Expectations rise as track team moves to outdoor events

After finishing eighth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference indoor track and field championships in February, men’s track team head coach Rey Robinson said expectations for the outdoor championships are higher.

The road to the indoor MEAC championships was a long one as Robinson struggled to put together a young program.

“We have a lot of young kids on the team,” said Robinson. “Each time you have a new group come in, there will be problems.” The team consists of 17 freshmen and sophomores and only seven juniors and seniors. A recurring problem has been the injuries suffered by the men’s track and field program.

“We tried to put back together our four by 100 meter relay team,” Robinson said. But because of injuries plaguing the squad, the quest to rebuild the national title contender relay team has been a strenuous task.

The men’s hurdlers have also felt the effects of injuries.

However, Robinson said his seniors, Brian Griffith and Brandon West, have stepped up to their role as team players.

“They are really carrying the team,” Robinson said.

During the MEAC indoor championships, the two did well, finishing in their events within the top five. Griffith finished fourth in the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 24.7 seconds.

Following in fifth place was West at 4:27.03. Griffith also finished second in the 800-meter relay with a time of 1:54.31.

“I feel good,” said Griffith, a 21-year-old senior pharmacy student from Miami. “We are getting somewhere. The coach is doing a great job preparing us for the competition.”

While the seniors are stepping up, West, a 21-year-old senior health science student from Palm Beach, said the freshmen have made their contributions too.

“The freshmen have done really good,” West said. “They are not running as freshmen. They are running on a collegiate level that is very rare for freshmen.”

To prepare for the upcoming invitational at Florida State University, West said their coach has concentrated more on workouts and helping the players develop self-discipline for events in the MEAC outdoor tournament.

“The freshmen know what to expect,” West said. Other runners placed high in their events at the 57th annual indoor track and field championships. Freshman sensation Gregory Bynes placed third in the 110 meter hurdles, running an astonishing 14.98. It was just 0.68 seconds off the regional qualifying mark, according to the FAMU athletic department.

Alongside Bynes was freshman Michael White, who finished second in the pole vault with a height of 3.96 meters.

“I knew we had a young team, but we have a lot of talented guys,” Griffith said.

Last year, the University’s men’s track and field team was ranked eighth out of the 11 teams to appear at the indoor MEAC championship.

The team looks forward to the competition they will face at the outdoor MEAC championships which will begin May 3rd.