Alexis ‘AP’ Panisse made her debut in international track and field competition and proved that she is a “Golden Child”, when she participated in the 2012 Junior Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in El Salvador June 29-July 1, 2012. She represented the Dominican Republic, the country of her roots, in four events (800m, 1500m, 5000m, and the 4x400 relays) and ran away with two gold medals.
The multiple-awards-winning AP, as she is more affectionately called, is a graduate of New York City’s Benjamin Cardozo High School Class of 2012 and a University of Tennessee-bound student athlete. She is the 2012 recipient of New York City’s prestigious Wingate Award for Track and Field and became the first athlete in the history of the awards to sweep all three categories (Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor Track). She was also the first athlete (male or female) from New York City to qualify and participate in the Foot Locker Nationals.
According to Coach Ray James, who accompanied Panisse to the championships in El Salvador, Panisse got out to a shaky start in the 800 and place fourth overall in 2:08.38 behind winner Jamaica’s Desreen Montague (2:06.43). He said Panisse was intimidated by the 94º temperature, mainly because she has never trained or competed in such high temperature, and by the high caliber of the talented athletes in the race.
Coach Ray said, after that race he and Panisse “devise a strategy on how she should run her remaining two individual races” (the 1500m and the 5000m), which was for her to use the weather condition and her training to her advantage. At the start of both races Panisse ran out to a big lead of about 100 – 150 meters and relaxed into a rhythm, when the other athletes in race saw that she was not tiring, they tried to catch up with her, and expended a lot of energy in the process. With the mercury at such a high level, the temperature took a toll on their efforts.
Strategy Worked Twice
Panisse further made it highly improbable for them to catch her; as soon as they got within striking distance of some 50 meters, she pulled away again. The strategy worked perfectly in the 1500m; Panisse won in 4:36.38, 20 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Angelina Figueroa of Puerto Rico, who clocked 4:56.16.
Panisse, the diminutive middle distance track phenomenon, whom many in the New York City track and field community believe is the greatest high school female middle distance runner to emerge in the city, then dominated a super talented field in the 5000m. She won in 17:55.67, this time defeating her second place rival from French-speaking Guadeloupe, Misheley Gonzalez-Marin, (19:50.81) by more than 2:00 minutes.
In the 4x400 Panisse brought the crowd to frenzy, as she ran an inspired race, when she made what has now become her “patented” run. After getting the baton far behind the leader in sixth position, she took on the field and tried to bring her team back into medal contention, finishing with a 57:23secs split.
She was schedule to participate in the just concluded 2012 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Barcelona, Spain but withdrew because of a clash in schedule with her transition to the University of Tennessee.