Influential Paladin: Gabbi Jennings

Written by Kristen Janes, Staff Writer

Gabbi Jennings came to Furman as the most decorated distance runner in Louisiana’s history, but that did not make her transition to college life any easier. From a struggling freshman to a team leader, Jennings credits her success to her second family of teammates.  

“I am privileged to go out on runs with my teammates and suffer alongside them in workouts and races.”

Now a senior and three-time Southern Conference Cross Country Champion, Jennings looks forward with hope. Her first indoor meets of the season have produced record-breaking times. Jennings and teammates of the #GirlGang set a new Furman record for the women’s medley relay at the Vanderbilt Invitational in January, and as a lone runner in the Carolina Challenge she placed first in the mile, breaking her own previously held record. Her time of 4:40.51 ranks first in the Southern Conference and ninth in the NCAA. The record breaking performance earned her SoCon Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Week. 

The very next weekend at the Camel City Invitational she broke her own record again, taking two seconds off of her best mile time and the school record, coming in at a 4:37.97. The newest time places her in the top five times in the nation for female collegiate runners. Jennings placed fifth in the heat of professionals and showed, yet again, that she’s getting ready for her professional debut this coming summer. 

After a second-place finish in the 3,000K Steeplechase at NACAC Championships for the United States, Jennings has developed a professional resume worthy of an Olympic Showing. She will compete under the Furman name this coming summer in the 2020 Olympic trials, In the 3,000K Steeplechase, and looks towards the 2024 Olympics as a professional competitor. 

“The 2024 Olympics would be more realistic for me to aim for a team USA uniform. However, I’m not counting myself out yet this summer.”

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