Blaise Alexander Nissan

Athens' 4x1 relay takes fifth at states.

By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | May 29, 2016


SHIPPENSBURG -- When the season began, the Athens Wildcats weren't even sure who would be in their 4x100 relay.

On Saturday, the quartet of Breana and Ariana Gambrell, Rachel Hutchison and Shanell Baglini was finishing fifth in the state in 49.50.

"In the beginning of the season, we weren't even all together," Ariana Gambrell said. "Honestly, just all being together, and fifth in the state, is just amazing to think about."

Both Ariana Gambrell and Hutchison are freshmen, and they loved getting their first taste of states.

"It was great, it was an experience you really can't get anywhere else," Hutchison said. "Just being here overall was amazing."

While the Wildcats were happy with how they ran, they know there is still room to get faster.

"Our handoffs were still a little weak," Ariana Gambrell said. "I just felt like I was running up on Rach. I feel like we could have been faster. But, what are you going to do at this point? We are still fifth in the state."

Breana Gambrell was happy to be a part of the relay.

"It's amazing, we have been working very hard," she said. "It's nice to see all the hard work pay off. "It's definitely very special, it's a memory you will never forget."

One thing that made this year special for the sophomore was having her sister on the relay with her.

"It was amazing having my sister right there next to me, sharing this experience," Breana Gambrell said. "It's something I will never forget. Most people never get that experience with their sister."

What excites the Wildcats is that they are all underclassmen.

"We have more people coming up and coming back so there will be a lot of us running," Baglini said.

Breana Gambrell also ran in the 100 meter semifinals, finishing sixth in her heat in 12.56.

In the triple jump, Breana Gambrell just missed the finals, by one spot, finishing 10th at 35-feet, 9 3/4-inches.

"Triple is still a work in progress," she said.

While she knows there is work to do, Gambrell is happy she improved on the event from last year.

"It's definitely nice to see the progress," she said. "Hard work is starting to slowly pay off."

Breana Gambrell now has four state medals in two years, including back-to-back long jump state titles. She has some big goals for the future.

"Hopefully I can break the long jump record in the future, that's my main focus," Gambrell said. "And, hopefully come back here next year with the relay, too."

Towanda's Ally Tama tied for ninth in the pole vault, going 10-feet, 6-inches.

"It was an awesome experience, I loved it, it was really fun," Tama said.

For Tama, the atmosphere of vaulting at states was something she had to get used to.

"It was pretty intense at first, once it got settled in it was pretty awesome," she said. "Definitely, I was really nervous. More nerves than have ever been for me for the pole vault."

While Tama just missed a medal, she was happy to get to states.

"It was so fun, I loved being here and being with my team and just having the experience," she said. "It was awesome."

And, Tama is hoping to get back next year.

"I am really excited for next year, I can't wait to come back," she said. "I think it will be a more settling experience."

Another Towanda athlete got her first taste of states on Saturday, as Jessica Tice finished 17th in the shot at 35-feet, 3/4-inches.

The Towanda sophomore wishes she had a better day.

"I wish I could have done better," she said.

However, Tice did improve on her seed of 34-feet, 5 1/4-inches in the event.

For Tice, throwing first thing in the morning, at 9 a.m., in front of a big crowd was a new experience.

"It's completely different, you don't have all day to prepare for it, you just have your morning really," she said.

Cantons' Randi Jennings ran in the 3200 on Saturday, finishing 21st in 12:01.33.

For Jennings, getting to states two straight years was special.

"It felt pretty good knowing I accomplished getting back," Jennings said.

The sophomore was more confident going into this year.

"I came in this year thinking I had a lot better chance than I did last year," Jennings said. "Because, last year I barely got in and this year I finished second (in districts) and got in."

Jennings was happy with the way she ran, but the heat had an impact on her.

"I feel like I did good, but this heat really killed," Jennings said. "It's a big change going from rain, to hot weather like this."

For Jennings, now the goal is to get back again next year.

"It motivates me knowing I accomplished this my freshman year and sophomore year," she said.

One District 4 athlete brought home a state gold on Saturday, and broke a state record in the process.

South Williamsport's Katie Jones won the pole vault at 13-feet.

Jones broke the old mark of 12-feet, 7-inches, set in 2010 by Allison Vanek of Wilson Area.


About the Author

Brian Fees Author Bio
Brian Fees

Brian Fees is the sports editor of the Daily & Sunday Review in Towanda, PA.