Sierra Pesnell | Times Intern
Maggie Gilmore pursued track on a whim in sixth grade after participating in gymnastics as a child. Now a recent high school graduate and current signee with Louisiana Tech Track & Field, Gilmore has utilized her gymnastics background in the triple, long and high jump. After her first meet in middle school, Gilmore said she fell in love with the sport. She’s competed every year in track since then, with the exception of her freshman year after sustaining an ankle injury caused during basketball season, and junior year because of COVID-19 with school sports being suspended.
Gilmore represented St. Mary’s High School where she found a close team bond with other members. Her sophomore season a large group of St. Mary’s students attended the State meet, adding to their camaraderie. “I made a really good bond with them and so every meet was really fun,” Gilmore said. The first meet of the 2020 season, Gilmore made a personal record in her events. She recalled the excitement of her junior season and improved times.
Although it was a matter of weeks before Louisiana schools shut down, forcing athletes to retire their seasons early. Gilmore said track has acted as a stress reliever, so when COVID-19 hit it was a challenging adjustment. The cancellation of practices and meets didn’t stop her from training to maintain physical conditioning. She picked up running practice in her neighborhood until the local tracks opened up in mid-summer.
“It was really hard but I knew I needed to stay in shape,” Gilmore said. “I’d do sprints up and down the street.” Gilmore concluded her high school track career with accomplishments such as 2019, 2021 State Runner Up 1A for the high jump, 2021 State third place 1A triple jump and first place in long, high, and triple jump and discus at the 2021 District 3A meet. College track has been a goal for Gilmore, but didn’t she expect to receive a phone call from Tech’s Head Coach, Gary Stanley
After being presented an offer to compete on Tech’s track team from Stanley, Gilmore called her parents to share the news. Her parents, Eric and Jaime, shared Gilmore’s excitement and have been supportive since her decision. St. Mary’s track coach, Tommy Mathis, credited Gilmore’s family as outstanding. He said Gilmore’s parents, sister and grandparents were always attending for her track events. Gilmore’s father even helped with coaching and would assist the St. Mary’s track team at meets. Mathis describes Gilmore as special and wasn’t shocked when she received the offer from Tech
He said her performance at the district track meet is one of the reasons St. Mary’s won districts. Eric Gilmore said she is a trainable person and implements any advice given by her coaches. He said her background in gymnastics instilled a dedicated work ethic from an early age that she is able to transfer over to track. Tech provided the engineering opportunities that Gilmore was interested in pursuing. She looks forward to the first year of the program and learning what her strengths are in engineering.
Gilmore’s experience with balancing athletics and academics in elementary, middle and high school have given her an insight into the organization and work involved. She said she’ll focus on time management while she balances her biomedical engineer degree, track and joining a sorority this fall. Gilmore’s parents said they hope during her education and athletic career she finds her passion and what makes her happy.