Coach Vassell says NACAC team 'pretty strong'Sunday, July 04, 2021
Michael Vassell, who was named head coach of the Jamaican track and field team to the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under-18 and Under-23 Championships, is pleased with the quality of the team.
The NACAC championships will be held in Costa Rica, July 9-11, and a 56-member team was named by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) after last weekend's National Junior Championships.
Eleven US college students, including sprinter Davonte Burnett who will make his debut in Jamaican colours, as well as sprint hurdlers Dazsay Freeman and Ackera Nugent, high jumper Lamara Distin and 400m runner Charokee Young, have been named in the Under-23 team.
Former Calabar High star Christopher Taylor, who was named in the team to go to the Olympic Games later this month; discus thrower Kai Chang and Petersfield High schoolboy Antonio Watson were also included.
Vassell, who has led coaching staffs to regional meets in the past, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that “this team is pretty strong”.
“[The team] shows you the depth of the quality of the athletes that we have here,” he said.
Vassell said it was important that the Under-18 athletes get a taste of international competition with another World Athletics Under-20 championships and the Pan American Under-20 set for next year.
“The Under-23 [level] is crucial as well, as this is the transition from the juniors to the seniors and some of these athletes will be at the Olympics later this month so they will be looking for good performances as well,” noted the expreienced coach.
Alicke Cranston of St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) and Edwin Allen's Tina Clayton, who won the Under-18 boys' and girls' sprint double, respectively, at the JAAA National Championships last week, are also named in the team.
Under-18 (male) — Alicke Cranston, Bouwahjhie Nkrumie, Orlando Wint, Tahj Hamm, Delano Kennedy, Kemario Bygrave, Adrian Nethersole, Andre Harris, Shamer Blake, Roshawn Clarke, Oshane Blackwood, Aaron McKenzie, Brandon Pottinger, Jaydon Hibbert, Javar Thomas, Zachry Campbell, Kobe Lawrence, Ricardo Hayles.
Under-18 (fenale) —Tina Clayton, Serena Cole, Alana Reid, Dejanea Oakley, Rickiesha Simms, Kishay Rowe, Alexis James, Kerrica Hill, Alliah Baker, Lavanya Williams, Rasheda Samuels, Deijanae Bruce, Shemonique Hazle, Britannia Johnson, Brittanie Johnson, Cedricka Williams.
Under-23 (male) — Davonte Burnett, Sandrey Davidson, Antonio Watson, Jevaughn Powell, Javeir Brown, Christopher Taylor, Chevonne Hall, Tyrese Reid, Kevroy Venson, Orlando Bennett, Shakwon Coke, Courtney Lawrence, Kai Chang, Roje Stona, Leonardo Ledgister.
Under 23 (women) — Ashantie Moore, Gizelle Scarlett, Dazsay Freeman, Ackera Nugent, Shian Salmon, Lamara Distin, Charokee Young.
— Paul Reid
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