Track keeping up the pace with outdoor season

Record breaker Ravin Gilbert grabs baton from teammate Kassandra Pierre during the Florida Relays April 1, 2016. Photos Submitted by Georgia State Athletics
Record breaker Ravin Gilbert grabs baton from teammate Kassandra Pierre during the Florida Relays April 1, 2016.  Photos Submitted by Georgia State Athletics
Record breaker Ravin Gilbert grabs baton from teammate Kassandra Pierre during the Florida Relays April 1, 2016.
Photos Submitted by Georgia State Athletics

Indoor or outdoor doesn’t matter for the Panthers track team, as they continue to be successful this year. The Panthers ended their indoor season with fourth place in the Indoor Sun Belt Conference Tournament, and started out the outdoor season winning first place at the Jacksonville State Invite.

Even though the Panthers came in fourth place in the Indoor Sun Belt Conference Tournament, they had four conference champions, six more all-conference performers and set five school records. In addition, coming in fourth place makes it the highest finish in Georgia State history beating last year’s fifth place finish.

LaPorscha Wells broke the Sun Belt Championship and Georgia State school record for weight throw, 20.06m, and shot put, 16.55m, as she was awarded two Sun Belt Championships. Ravin Gilbert won the third championship winning the 60m for the second straight indoor conference championship with a time of 7.36. She was .01 seconds shy of tying her own school record in the 60m. Nuria Ramirez won the fourth Sun Belt Championship winning the 800m by .02 seconds with her time of 2:12.83.

Different season, similar results

The Panthers finished the indoor season strong, and kept that pace going as the outdoor season began with the Jacksonville State Invitational. At Jacksonville State, the Panthers had 11 first place faces in the meet and one school record broken. The Panthers accumulated 125 team points to win the Division 1 meet ahead of Jacksonville State and Mercer.

Junior Kelsey Gray set the school record in the javelin throw at the meet, as she threw 35.89m. She beat her previous record of 35.54 in the 2015 Sun Belt Outdoor Conference Tournament. Here are the rest of the first place finishes:

  • Sammi Donovan – 3000m Steeplechase (11:53.14)
  • Allyson Goff – 100m Hurdles (14.67)
  • Katherine Randolph – Long Jump (5.56m, 18-3)
  • LaPorscha Wells – Shot (15.78m, 51-9.25) & Hammer (55.59m, 182-4)
  • Stephanie Berger – 1,500m (4:42.67)
  • Ravin Gilbert – 400m (57.53)
  • Allyson Goff, Ravin Gilbert, Jada Steward, Katherine Randolph – 4x100m
  • Brianna Archer, Kassandra Pierre, Athena Carpenter, Ashlan Rosier – 4x400m

After Jacksonville, the Panthers were on spring break and would compete in a meet hosted by Sun Belt foe South Alabama that Friday during the break. Instead of resting and partying like other college students, the Panthers track team decided to use their break training and competing. The team spent majority of the week at Gulf Shores, Alabama, where the 2015 Sun Belt Championships were held, to train for the upcoming meet on Friday.

The South Alabama Jaguar Classic meet was suspended midway through the meet as Mother Nature interfered with rain and lightning. Despite only being able to compete in half of the events, the Panthers still had three first place finishes, three second place finishes, and three third place finishes. According to the results before the tournament was stopped, the Panthers were currently in second place with 41 points and were three points behind host South Alabama.

Stephanie Berger won the 1,500m event with a time of 4:38.90. Danielle Livingstone won the long jump with a 5.39m distance, and Katherine Randolph finished second behind her in the long jump. LaPorscha Wells won the shot put event with a 15.39m distance, and Alysiah Whittaker was right behind her in second with a 15.19m distance. Six running events were suspended due to the rain, the 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 4×400 relay and 3,000m run. Ravin Gilbert is known for dominating the 100m and 200m events and if the tournament hadn’t been suspended, the Panthers might have found a way to win first place overall in the meet.

Despite not being able to compete in the South Alabama meet due to the weather, Gilbert made up for it with her outstanding performance at the Yellow Jacket Invitational Meet. Gilbert finished first in the 100m, second in the 200m and fourth in the 4x100m relay against 14 other teams that included SEC and ACC teams and runners from eight other conferences.

Gilbert won the 100m with a time of 11.61, which isn’t bad considering it’s her first outdoor 100m of the season, but her best is 11.48 when she was Sun Belt Champion last spring. Gilbert wasn’t the only productive one at the meet. Alysiah Whittaker placed third in shot put, 15.11m, and LaPorscha Wells had two fourth place finishes in the hammer throw and shot put. Nuria Ramirez placed fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase.

The Panthers next meet will be at the 76th Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville, Georgia. Only a select group of people from around the country are selected to compete in the relays and the Panthers had 15 players selected for the relay. The 15-member Panther squad will include Beger, Gilbert, Wells, Kassandra Pierre, Donovan, Ramirez, Whittaker, Randolph, Robinson, Jada Steward, Ashlan rosier, Tyler Watson, Sydney Davis, Jordan Townsley and Brianna Archer.

The Panthers outdoor season as kept up with their indoor season as they’ve already placed first in one meet, and have had 15 people selected for the 76th Pepsi Florida Relays. The 2015-16 team is no doubt one of the best teams in a while for Georgia State, as they continue to be successful whether they run indoor or outdoor.