Ornella Livingston, a sprinter on the indoor and outdoor track teams, has been catching the eye of observers from across the nation lately. The senior sports management major from St. Ann, Jamaica, is one of the many reasons why the Lady Falcons have stayed out front of all competition in NCAA Division II.
Saint Augustine’s University sat atop the Division II Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field rankings for the fourth straight week according the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) rankings released April 26.
It is difficult to pick out stars with so many exceptional athletes on the track and field team but Livingston certainly is a stand-out. She was awarded Most Valuable Player at the recent sports banquet for the women’s indoor track team and was nominated in April for Division II HERO of the week, a national honor.
Livingston has been ranked Top 10 in numerous events in track and field by the USTFCCCA. She is part of the nation’s top-ranked Division II women’s 4×400 relay along with three sophomores – Ade Hunter od Philadelphia, Leah Barker of St. Michaels, Barbados, and Tia-Adana Belle of St. George, Barbados. Competing against Division I schools, the relay team finished sixth in the event in the Penn Relays college division with a time of 3:43.34.
During Florida Relays in March, Livingston recorded her fastest time ever in the 100-meter dash, 11.43 seconds (the world record time of 10.49 seconds was set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988).
Livingston said about her recent accomplishments: “There is no greater feeling.” But she said they are the result of hard work.
“I was not surprised about the time I ran [at the Florid Relays] because I was working really hard leading up to this meet and my coach had told me that I could run a PR [personal record] so I was confident,” she explained. He added: “Being nominated for D2 track and field HERO athlete of the week was great accomplishment for my hard work on the track. I felt appreciated with a recognition like that. It has definitely motivated me to work harder.”
Success is nothing new to Livingston. “I started to run track at a tender age but my passion for the sport was aroused when I started to compete in high school,” she recalled. “At that time there was a lot of expectations on me from my coaches, teammates and supporters of my high school, Holmwood High School. My contribution to the team helped for us to retain the Girls high School championship title.”
Team success is also important to Livingston. “I keep my teammates motivated by telling them to come to practice everyday and make sure that they’re doing abs,” she said. “I also make sure that they complete the workout and work on what they need to improve on to get better for the next meet.”
Livingston hopes to follow in the footsteps of other Falcons who have made it to the Olympics.
“The Olympic Games is the peak of track and field and an opportunity to represent your country at the highest level, so yes I’m definitely eyeing the Olympic this year,” she said. “I know this will take hard work and sacrifice but I’m quite confident I have enough ammunition.”
— Charles Gilchrist