Lions track gears up for finish line


Haley Dupre'

Sophomore Cole Palmer setting a new personal best and placing sixth in the 60 meter hurdles at the LSU Purple Tiger Invitational. (Jan. 13, 2023)

The Birmingham-Southern College Indoor Icebreaker was the first competition of the indoor season for the Lions track and field team on Dec. 2. Starting off strong, Justin Forde jumped 15.54 meters to break the 47-year-old men’s indoor triple jump school record. A total of four additional athletes went on to win titles at the meet.

The Lions continued their season in January with the annual LSU Purple Tiger Meet. Senior Indya Jackson and graduate student Thomas Nedow won gold, and six other competitors made it to the podium.

“I come out to practice and I believe in the training program. I know that I have to make the coaches proud and I want to prove to myself that I’m the best out here. I also trust my coaches have the setup for me to go to nationals and I’ve been working hard,” Jackson stated. 

The team faced several obstacles throughout the season starting with a change in staff. Beginning the academic year, previous head coach Corey Mistretta stepped down and assistant coach Mike Rheams was named as head man of the track team. After losing assistant coach Brett Olsen, the team brought on new throws coach Charles Lenford.

Rheams said the athletes were able to overcome the adversity and were able to trust him. Even with the change in leadership, no athletes were lost to the transfer portal; a rarity for any collegiate sport in the year 2023. 

Through the hardships, the team continues to set personal and season bests across the board, including walking away from the Howie Ryan Invitational in Houston, Texas last Saturday with eight new medals and three new personal bests.

Rheams said he believes the men’s team is now in a position to win a conference championship as well as the women’s team who are primed to send more women to the national level meet than ever done in school history. 

“With so much this team has overcome, I’m so ready to take them to battle so we can go and win a championship,” Rheams said. 

The team continues to train and prepare for their last regular season meet this Friday Feb. 17, the LSU Twilight Meet, before competing in the Southland Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 26-27 back in Birmingham, Ala. 

SLU track will proceed in the Spring for the outdoor season. For additional information, check out to keep up with the Lion’s Track and Field indoor season.