Head coach Wayne Angel and the Rattler track and field team may have missed its goal of a top-three finish during the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Indoor Championship, but it is still holding its heads high.
By Friday night, Florida A&M had plummeted to ninth place in the MEAC Indoor Championship standings. But the Rattlers refused to fold, piecing together top-tier performances Saturday afternoon to secure a sixth-place finish at the Prince George Sports Complex and Learning Center in Landover, Md.
“We never doubted our ability; we never doubted we could come back,” Angel said after the championship. “We fought; we believed in ourselves; and we knew that if everybody stepped up, we would do what we were capable of doing.
“Everybody who competed today scored, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Steve Emere displayed a golden performance for FAMU, leaping to first place in the triple jump with a distance of 15.58m.
Jean Leon steered the Rattlers with 4,306 points and a fourth-place finish in the highly touted heptathlon. He finished second in the 1000m run (2:54.97); second in the 60m dash (7.28) and third in the 60m hurdles (9.02).
Leon would later finish second in both the high jump (1.83m) and long jump (6.08m), fifth in the pole vault (2.75m) and second in the shot put to conclude the seven-event competition.
Shuaib Winters shined to fourth place (4:22.63) in the mile run, while Lamere Buchanan finished 15th (4:35.26).
“We came with only a select few, so I am very proud of the team,” Winters said. “We came out here and took care of business.”
Winters excelled to a third-place finish in the 5000m run in a time of 15:00.56, only half a second behind Norfolk State’s Philemon Kimutai (2nd, 14:59.75). Winters would later place fifth in the 3000m run (8:47.32).
“Despite the losses of a few teammates, I feel that we did good,” said Jeremy Tillman, who jolted to third place in the 60m dash (6.80). “We came in with a team of 11 quality runners and did our job.”
Buchanan raced to 16th place in the 800m run (1:58.63), while Owolabi Deji finished in 21st place (2:00.21).
The medley relay team – Winters, Deji, Buchanan and Derrick Morgan – earned a top-10 finish, taking sixth place (10:28.29).
In another top-10 display, the 4 x 400m relay team – Morgan, Deji, Charief Lewis and Elijah Owens – placed eighth (3:18.44), besting rival Bethune-Cookman by three seconds.
FAMU will return to action March 3 during the Last Chance Qualifier to prime for the NCAA National Championship.