Track team says age only a number

The FAMU men’s track team said its members may be young but they certainly know how to use their youth to their advantage.

The team, which has now has 13 freshmen, proved what they were capable of at last weekend’s LSU Tiger Indoor Invitational. They managed to secure eight top 10 finishes.

Led by Coach Rey Robinson, the team doesn’t take their victory for granted.

“The guys are learning to work together as a team,” said Robinson, who has coached the team for nine straight seasons. “Last year was a bit rough on us because we were in the rebuilding stages. We still are, but it is getting better.”

In the event, sophomore Carl McKinzie ran second in the 60-meter hurdles, followed by his teammate, sophomore Greg Bynes, who snagged third. Omari Crawford, a senior from Atlanta, placed fourth in the 800 meter.

Freshman Dequam Lee placed second in the 800-meter championship, ahead of sophomore Carlos Franklin, who placed third. Junior Stanley Suber placed seventh.

Kevin Elliot, a freshman from Orlando took second in the high jump, and Edwisht Olmann, a senior from Homestead, finished fifth in the triple jump.

“We did well,” Robinson said of his team’s recent success. Robinson is a FAMU graduate who ran for the U.S. Olympic team in 1972. A few of his athletes have graduated, but he is very proud of the new additions to the team. He said both his freshmen and sophomore runners are exceeding

“They are doing very well,” Robinson said. “They are putting in great performance. They are very consistent and very competitive. We were fortunate to recruit new athletes.”

Assisted by Will Johnson, who Robinson said is very helpful, the coach plans on remaining triumphant.

Coming from the Edward S. Temple Classic at Tennessee State University where the Rattlers took 15 top five finishes on Jan. 5, this season is proving to be a great start for the Rattlers, who have not had the greatest of seasons for the past two years.

With only two returning seniors and an abundance of underclassmen – 13 freshman, five sophomores and two juniors – most people consider the team’s youthfulness a disadvantage, but Franklin said the team’s optimism definitely outweighs the negativity associated with its youth.

“It’s a disadvantage because we’re a young team,” said Franklin, 19, a Winterhaven native. “The majority is sophomores and freshmen, but I believe there is also the advantage of growing together.”

The next meet will be the Florida Invitational in Gainesville this weekend.

Robinson said he hopes to go on to win the MEAC championship, which will be in Landover, Md. on Feb. 15-16. He is optimistic about the upcoming tournament.

“We want to make preparations for the indoor championship,” Robinson said. “We want to improve performance and win.”