Grambling State University’s track and field team returned to campus ecstatic about reuniting.
One reason is because they are the university’s winningest program. Another reason is because after five consecutive years of winning conference titles, the team has finally received their rings.
Newly appointed Athletic Director, Aaron James said the team is well deserving of their new jewelry.
“Me personally, I think any team that wins championships deserve some type of an award,” said James.
GSU’s Track and Field team captured the conference title in the years of 2008-2012.
When asked about the delay on the team receiving their rings, James said they need “a lot of outside help” due to the university’s budget cuts.
Some athletes were in awe when that they were finally being recognized after such along time
“I was literally speechless when the rings came out, the room was in dead science,” said senior runner Travis Donald from New Orleans.”I was surprised for the simple fact that we’ve been winning so long and we haven’t received a ring.”
In the midst of the celebration, GSU’s head track and field coach, Beltram Lavelle is ready to get back to work.
He is excited to have returning veterans, Akeem Williams, Sylvester Biason, Darius Taylor, Stephone Leakes, and Deonte Pope.
In the last Southwestern Athletic Conference championship, Grambling’s men brought home many medals.
Williams placed first in the 400m and second in the 200m races. Three Grambling athletes, Darius Taylor, Leaks, and Darwin Price, placed first, second, and third in the mens’ 800m dash.
Lavelle also looks forward to the incoming women freshman who he says will help them “get back to the top.”
Last season, the women’s team fell short to injuries and personal matters. As a parent, he understands the problems his athletes face and allows them to handle personal obligations over track.
His only concern for this season is whether or not his athletes can make the successful transition from high school to collegiate level.
When speaking on new recruits, Lavelle shied away from announcing names to protect against misleading information.
“Right now we don’t want to put (any) names out there,” said Lavelle. “We want to make sure they clear with the NCAA clearinghouse…and then we can put a few names out.”
Lavelle says the team has bulked up on sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers while leaving a vacancy for long distance runners.
When asked about a possible SWAC championship, Lavelle modestly says, “I always strive for them to be the best.” He stresses not only in athletics but academics and personal life as well. Lavelle is not only a great coach, but a concerned mentor. He wants his athletes to have success on and off the track.
He later reaffirms his faith in his team saying “We always strive for another SWAC championship.”