VCB, Ashmeade cop sprint titles
as Spencer lands 400m hurdles in fast time
VERONICA Campbell Brown made a successful return to the Jamaican track and Nickel Ashmeade won his first national 100m title on yesterday's second day of the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Championships at the National Stadium.
Campbell Brown, who was cleared of doping charges earlier this year, ran 10.96 seconds (-0.4m/s) to win the women's 100m final, beating Kerron Stewart, who clocked 11.02 seconds, and Schillonie Calvert, third with 11.16 seconds.
Afterwards, Campbell Brown said she has a lot of work to do to get her race fine-tuned.
Campbell Brown and Sherone Simpson, who is still fighting drug charges, were warmly greeted when they lined up for the semi-finals earlier. Simpson, however, failed to advance to the final.
Ashmeade, a 200m specialist, used his strength to get to the line ahead of Jason Livermore and Kemar Bailey-Cole.
Ashmeade ran 10.06 seconds (-1.5m/s), Livermore 10.11 seconds, and Bailey-Cole clocked 10.16 seconds after a bad start.
Kaliese Spencer continued her outstanding season, lowering her world-leading time with a fast 53.41 seconds to win the women's 400m hurdles, dragging former World Junior champion Janieve Russell (54.75 seconds) and Nikita Tracey (55.16 seconds) to personal best times.
Spencer, who now owns the three best times in the world so far this year, credited her improved hurdling to her fast times, while adding that former World Championships sprint hurdles champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton was helping her with her technique.
Roxroy Cato was all smiles after winning his first national title at any level after he produced a burst of speed over the last two hurdles to catch and beat the fast-starting Annsert Whyte to win in a new personal best 48.48 seconds, the second fastest time in the world this year.
Whyte produced his second sub-49-second time in 24 hours with a new personal best 48.58 seconds to take second, while former four-time champion Leford Green was third, equalling his personal best 49.00 seconds.
Former national champion Jovanee Jarrett rolled back the hands of time to win the women's long jump, beating two much younger competitors Chanice Porter and Claudette Allen.
Jarrett, who has been sidelined with injuries over the past two years, had a season's best 6.38m, while Porter, a second-year student at the University of Georgia, had a best jump of 6.25m, and Allen, a student at Edwin Allen High, jumped 6.09m.
Former Campion College Boys' Champs winner Damon McLean won the men's triple jump with 16.15m ahead of British-born Daniel Lewis' 16.04m, and Wayne Northover, who was third with 15.83m.
McLean, who now attends Princeton University in New Jersey, won the college section at the Penn Relays.
Newly crowned national record holder Kellion Knibb won the women's discus throw with 58.88m and was delighted with her effort. "It's around 60m, so that is good for me and close to my personal best (61.21m) that I threw not so long ago," she told the Jamaica Observer.
The former St Jago High athlete, who is coached at Florida State University by Jamaican Olympian Dorian Scott, said she has had a great season so far. "I can't complain. This has been a good season and I have been consistent throughout."
Danniel Thomas, the former Frome Technical and Edwin Allen athlete, was second with 55.02m and Tara-Sue Barnett was third with 51.56m.
University of Florida junior Hugh Graham Jnr ran 45.76 seconds to be the fastest qualifier for the men's 400m semi-finals, while Akheem Gauntlet also won his heat in 45.84 seconds, the only two under the 46-second mark.
Calabar High schoolboy Javon Francis, the fastest Jamaican man so far this year, admitted he has been struggling in training and was third in his heat in 46.40 seconds. He admitted to the Observer he had some issues with his hamstring.
He finished behind Ackeem Williams (46.34 seconds) and Miguel Barton (46.35 seconds).
Other top runners who also advanced were 2012 champion Dane Hyatt, Rushane McDonald, Allodin Fothergill, Omar Johnson, Edino Steel and Riker Hylton.