There was a drumline, music and a sense of celebration. Mayor Eric Adams showed up to address participants and spectators. Tables were set up for prospective students and their parents to interact with representatives of the colleges and universities taking part in the HBCU Showcase at the Armory track meet, sponsored by KPMG.
“It’s very beautiful to see everybody here in this environment. It’s good to see the friendly competition,” said the recruiter from Edward Waters University, the first HBCU in the state of Florida.
Angela Williams, the head women’s track and field coach at Prairie View A&M, grew up in Brooklyn, so she is well acquainted with the Armory, although it was a wood track when she was in high school. “It’s an amazing event to highlight our student-athletes who attend historically Black colleges and universities,” Williams said. “If [prospective students] only get to see what’s on the East Coast … then it’s difficult for them to know about HBCUs.”
Jaylin Bradshaw, a junior business administration major from Central State, appreciated the fast pace of the Armory track. “It’s fun being around HBCUs,” she said. “We don’t go to a lot of meets where there are a lot of HBCUs. It’s nice to get that feeling.” Bradshaw’s teammate Michael Addison was impressed when thinking of the many high-profile athletes who have run on the Armory track, such as Natasha Hastings and Sanya Richards-Ross.
Prairie View A&M multi-event athlete Maci Guy was enjoying her first trip to New York. “It’s very busy, a lot of movement. I’ve always seen New York on TV, and it’s just like I thought it would be,” said Guy, who competed in the pole vault. She described being at an HBCU as inclusive and safe. “It’s a community of us just wanting to excel at our education. It’s Black excellence,” she said.
Howard assistant coach Wesley Stephens said, “The experience of having a meet where HBCUs the SWAC schools and the SIAC schools get to come together with the MEAC is fantastic. And then, all the effort [the organizers] put in…is an added incentive for the kids. … being in an environment that’s so communal and supportive.”