UMES track star London-bound
Princess Anne, Md. -- (July 10, 2012) -- Sprinter Lenora Guion-Firmin, a rising senior on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's track team, will have one heckuva story about her summer vacation to share when she returns to campus this fall.
Guion-Firmin, who is from Martinque, a French overseas territory in the Caribbean, qualified for France's 2012 team that will compete in the London Olympic games that begin July 27. She is a member of the French 4x400-meter relay team.
She earned a silver medal July 1 in the 4x400-meter relay in the 2012 European Athletics Championships. Running the event's second leg, Guion-Firmin helped her teammates finish with a time of 3:25.49 behind Ukraine (3:25.07) and earned her nation its best finish in the women's track competiton held in Helsinki, Finland.
"This is such a privilege for (Guion-Firmin) to represent her country," UMES head coach Ernest Barrett said. "It is every track athletes dream to run in the Olympic Games."
Guion-Firmin represented UMES in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in June. Her 52.65-second time in the 400-meter dash earned her NCAA first-team All-American honors. She is the only female athlete in UMES history to receive All-American recognition in indoor and outdoor track.
An exercise science major, Guion-Firmin is a star in the classroom as well. She finished her junior year at UMES with a 4.0 grade point average, which qualified her as an All-Academic Honoree by the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association.
This past season, she produced a personal best time -- and school record -- of 52.20 seconds in the 400-meter event during a Princeton, N.J. meet in mid-May. Guion-Firmin also holds the UMES record of 23.49 seconds in the 200-meter dash. In the outdoor track season she ran a team's best 12.07-second time in the 100-meter dash.
Guion-Firmin finished first or second in eight events during the 2012 collegiate outdoor track season, including the NCAA Championships. She had four first-place finishes, two in the 400-meter dash and one in the 100 and 200-meter events.
"Her points alone helped elevate UMES into the top 60 track and field programs in the country," Barrett said.
Her Olympic teammates in the 4x400-meter relay are: Phara Anacharsis, Marie Gayot and Floria Guei. Guion-Firmin is making her first appearance for the French team.
Preliminary heats will be run Aug. 10 -- three days after Guion-Firmin's 21st birthday -- and the medal race will be held the following day, Aug. 11, according to the official London Olympics' website.
Bonne chance, Lenora!
Information for this report was provided by the UMES athletics department. Photo by Cheryl Treworgy