Garrett Epperson/ Contributing Writer
The weekend of March 18-19, 15 schools including the FIU Track & Field team competed at the 2016 Hurricane Invitational hosted by the University of Miami. This was a rigorous task for the Panthers as they competed in 34 different events between the two days.
The other schools who were invited to compete included:Boston University, Virginia Tech University, Bowdoin College, George Mason University, College of the Bahamas, ASA College, Nova Southeastern University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Memorial University, Saint Thomas University, Keiser University, Johnson and Wales University and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
There were teams from all over the country and even outside the US. Since the event had such a wide range of competition, all the teams got to gauge exactly where they are at to begin this season.
Of the 34 events, the FIU team were represented in 18 of them and finished as high as second in multiple events. FIU’s ‘A’ team which includes Brandon Ballard, Alton Eliphar, Earnest Hamilton and Todd Jackson finished second in the Men’s 4×400 Meter Relay Finals and Chandra Fullwood finished second in Women’s Shot Put Final.
A standout, Alex Del Rosario, Redshirt Junior ran an impressive 48.64, which was the best of all the FIU men and eighth in 400 Meter Finals.
When asked about his time, Del Rosario said, “Well honestly, I was really disappointed with it. I think I can go 47/46. I’ve had a groin injury all year and it was hurting me as I was running and I couldn’t really go into that next gear. I felt like it held me.”
An interesting story was that of Oriel Anu and her FIU career. After an injury ridden Junior Season, Anu was eager to get back on the track, especially at an outdoor event. Unfortunately a false start derailed her opportunity to compete in the 100 Meter Hurdles.
“I was pretty relaxed coming into the race. I didn’t get nervous until I got into the blocks and I got overwhelmed all at once. I just got nervous and jumped the gun,” Anu said.
As far as her road from recovery of a broken foot, she said that the hardest thing was “just being patient, because I’m not patient at all and I had to learn to develop patience over the last year.”
Jermaine Felix, an assistant coach and 2011 FIU graduate offered his opinion on the team and the event. When asked how the meet went, coach Felix said, “As a whole I would say our Men’s and Women’s teams came out and competed strong, we had quite a bit of top 3-5 finishes. For a kickoff meet, I would say the team did pretty well overall.”
As for the upcoming meets, coach Felix said, “Even though a lot of us did well today, we expect their performances to get better and better throughout the season.”