TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida A&M Rattler & Lady Rattler track and field teams took to the Robert “Pete” Griffin Track complex to defend their home turf in the 66th installment of the FAMU Relays. Both teams fared well in the event that saw some spectacular performances.
On the women’s side, the Lady Rattlers began the defense of their two consecutive MEAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a solid performance. With a well-rounded squad, head coach Darlene Moore, Ed.D, now director of track and field for both teams, has put together what is sure to be a solid unit, vying for a three-peat
“The young ladies have been working hard and looking forward to outdoor season. We didn’t quite finish where we wanted at the MEAC Indoor Championship, but I think that has inspired them all to train harder and do better. We were all ready to perform at home, in front of our crowd at the FAMU Relays,” Moore said
Freshman Mia Lewis took home the fastest time in the 400m dash, carding a 56.97 in the finals. Teammate Christina Moodie would place second with a time of 58.58
In the 800m run, junior middle distance runner Destiny Johnson topped the field with a 2:18.03 performance. Briana Ballatt finished fifth with a run of 2:31.34. April Polite and Erica Tyler finished in sixth and ninth places respectively, with 2:35.28 and 2:48.33 finishes.
The FAMU distance runners again flexed their dominance with six of the top seven runners wearing orange and green in the 10K run. Judith Kibii took the race, posting the first place time of 37:16.37. Florida State’s Bella Poole (38:05.61), took second place, but FAMU runners finished consecutively in the next five spots. Friday Limo (38:18.97), led the bunch; followed by Emma Kiplagat (38:45.73), Naomi Tanui (39:04.00), Caroline Kiplagat (39:29.48) and Nicole Kvitkauskas (40:49.57).
In the 100m hurdles, freshman Alahni Wood took second place with a time of 14.17. Tiara Corbett would take seventh place in 16.16
Destiny Johnson earned second place in the 400m hurdles, carding a 1:04.52 time
The Lady Rattler 4x100m relay team did not disappoint. After a solid start from Wood, Ashley Ivey would extend the Lady Rattler lead into the third leg. From there, with good handoffs, FAMU cruised to a win in 46.98.
The Lady Rattler relay teams would again prove their worth, topping the 4x400m relay in 3:54.55.
Ivana Ford, a FAMU freshman, won the high jump with a leap of 4’09.75” (4-09.75).
Cheyenne Brooks would go on to win the pole vault at 3-.05m (20’0), while teammate DiCaria Alvarez placed second with a vault of 2.74m.
Ivey would take the triple jump’s top honors, with a 11.96m (39-03.00). Corbett placed fourth with a 11.21m (36’09.50”) performance. Wood, Ford and Corbett finished second, sixth and ninth in the process
FAMU’s throwers, under the tutelage of new assistant coach Ben Wolf, performed to expectations at the meet. Andrea Aaron took first place in the women’s hammer throw with a toss of 52.75. Aaron currently holds the FAMU record in the hammer throw, earned at the 2017 MEAC Indoor Track & Field Championship. Alexandria Marshall-Paul finished second (45.45m) and Shontielle Johnson took fourth (41.62m). Marshall-Paul would take second place in the discus throw with a toss of 44.82m. Aaron took third in 43.18 and Benisha Johnson took fifth with a toss 36.39m.
Aaron also took first place in the javelin throw with a toss of 40.37m, followed by Marshall-Paul with a 35.06m toss.
On the men’s side, Moore is in a different stage. While the women are competing for championships at every level, the men’s team is in the first stage of being re-tooled by Moore.
“I saw some performances from the men’s team that were encouraging. We’ve basically had to build this team from the ground up. My goal is to have both of these teams in the position to be threats to win the cross country championship, the indoor championship and the outdoor championship. That’s the FAMU way. Great coaches like coach Griffin, coach Lang and coach Robinson all won championship on a consistent basis. When I took this job, I knew that is what was expected of me. Now, I accepted the challenge to bring the men’s team alongside the women’s and it will take work. But, me and my very capable coaching staff are up for the challenge,” Moore said.
Jamari Smith took first place in the 400m run with a solid 48.50 lap. Timothy Ashley finished seventh with a 50.33 time. Ashley would take top honors in the 200m, carding a 22.04, with Smith placing third in 22.14.
Distance runner Thomas Howell took third place int he 5K run, finishing in 17:50.17.
As a team, the Rattler 4x400m relay team took top honors with a 3:20.37 finish. The team of Najee Boyer, Smith, Karus Hunter and Ashley had solid handoffs and held off the charging Nova Southeastern Sharks for the win.
Michael Poole took first place in the collegiate division of the long jump. His leap of 6.51m edged out teammate Herendre’ Fair, who came in at 6.35m.
Aaron Hanna would lead FAMU’s throwers. He placed first int he shot put (14.80m), second in the discus throw (40.24m) and first in the hammer throw (42.04M). Korteece Baker finished fifth in the shot put (11.12m) and third in the discus throw (39.44m).