Cross country team carries high hopes

Through the woods, and traps, to the burning tracks, the FAMU women cross-country team has overcome many obstacles.

With the 2007 season well under way, the Lady Rattlers are promising a winning season. “The season is going to be great, there are a lot of freshmen who are stepping up to the plate,” said YaTandrea Burke, 22, a senior from Virginia Beach. “The best thing I like is there work ethic.”

Several athletes on the team say the level of intensity from last year is still there. And with the new players they can take it to the next level and hopefully to the Conference finals.

Jeanna Dorcelin, 22, a senior from West Palm Beach, said she thinks it is going to be a good season, and they have new girls whose times are consistent.

“If everyone runs well we should make the top five in the MEAC conference,” said Dorcelin.

The Lady Rattlers have five freshmen on the team and each has a chance to display their talents.

“Coming straight out of high school to running collegiate track is much more demanding and you have to be stronger,” said Felicia Morgan, 18, a freshman from Fort Lauderdale. “The conditioning is more intense but everyone here is like family.”

Morgan believes that it is going to be a great season and she is looking forward to many wins.

Head Coach Maicel Malone says her top runners to look for this season are seniors Burke, Dorcelin and freshmen Felicia Morgan and Nicola Nisthrop. Malone said that so far the girls had shown insurmountable strides in the last two meets.

“They need to work on is techniques and being mentally tough through the whole course from beginning to end,” said Malone.

Malone said that she is counting on Burke and Dorcelin to lead the team on the field, as well as off the field in their academic studies.

“Our goal off the field is to be at the top in our academics,” said Burke.

Even Coach Malone feels as strongly as Burke about the members of the cross-country team excelling in their studies. “If we can’t make the goals off field, then we can’t make them on the field,” Malone said.

Coach Malone said that members of the team were also involved in community service, which prepares them for future leadership roles.

She also said that the team’s next meet is Friday at Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway.

“Our goal is to never stop being hungry and to win a championship, continually keeping our eyes on the prize,” Burke said.