N.C. A&T Men’s indoor Track & Field finishes second in the nation

Melvin Harris, theSCORE Editor

N.C. A&T have dominated the track & field department for the past few years and this past weekend was no different. 

The men’s indoor track team finished as the national runner-up to Texas by falling short in the 4×400 meter relay. 

The Aggies were neck-and-neck with the Longhorns due to performances from junior Randolph Ross Jr., sophomore Javonte Harding and freshman Leonard Mustari. 

Ross was able to come out on top for the men’s 400 meter dash. Not only did Ross finish first, he also set a new personal best and a Birmingham Crossplex record with a 44.62 finish. Ross was just a tenth off from the collegiate record. 

Harding was also able to finish first in the 200m dash. Harding started off the prelims in second against top-ranked Matthew Boling. However, Harding was able to capitalize when it mattered most. 

Mustari’s contributions to the team were needed this weekend. The freshman came up huge with a second-place finish in the 60m hurdles. Mustari had a 7.63 second finish to keep hopes of a  national championship  alive. 

Many others helped contribute to the Aggies performance such as senior Daniel Stokes, senior Rasheem Brown, senior Elijah Young and freshman Markevus Jackson. 

The difference between the Aggies finishing in first or second was their performance in the 4×400 relay. 

What usually is the Aggies bread and butter, ended up costing them a shot at the national title. The Aggies finished in ninth in the 4×400 while Texas finished in second which was close enough to push them to the top of the leaderboard. 

As most were shocked by A&T’s ninth place finish, Coach Duane Ross did not expect for things to spiral down the way it did; however, he believes this can be used as a learning point in the future. 

“We came up short, ironically, in one of the events I did not expect,” said Ross. “How are we going to be defending champions indoor and outdoor, have three legs back from last year, and we don’t even score? If you bet me money that would have happened, I would have said no way. That was disappointing. We, one, came in here wanting to win a national championship, and two, we thought our relay team would run better. Yeah. This one stings. But we will take this on the chin and get ready for the next one.”

The Aggies were still able to make history with their second-place finish. N.C. A&T also placed higher than any historically black college and or university indoor team in NCAA indoor meet history.

Coach Ross does not want to shadow the important individual performances that got the Aggies to that final point as well. 

“I’m so proud of our individual performances,” said Ross. “I don’t want those efforts to be overshadowed because we came up short. We wouldn’t be in a position to win a national championship if they didn’t do what they needed to do. They should be proud of themselves.”

Nevertheless, the Aggies have a lot of improvement to do according to Ross, if they want to come out on top for the outdoor season. 

“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Ross. “But not we are not moving as fast as I would like. I’ve been patient in building this thing the right way, but I have got to get the student-athletes who are sitting at home right now to buy in.”