WINSTON-SALEM - As North Carolina A&T's Everett Slocum stepped into discus circle, his expectations were simple. Do well enough to qualify for May's MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, and try not to do too poorly in his first collegiate outdoor track and field meet.
Slocum exceeded those expectations while at the same time giving A&T a reason to be excited about its newest thrower. Slocum finished first in the discus throw at the Wake Forest Track and Field Open over the weekend as the Aggies opened their outdoor season.
The Miami native's best throw was 158-feet, 5-inches. The next closest competitor, Buffalo's Shane Smith, had his throw go 13 inches shorter than Slocum.
"My teammates kept me really relaxed while I was in the circle," Slocum said. "I was just trying to reach the 130-foot mark, and I ended up reaching the 158-foot mark. I didn't expect to come to college and throw that far. I hope to keep improving and get another personal record as the season continues."
Other notable performances came from Janessa Benn, who broke a school record in the women's 3000 meter run with a time of 10:39.69 and thrower Sydni Cobb who set a personal record in the shot put with a distance of 44-feet, 9-inches.
Paris Simmons had an impressive showing in the men's 400 meter dash, as he earned sixth place with a time of 48.15. The men's 4x100 relay team also placed in the top 10 with a time of 42.46.
"I am extremely proud of each and every one of our student-athletes; it has been a long three weeks. They accepted the challenge to train at a higher level to become fitter and run faster later in the season," said James Daniels, the Aggies interim director of track and field programs.
Daniels challenged his athletes this weekend, as he required some of them to compete in different events in an effort to develop themselves in other areas of their training. The athletes all rose to the occasion and embraced the opportunity to become better.
Hurdler Dotrine Jacobs tried her hand in the sprints, as she was a member of the women's 4x100 meter relay with Felexia Brasswell, Jessica Farr and Roshel Bygraves. The ladies earned 11th place with a time of 47.56. Jacobs also participated in the women's 200 meter dash and the 4x400 meter relay.
Other athletes competing outside their comfort zone and challenging themselves were sprinter Roshel Bygraves, who competed in the women's 400 meter hurdles, and distance runner Kristin Rush competed in the women's 200 meter dash.
"After the indoor championships I usually reassess where we are as a program and make adjustments to our training and move our student-athletes around a little to meet the needs of the program," explained Daniels. "We have made our adjustments, and we are looking forward to vying for the conference championship."
Daniels added: "We had some very good performances and we had some performances that indicated we have some work to do to develop into the team we are seeking to become."