Tom Jones Memorial Invitational recap

Kirk Dawkins is running his race.
Photo Courtesy: FAMU Athletics

The elite competitors continue for the Florida A&M University track and field team. This time, the team traveled to Gainesville, Florida, to compete in the high-level Tom Jones Memorial Invitational. This two-day event started on April 12th and went on until April 13th. Both days were filled with field and race events.

The Rattlers faced elite competition against a host of power five schools, including Louisiana State University, Kentucky, Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and more. The Tom Jones Invitational was a huge meet holding over 20 universities. The Rattlers went toe to toe with the nation’s best athletes in college.

Though some events did not go according to FAMU’s plan, the entire program learned a couple of things. Coach Ellenwood II spoke briefly about how his athletes performed in the Tom Jones and what he learned about his athletes while being there.

“I’m pleased. Performing on that stage, they basically went against nothing but power five institutions, and they held their own. We got some seasons’ best and a couple of personal bests, and we’re moving in the right direction going toward the conference. More than anything, we belong. That was the big thing, you have to take athletes to these types of meets. If you want to be the best, you have to compete against the best. They need to be in that fire and show they can hold their own,” Coach Ellenwood II said.

Breanna Brown-Marshall premiered in the four-by-one relays, high jump, and long jump. She and her team placed 4th in their heat with a time of 45.58 seconds, placed 23rd in the long jump, jumping 18 feet and seven inches, and for the high jump, she jumped five feet and ten and a half inches, which were her personal best! Brown-Marshall spoke about what she learned from this previous event.

“Nothing is going to come easy. Everything you want, you have to work for it. Training-wise and competition-wise, you have to put in work. For the high jump, I learned that it is the little things that I need to fix that can help me get to the highest that I want to get to. For the long jump, it is more about execution than anything. Four by one is more of a team effort,” Brown-Marshall said.

Kirk Dawkins premiered in the 800 meters and placed first in his heat with a time of one minute and fifty-one seconds. He placed 40th overall, regardless of heat. Dawkins spoke about the competition and how to prepare and perform in his event.

“I’d say I’ll take this performance. Based on the work I’ve been doing in training, I know that we’re far ahead of where we were this week than last week. I’m just trusting the process. I won my meet, and I knew I still had more in me to go. As the season progresses, I’m just going to try to get more competition in and if I can improve my time,” Dawkins said.

The Rattlers have a small break before their last track meet, which is before they enter the SWAC Outdoor Championship in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They will then travel east to Jacksonville, Florida, to participate in the East Coast Relays on April 26th.