LaPorscha Wells strives to stand tall amongst competition

Photo by Ralph Hernandez | The Signal

The record books for Georgia State track and field have been rewritten this season on a meet-by-meet basis. Responsible for setting these new marks is sophomore weight thrower and shot putter LaPorscha Wells.
Wells has established herself as one of the top performers on the Panthers’ track and field team. Wells recently set a new Georgia State weight throw mark of 19.32 meters on Feb. 13 at the Samford Invitational. While setting a record, Wells also placed first at the Samford Invitational.

LaPorscha Wells, sophomore, recently set the school record in the weight throw for Georgia State’s Track and Field team. Photo by Ralph Hernandez  | The Signal
LaPorscha Wells, sophomore, recently set the school record in the weight throw for Georgia State’s Track and Field team.
Photo by Ralph Hernandez | The Signal
In the meet before that, Wells found herself at the top of the Georgia State weight throw charts as she won the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Buccaneer Invitational with a heave of 18.57 meters on Jan. 9. Sophomore Tracy Dorcemont, a teammate as well as a good friend of Wells’, previously held the school record in the weight throw at 18.19 meters.

The sophomore has created a mindset for herself to improve and excel at every meet.
Wells, as a true freshman, also rewrote the record books last season in the hammer throw with a distance of 50.72 meters at the Troy Invitational on April 6, 2014. This season Wells set a school record in the weight throw (17.26 meters) at the Birmingham-Southern College [BSC] Icebreaker at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Dec. 5, 2014.
She says that the talent she possesses is a byproduct of her passion for the sport.

“I think because I’m just passionate about it. A lot of people have the talent but not necessarily the love for it. I just love throwing and I really take it extremely serious, so I think that’s why I’m really dedicated to it,” Wells said.


Getting readyConsistency and greatness are two attributes that many successful athletes have maintained. Athletes prepare in different ways before competition. Wells says she does not partake in any individual pre-game rituals like other athletes. She just likes to listen to music that she says gets her hyped up.
“I have to listen to some real good ‘turn up’ music. That will get me so hype,” Wells said.
She says that her favorite song is “War Ready” by Rich Homie Quan.
The team as whole has its own ritual before going to meets. The team gets together and plays a couple games of Spades. Even after Wells finishes with her weight or hammer throw, she likes to play Spades. This helps her get her mind off of ruminating on what she could have done better.
“Thinking too much can really throw you way off or trying to concentrate too much, so we play Spades and turn up music,” Wells said.
Wells spoke of previous weight throw record holder Dorcemont. According to Wells, they always push and compete against each other.
“It’s always good competition. It’s never nothing negative,” Wells said.
Wells says the Panthers push each other at practice to improve every day.
“It’s what our coach likes to call ‘queensmanship.’ We practice like there is no one else there but us,” Wells said.

Blue and whiteBefore Wells represented the Panthers at this year’s Sun Belt Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, she set her sights on establishing another career-best for the weight throw.
“Absolutely, I plan on breaking it this weekend. My goal is get 20 meters by the time Conference comes around,” Wells said prior to this year’s Sun Belt meet.
Last season, she finished second-best in the weight toss at 15.29 meters during the indoor Sun Belt Conference championship at Alabama. While there are some athletes who consider this satisfying, Wells was disappointed in placing second. She said that she felt even more motivated to throw and improve.
“That’s what most athletes do. They have the mindset to win. The fact that I had lost kind of made me upset. I knew I had to want it more than anyone else,” she said. Wells came into this season “just ready to throw.”

Finishing first


Not only is she a tough competitor in her field events, but Wells has always been a standout in the classroom. Wells aspires be a symbol of what a student-athlete is supposed to be. She graduated the top of her class in high school as the Valedictorian at T.W. Josey High School in Augusta, Georgia.

“They have this thing where athletes aren’t smart. Well, most of the athletes that went to my school, all of us were smart. We took accelerated AP classes, still competing against each other,” Wells said.
She explained that all of her friends that played sports would see who made the highest grade on a test or who made the highest grade in the class.
Wells attributes her hard work and dedication to her mother.

“Things would be so different if it was not for her. She really pushed me and told me that anything is possible,” Wells said.

She says her mother made her believe that goals and aspirations can be attained with hard work.

looking forwardWells is a biology major with some possible different plans after leaving Georgia State in a few years.

“The Olympics is definitely an option. Hopefully it becomes an option,” Wells said. “But I do want to go to pharmacy school to become a pharmacist.”

Wells also made all-region in basketball and volleyball while in high school. Wells pondered on what school she would be at if she were not partaking in track and field at Georgia State.

“My dream school was South Carolina State [in Orangeburg, South Carolina]. My mom filled out a recruiting form and the coach called me and told me that I could be a thrower. But being in Atlanta, like who doesn’t want to be in Atlanta?” she said. “Being here has made it so much easier plus I’m only two hours away from home.”

 Photo by  Ralph Hernandez | The Signal
Photo by Ralph Hernandez | The Signal
Wells grew up in Augusta, Georgia where she has seen shootings and criminal acts. She understands that she has a great opportunity unlike people she knew back home do not have.

“To sit in class next to someone who had an opportunity to go to Harvard, it was just really different. It was kind of a mini culture shock,” Wells said.

Wells has molded herself in becoming the best student-athlete she can be, not only being known for her weight throw performances but also for her positive outlook on life.

“Always believe in yourself… a lot of people don’t have parents who believe in you. Believe in who you are,” Wells said. “I had a high school friend who went through a lot and she didn’t have someone that pushed her and made her want to do something, and now she’s still at home. I tried as much as I could, but I can’t replace a mother. Just know that life is so much more than working at McDonald’s or something like that. If no one believes in you, you have to believe in yourself.”