Four Jamaicans were named regional athletes of the year as the National College Athletics Association (NCAA) indoor track and field season came to an end last weekend with the staging of the Division 1 championships at the Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Jumpers Jaydon Hibbert and Lamara Distin, who won their events, as well as Owayne Owens and Demisha Roswell were all recognised by the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Additionally, two other athletes who attended high school in Jamaica, St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Handal Roban of St Vincent were also listed.
Hibbert of the University of Arkansas, who broke the World Under-20 and Jamaican record on his way to winning the men’s triple jump with 17.56m, was named the Men’s South Central Region field events athlete of the year. His mark also broke the collegiate record and also equaled the second best mark on the absolute collegiate list, which takes into account marks that occurred both indoors and outdoors, according to the USTFCCCA website.
Distin of Texas A&M University was named the women’s South Central Region field events athlete of the year after she retained her indoor title and earlier had moved up to number three in NCAA history with her 1.97m clearance at the Tiger Paw Invitational in mid-February.
Owens of the University of Virginia was third in the men’s triple jump at the indoor national with a personal best 16.69m, and had jumped 16.59m on three different occasions this season with the first two coming in winning efforts.
Roswell of Texas Tech University, who was fifth in the 60m hurdles, was the women’s Mountain Region track athlete of the year, running 8.00 seconds or faster four times this season. The Big 12 Conference champion had also set a personal best and TTU program record 7.92 seconds in the prelims at the indoor nationals.
Alfred, who attended St Catherine High and competed at the ISSA Championships, set a number of records over the 60m, finishing with 6.94 seconds to win the 60 metres and 22.01 for the 200-metre crown, breaking both event’s collegiate records and moving to second on each event’s world all-time chart. The University of Texas senior lowered her personal best in the 60m six times in the season, from 7.05 seconds, and was the co-South Central Region’s women’s track athlete of the year with Arkansas’ Britton Wilson.
Roban, who was part of the Jamaica College all-conquering 4x800m team last year, was named the Mid-Atlantic Region men’s track athlete of the year after he was third in the 800m at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships in 1:47.28, just a few weeks after finishing runner-up at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
The Penn State freshman set a personal best of 1:47.01 at the Sykes-Sabok Challenge Cup in early February and clocked 1:16.91 over 600 metres at the Penn State National Open.