TWELVE Jamaican men will be in action today as the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division One track and field outdoors championships gets underway at the newly refurbished Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Thirty-three Jamaicans have qualified in individual events for the championships which were held at the University of Texas-Austin the last two years, as Hayward Field was refurbished at a cost of over US$270 million and will now host next year's World Athletics World Championships. The meet will be held over four days.
The format will see the men competing today and Friday while the women will compete Thursday and Saturday, but the decathlon for men will be held today and tomorrow while the heptathlon for the women will be held Friday and Saturday.
Five Jamaicans have qualified in two individual events for this weekend — Ackera Nugent of Baylor University in the women's 100m hurdles and 100m, Gabrielle Bailey of Kent State University in the shot put and discus throw, O'Brien Wasome of the University of Texas and Carey McLeod of the University of Tennessee in the men's long and triple jumps, and Clayton Brown of the University of Florida in the men's high and triple jumps.
Shanice Love of Florida State University, who was second in the women's discus throw in 2019 when the championships was last held, and Clemson's Roje Stona who was 13th in the men's discus are the Jamaicans who will return this weekend.
Jamaicans won three events in 2019, all on the female side, with Janeek Brown then of the University of Arkansas winning the 100m hurdles and placing fourth in the 200m; Jazmyn Fray of Texas A&M winning the women's 800m; and Shardia Lawrence of Kansas State University wining the women's triple jump.
On today's opening day there will be three Jamaicans in the two events of the 110m hurdles and triple jump as Phillip Lemonious of the University of Arkansas, Lafranz Campbell of Clemson University and Damion Thomas of Louisiana State University will contest the semi-final of the hurdles, while McLeod, Wasome and Jullane Walker of Kansas State will be in the final of the men's long jump.
Sean Bailey of the University of Texas-El Paso, the fastest Jamaican man in the 400m so far this year, and Wayne Lawrence Jr of the University of Iowa will contest the semi-final of the quarter-mile.
Leonardo Ledgister of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, who has already achieved the qualifying mark, will contest the semi-final of the men's 400m hurdles.
Kyle Mitchell of Liberty University will contest the men's shot put while Asani Hylton of Stephen F Austin will start the men's decathlon event.