A&T track team vies against world’s bestCourtesy NC A&T Sports Information / April 7, 2016
GAINSEVILLE, Fla. – The North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams faced competitors from around the world at the Pepsi Florida Relays last weekend on the Percy Beard Track of the University of Florida. After a weekend of seeing the planet’s best, director of track and field programs Duane Ross was neither thrilled nor disappointed.
“I think our mental preparation needs to be improved,” Ross said. “There were a lot of teams here and a lot of competition. Mentally, physically we’re usually prepared but this weekend we weren’t mentally prepared. We have to stay on task. We came down here and the change of weather and the size of the competition threw us off. We want to have a good time and enjoy ourselves but this is a competition and we need them [the team] to stay focused.”
Setting themselves apart, sophomore India Brown and freshman Kayla White had the best individual performances. Brown beat her previous school record in the collegiate 200 meters, which she set last year, bringing the A&T record from 23.36 to 23.26. With her fourth-place finish, Brown earned herself a national ranking of 15th in the women’s 200.
In the women’s 100, White toppled her personal record by running an 11.54. In her debut in the 100 meter hurdles she ran an impressive 13.41. On Friday, White erased another old PR, this time in the 200 open clocking 23.70. Her previous PRs in the 100 and 200 were 11.63 and 23.94 respectively.
“Kayla had a really good weekend,” Ross said. “She ran the hurdles, won her heat in the hurdles, and thirty minutes after that she ran another personal best in the 100.”
The A&T men’s 4×400 meter team comprised of freshman Justin Hamilton, junior Dorian Claggett, freshman Michael Dickson and sophomore Dajuan Harding finished second in the preliminaries with a time of 3:08.46. That time placed the Aggie men very close to the school record of 3:07.38.
“They really ran great. That was probably the highlight of our meet,” said Ross of the 4×400 team.
A couple of other freshmen also set personal records on the track. In the men’s 100m, freshman Rodney Rowe performed a 10.40 to lower his personal best from 10.46 seconds. Hamilton also gave a season debut in the 400m where he finished in 47.08 seconds.
In the women’s 400m freshman Kennedy Thorne brought her PR down from 1:03.31 to 1:02.81. “It wasn’t a bad meet by any means,” Ross said. “It was a good meet, not a great meet, but a good meet.”