First Season in Sun Belt a Success for Track and Field
The Panthers finished in seventh place at both the indoor and outdoor conference championships, setting a benchmark that will be improved upon in subsequent seasons in the Sun Belt.
After competing in the CAA for seven seasons, Georgia State announced a transition to the Sun Belt conference in 2013. All individual sports, including cross country and track and field, were allowed to move to the new conference a season earlier than expected.
In their first ever indoor track and field championship, Georgia State placed seventh out of twelve teams at the Sun Belt meet in Jonesboro, Ark. on Feb. 24-25, hosted by Arkansas State.
The distance runners contributed 27 of 31 points for the Panthers at the conference championship.
The Panthers’ previous conferences did not support indoor conference championships, so the experience was entirely new for Georgia State. But the team can build on this start into the program’s promising future.
GSU set four school records during the indoor season. Katharine Showalter had two of the new marks in the mile and 5,000m. The senior was twice named the Sun Belt conference Track Athlete of the Week during the indoor season.
At the Samford Invitational, Showalter ran 16:51.35 in the 5,000m to best the previous record held by former-Panther great, Jennifer Feenstra. Showalter then clocked 4:59.62 in the mile at the Virginia Tech Final Qualifier to narrowly beat the record previously held by Janel Blancett.
Fellow senior Kesean Henderson reached new heights in the women’s indoor weight throw, breaking the school mark in the second meet of the season and continuing to push the distance three more times during the course of the season.
Henderson eventually topped out at a throw of 15.56m (51-0.75) at the Samford Invite, which now stands as the new school record. Henderson now holds all of the top-five throws in the event in program history.
Aniya Moore established a new school record by scoring 3,210 points in the indoor pentathlon at the Orange and Purple Winter Classic to start the season.
At the indoor conference championship, Showalter finished fourth in both the mile and 3,000m to go along with a sixth-place finish in the 5,000m.
The Panthers scored 57 points to finish in seventh place out of twelve teams at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championship on May 10-12 in Miami, Fla. hosted by Florida International. All of the points were earned in the track events.
The 4x100m relay team of Tatiana and Talia Colbert, Gabby Brooks and Wande Brewer captured a conference title in the event by running 45.52. That time is the third-fastest mark registered by a Panther 4x100m squad in program history.
The same four Panther sprinters finished in second place in the 4x400m relay event to tally 18 total points to the team score. Both times were season-bests for the GSU relay squad.
Brewer also raced to a third-place finish in the 100m dash and came in seventh in the 200m to contribute eight points to the team total, running personal bests in both events. Tatiana Colbert added seven points with a fifth-place finish in the 200m and finished sixth in the 400m.
Niamh Kearney scored 10 points individually after placing third in the 1,500m and fifth in the 800m. Kearney ran the fourth-fastest 1,500m time in school history with a PR of 4:29.16 to win the race at the War Eagle Invite. The mark was also the second fastest time in the conference in 2013.
Competitors who place in the top-three in their event are named All-Conference. Therefore, five Panthers earned All-Sun Belt accolades in the Colberts, Brooks, Brewer and Kearney.
Sinclair contributed seven points with a fourth-place finish in the 3,000m steeplechase and a fifth-place effort in the 5,000m.
The Panthers earned eight points in the steeplechase as Denise Myers (7th) and Alison Bishop (8th) also scored in the event. During the season, these runners combined for thirteen top-10 finishes in the steeplechase.
Moore set the second-highest point total ever for a Panther in the outdoor heptathlon. The sophomore scored 4,387 points over the five events to place eighth overall. Moore also launched the program’s third-best mark in the javelin at the War Eagle Invite during the season.
Seven senior student-athletes finish their college careers during the 2012-13 track and field season: Alison Bishop, Gabby Brooks, Kesean Henderson, Sydney Henry, Denise Myers, Leah Norman and Kelsey Spinks.
Two more seniors, Showalter and Tamara Moore, still have remaining eligibility and plan to return to compete next season for the Panthers.
At the annual Blue Carpet Awards, Spinks was awarded the Stoney Burgess Scholarship for being the Georgia State senior student-athlete with the highest grade point average. Sinclair and Carlos Galindo were also named to the GSU All-Academic Teams.
The 2013 season marked the last year of competition for the Georgia State men’s track and field program, as well as the men’s cross country team.