Four western Ja athletes make debut at NCAA DIV One champsThursday, June 10, 2021
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Four former Western Champs stars will hope their first trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division One outdoor championships will be a good one as they seek honours in the four-day event being held at University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, that ends on Saturday.
Former Mt Alvernia High star Kemba Nelson will represent University of Oregon in the women's 100m where she is a medal favourite; Owayne Owens of University of Virginia will hope to emulate his indoor success when he was a finalist in the men's triple jump; Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University will hope to continue her rise in the high jump, while Asani Hylton of Stephen F Austin University will tackle the gruelling decathlon that will be held over two days.
They are among 33 Jamaicans who have qualified in individual events after the east and west regionals held two weeks ago.
The four-day championships started yesterday with Hylton, formerly of Godfrey Stewart High, and Rhodes Hall trying to improve on his 7,536 personal best score that he achieved while winning the event at the prestigious Texas Relays in March.
Nelson is one of the surprises of the season, winning the indoor 60m title and ran a personal best 10.98 seconds in the 100m at the West Regional, making her one to watch for the medals.
The semi-final will be run today, with the final set for Saturday's final day of competition.
Owens, formerly of Cornwall College, was sixth at the indoor national in March and is expected to be in the final tomorrow.
He won the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) double, taking the indoor and outdoor titles and should be in the top eight this weekend, especially if he is able to beat his personal best 16.45m.
Distin will hope to cap the season with another big jump as she is ranked joint third in the country with a best of 1.89m and could go higher come Saturday.
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