Women Track Team Ready to Prove Contender Status

Two weeks ago, the Florida A&M women’s track and field team confirmed it is a contender in the conference. Now, it is ready to prove it at the championship.

After qualifying 17 athletes during the season, the Lady Rattlers will travel to Landover, Md. Thursday to compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Indoor Championship.

FAMU will look to build on the momentum it formed two weeks ago during the Clemson Invitational when it earned top-10 finishes in nearly every event.

An array of competitive teams will compete in the MEAC championship, including Hampton, Maryland Eastern Shore and Norfolk State, two-time MEAC champion. Head coach Darlene Moore said she is aware of the tough competition but feels strongly about the Lady Rattlers’ chances in the sprints, mid-range and distance races.

Moore said the team has been preparing with intense practices during its bye week to improve its chances of earning a top-five finish this season. This would be an improvement from last season, as the team finished seventh overall.

Moore said mental and physical preparation along with focus would be the key to strong performances during the championship.

“Everybody has to be burning on all cylinders,” Moore said. “When these young ladies perform, everybody needs to have a good day.”

Jasmine Pleasant, who finished third in the 60m dash (7.75) during the Clemson Invite, said she has been preparing intensely and should be ready for action Thursday. She said her block start techniques and running form has been her focus during practice. Strengthening these areas would increase her speed for a strong finish, she said.

“You have to stay positive, you have to be focused, and you have to be determined and reach your goals,” Pleasant said.

Pleasant, who will be competing in the 200m dash during the championship, said she plans to use previous championship experience to her advantage this year.

“I can utilize my skills that I learned last year and implement them into my race this year such as the block starts, pumping my arms and speeding up during the race.”

Kinnesha Jones, who leapt to eighth place in the long jump with a distance of 5.29m during the Clemson Invite, said she has noticed how focused her teammates have become with the meet only a few days away.

“Everybody has their mind right, everybody is mentally prepared and gives 110 percent in practice every day,” Jones said. “We have a good group of people that will push you and pick you up and have you keep going. That’s what I like about my teammates.”