JSU track finishes strong at Samford Invite

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

On Thursday, Jan. 9, the Jacksonville State University Track and Field Team traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for the Samford Invite at Samford University. The Gamecocks made their mark in different areas of competition and walked away from the tournament with much success.

The tournament began with the field events with Senior Baylee Porch competing in the pentathlon where she tied for first place with two Murray State team members in the high jump event. Porch recorded a jump of 1.65 meters. She then later placed third in the shot put. 

Porch eventually placed sixth overall in the multi-event challenge scoring 3224, just under 100 from her career mark which she recorded in last year’s OVC championships. Her career high in 2019 was also just under 100 points shy of a school record.

Also at the shot put, sophomore Adrian Rock threw for 11.59 meters that put her in eighth place. This put here at just a meter over freshman Kirsen Gardner, who placed thirteenth overall. 

In 2019, Rock recorded a career best of 42.42 meters at the shot put in the JSU Girls Day Out meetup. Meanwhile, Gardener, who is a freshman, was a three-time 6A state champion in the shot put by the time she signed with JSU. Her high school best marks at the shot put were 39′ 3″ (shot) 114″ (Hammer), 115″ (Discus) and 38′ 7″ (weight). 

Meanwhile, on the track, junior Tylyn Register and sophomore Ashton Coats both recorded 9.28-second marks in the 60-meter hurdles, just missing the finals by two-tenths of a second. Register and Leandra Custodio also placed in the top 20 in the 400-meter race.

In the distance running competition, Senior Emily Sorrell placed ninth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:22.43. Behind Sorrell was freshmen Elizabeth Wetmore who placed 16th and Libba Sheppard who placed 22nd. 

In 2018, Sorrell turned in her career in the 1500-meter race at Georgia Tech’s Yellow Jacket Invite with a time of 4:40.34. She also set her 800-meter personal best at the OVC Outdoor Championships finishing fourth with a time of 2:12.60. In 2019, she became a member of JSU’s first-place 4×400 meter team at Western Carolina. 

Over the weekend, the Gamecocks also saw sophomore Donna Durkum lead the Gamecocks in the high jump placing sixth with a 1.5-meter jump. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore Casey Phelan placed in the top five in the pole vault competition with 3.65 meters. This was her second consecutive competition placing in the top five.

“[I am hoping that] towards the end of the season I’m placing top three in every meet. I’ve been proud of my performances over the last two weeks purely because this is my first time competing in about a year and a half after being out with a back injury,” said Phelan. “I would like to [work towards making] the NCAA preliminary round for outdoors and attempt the bar that could take me to nationals. Indoor, my goal is to be consistent with my technique and to place in the top two at conference.” 

Phelan competed at the University of South Florida before transferring to Jacksonville State. There, she was named an academic all-American and placed fourth at the American Conference Championships. 

The Gamecocks will be traveling to Huntington, West Virginia to compete in Marshall University’s Thundering Herd Invite. The tournament will be held on Friday, January 24 through Saturday, January 25.

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