Jamaicans win seven titles at 'Power Five' indoor championshipsSunday, February 28, 2021
Jamaican athletes won an impressive seven titles in US "Power Five" college indoor championships up to press time on yesterday's final day of the respective championships.
Owayne Owens of University of Virginia and Carey McLeod of University of Tennessee won the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and South-eastern Conference (SEC) championships men's triple jump titles, both with personal best marks; Fabian Hewitt and Trishauna Hemmings both of Clemson University won ACC titles; World Under-20 champion Damion Thomas of Louisiana State won his first SEC indoors 60m hurdles title, while Abigail Schaaffe of University of Minnesota won the Big10 600m.
Kevona Davis of the University of Texas picked up two second place finishes in the 60m and 200m, both in personal best times to end her first indoor season on a high.
After a slow start to the season Davis, the former Edwin Allen star, ran 7.25 seconds in the 60m annd 22.87 seconds in the 200m, losing both times to teammate Kynnedy Flannel.
The 'Power Five' conferences are the ACC's and SEC's Big 10, Big12 and Pac12, and are the richest and most powerful of the American college system, comprising most of the prominent institutions.
Only four of the five had championships this weekend, however, after the Pac12 opted not to have one out of concern for the novel coronavirus pandemic, a number of others joined.
Despite yesterday's heroics, the biggest upset came in the Big12 women's 60m hurdles final, where red-hot favourite and newly minted joint World Under-20 record holder Jamaican Ackera Nugent was beaten to the line in the final held at Texas Tech University.
Nugent, the former Excelsior High School runner and who is in her first year at Baylor University, had run 7.91 seconds in Friday's preliminaries, equalling the Under-20 World Record held by American Grace Starks since last year.
Yesterday Nugent came up just short of the title with 7.98 seconds, as the University of Texas's Chanel Brissett won with 7.89 seconds, taking the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) lead from the Jamaican, while setting a personal best and meet record in the process.
Another Jamaican Gabriel McDonald of Texas Tech was fifth with 8.31 seconds.
McLeod, the former Kingston College captain, became the greatest horizontal jumper in the history of the University of Tennesse with school records, as he won the triple jump with 17.17m and was second in the long jump with 8.25m, both also Olympic qualifying marks.
Yesterday, Carey set a championships record in the triple jump with compatriot Ryan Brown of University of Arkansas placing eighth with 15.73m.
On Friday night, he improved on his own school record, with the 13th best collegiate jump of all time in the long jump, as he was beaten by Louisiana State University's (LSU) JuVaughn Harrison's meet record 8.33m.
Brown was third with his personal best 8.12m, which took him past Jamaican Alain Bailey into fifth on the Arkansas all-time list.
— Paul Reid
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