A weekend for the ages for Gambrell.

By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | May 28, 2017

 

Over the first two years of her track and field career, there weren't many things that Athens' Breana Gambrell hadn't accomplished.

Still, it was hard to envision a better weekend than Gambrell had at states this year.

The Athens junior won the long jump on Friday night.

As it turns out, that was just the appetizer for what was to come on Saturday.

On Saturday, Gambrell won her first state title in the triple jump, finishing with a distance of 38-feet, 8 3/4-inches, a foot and a half better than anyone else in the field.

The Athens' junior did one of the rarest feats for any athlete, bringing home two state titles in the same year.

"It's amazing. I didn't expect this, especially after missing the finals the past two years and then to come and win this, it's crazy," Gambrell said.

This is Gambrell's first medal in the event, and it was a gold.

"I wasn't expecting to win it all, but I'll take it."

Gambrell also brought home a second-place finish in the 100 with a time of 12.10. The winner was Thelma Davies, the defending state champion and record holder.

"I carried the momentum from that into the triple jump quite well," Gambrell said.

Having someone like Davies to compete with just made Gambrell go faster.

"I love having that competition. I love running with Davies, she's such a great runner. I'm glad she pushes me."

Gambrell never imagined she'd have a year with three top two finishes in the state.

"It's crazy just to see how far I have progressed through the years."

Athens coach Ben Gambrell, Breana's father, was proud of everything his daughter accomplished.

"That's a rare feat. I am proud of her," he said. "She worked hard to get that. That was her main focus and goal this year was to be able to compete in the second day, because in the past years, she kind of petered out because she got tired."

Throughout her career, Breana has drawn comparisons to her big brother Jarred, a state record holder in the triple jump, and she knows it's been a fun little rivalry.

"I love having this little competition with my brother. Having him here to support me is great, too," Gambrell said.

And, with seven state medals and a year to go, Gambrell is closing in on the eight medals that Jarred earned in his career.

"I can check that off next year, hopefully," Gambrell said.

As Gambrell showed she's at a level few in state history have ever reached, her brother was there in the stands to watch.

"Everyone compares her to Jarred and with him here watching, we are just so proud of everything she accomplished," Ben Gambrell said.

It really was a family affair at states with Ariana Gambrell running in the 4x400 relay and the rest of Breana's family in the stands.

"They always have my back. I love them to death," Breana said. "Benny will be up on the team next year, Ariana is on the team, they are not only my teammates, they are my family. I am thankful to have them, and my dad is the coach."

In her career, Gambrell has accomplished more than nearly any athlete in the area's history, but even she won't soon forget this weekend.

"It's definitely a year to remember. I am so happy, I'm speechless," Gambrell said.

Next year there are still some more goals as Gambrell looks to defend her titles, and also break the state records in the events.

"I am going to try and get them (the records) next year. They are on the top of my list."

With all her success, Gambrell knows her college options will continue to grow.

"Hopefully it opens up the door more and I get more eyes on me," she said.

With Jarred going through the recruiting process when he signed with Michigan State, Breana knows that her family can help her to be ready for what's to come.

"They know what they are doing. They can help me along so I'm not overwhelmed," she said.

 

About the Author

Brian Fees Author Bio
Brian Fees

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