Don’t call it a comeback, the Grambling State women’s track team has been here for years. On Feb. 27 they took a large step forward after coming in third place during the 2015 indoor SWAC championship in Birmingham, Alabama.
They ended the meet with a total of 75 points, falling behind Texas Southern who finished with 94 points and the defending champions, Alabama State, finished with 221 points. The Lady Tigers track team put on a tantalizing performance as they fought their way to third place. The women worked well together to earn their place but there were a few outstanding performers that came up big for the team.
Senior hurdler, Primecha Coates, helped lead the way placing second overall in the 60 meter hurdles (8.49 seconds) and seventh in the 60 meter dash (7.83 seconds). Printassia Johnson, a junior from Bahamas, earned a silver medal in the 60 meter dash (7.66 seconds) and a bronze medal in the 200 meter dash (24.44 seconds).
Other highlight performers include sophomore Darlene Desmangles, also earned a silver medal in the triple jump landing at 39.9 feet, and sophomore sprinter, Creshonda Carter, who placed fourth in both the 200 (24.86 seconds) and 400 meter dash (56.46 seconds). The Lady Tigers 4 x 400 meter relay team that composed of Printassia Johnson, Chellane Jones, Jasmine pierce, and, Creshonda Carter also finished second (3:44:17) and were one second short of breaking SWAC indoor record (3:43:73) in that event.
“I think being the underdog motivated us to go even harder,” Said Chellane Jones, sophomore sprinter from Dallas, Texas who finished fifth overall in the 200 meter dash and was second leg on the 4 x 400 meter relay. According to the team, coming in third place is a large feat for them due to the time it has taken to get back to this point. Some might say that they have taken the scenic route to climb back to the top.
“We have come a long way, and nobody knows what we have been through to get to this point,” said Jamesha Ford a junior distance runner from Atlanta, who was a big catalyst in the team’s success after scoring points in the 800, 3000 and 5000 meter dashes, the one mile run and the distance medley relay.
The women’s track team has not placed in the top three since the 2011 outdoor championship where they came in second and they have not won the SWAC championship since 2007.
“Since I’ve been at Grambling, the men have always been on top,” said Desmangles, sophomore jumper from Miami, “It sort of felt like the women were always in their shadow.” Despite the women’s shortcomings in the past few years, they have now regained their “swagger”. They have been resilient and have persevered immensely and plan to keep moving forward.
Much recognition can be given to Head Coach, Bertam Lovell, Assistant Coach, Ashley Curry, and Distance Coach, Brian Ramos, who have together worked diligently to rebuild and train the women’s team from the ground up. In the past few years the depth on the women’s team was fairly low. In 2012 the team consisted of barley 12 females but has now increased to over 24.
“I don’t think depth was our problem, said coach Curry, “The pieces were always there, they just needed to believe in themselves.” She explained that many teams are going to have a few missing pieces at times, but its all about properly utilizing what you have.
Now that the Lady Tigers track team have gained back their motion, they are looking ahead to turn up the heat a few more notches. It would be to their advantage to let all of their momentum from the indoor season carry them to even newer heights for the outdoor season. Maybe they will collaborate with the men’s team and bring Grambling state University a championship for both sides. “Together we shall perspire, and together we shall achieve,” said head coach Lovell.