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Calbert Guest
Calbert Guest finished first overall in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Sun Belt Championship.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Track and Field Earns Academic Awards

App State juniors Calbert Guest and Niejel Wilkins as well as the women’s track & field team earned United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic awards, the USTFCCCA announced on Thursday.

Guest and Wilkins were named All-Academic Athletes for their performances on the track and in the classroom this season. Both made appearances at the NCAA East Prelims after posting podium performances at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships.

Guest garnered gold in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal best of 8:54.06 at the SBC Outdoor Championships, which moved him to fourth in the App State all-time list. The Fort Collins, Colo. native finished 34th overall at the NCAA East Prelim with a time of 9:06.75. He also earned first-team All-SBC honors and Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Communicators this year.

Wilkins earned bronze in the men’s triple jump with a leap of 15.15m (49′ 8.5″) at the SBC Outdoor Championships, which earned him third-team all-conference honors and moved him to ninth in the App State all-time list. The Kinston, N.C. native ranked 45th on the NCAA East Prelim qualifying list and holds the Randy Marion Track & Field Facility men’s triple jump record.

The App State women’s team earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors for their academic efforts this season. Seniors Celia Agee, Madison Christy and Djamila Petersen, along with juniors Jasmine Donohue and Megan Plummer earned spots on the CSC Academic All-District team this year.

During the 2023 campaign, the Mountaineers saw their first NCAA Championship qualifier since 2005, a pair of All-SBC honorees, several records fall, and the opening of the new Randy Marion Track & Field Facility. Senior Jada Branch was the first Mountaineer to represent App State at the NCAA Championships since 2005, earning an All-American honorable mention with a 20th-place finish in the women’s triple jump (12.97m (42′ 6.75″). She punched her ticket to the championship with a 12th-place finish in the women’s triple jump at the NCAA East Prelim (13.09m (43′ 11.5″)). Branch earned first-team all-conference honors during the indoor season and third-team all-conference honors during the outdoor season in the women’s triple jump event. Fellow senior Mariah Atwater earned second-team All-SBC honors after earning silver in the women’s 400 meters with a personal best of 54.41 at the SBC Outdoor Championships, which kept her at second in the program all-time list. Atwater also set the program record for the indoor women’s 400 meters with a personal best of 55.24.

During the indoor season, seniors Jelonnie Smith, Branch, graduate student Hunter Robinson, and Atwater set the App State program record for the indoor 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:43.42 at the SBC Indoor Championships, which broke their previous record of 3:46.87, set at the VMI Winter Classic on Jan. 27-28. Freshman Addison Ollendick-Smith set a new program and meet record for the women’s indoor 600 meters with a time of 1:37.90 at the Mondo College Invite on Jan. 14.

To be eligible for the individual All-Academic award, athletes must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale and, for the outdoor season, have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. For multi-events, athletes must have ranked within the region’s top-48 for most of the season.

To be eligible for the team All-Academic award, teams must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for the year.