J'cans Nugent, Nelson to defend collegiate titles in Alabama
NUGENT...ranked number five with aseason's 7.90 seconds (Photos: Observer file)

Jamaicans Ackera Nugent of Baylor University and Kemba Nelson of the University of Oregon will defend their respective titles at the 2022 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships to be held at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama, March 11-12.

Both women, who are their school's record holders in their events, were named on the list of qualifiers for the two-day event on Tuesday, along with 30 other Jamaicans who finished in the top 16 in their respective events as the US college indoors season ended last weekend.

Fifteen Jamaican men will contest individual events, with two others making the trip as part of their schools' relay teams, while 13 women will contest individual events and two others will line up in the relays.

Nugent will defend her 60m hurdles title and Nelson her 60m crown while Olympian Carey McLeod of the University of Tennessee qualified in two events, the men's long jump and triple jump events.

Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University (TAMU), who leads the women's high jump with a Jamaican national indoor record 1.92m, is the only Jamaican who is ranked number one going into the event.

Nugent, the former Excelsior High runner, is ranked number five with a season's 7.90 seconds, while Nelson, formerly of Mt Alvernia High and the University of Technology, Jamaica, is sixth in her event with a season's best 7.15 seconds.

Distin has dominated the high jump this season and will seek to go one better than her second-place finish in the outdoors high jump last year.

Former Edwin Allen standout Kevona Davis of the University of Texas and former St Jago High runner Joanne Reid of the University of Arkansas will line up in the women's 200m.

Charokee Young of TAMU and Stacy-Ann Williams of the University of Texas are in the women's 400m and are also part of their respective 4x400m relay teams that have also qualified for the championships.

Three other women, along with Nugent, have qualified for the 60m hurdles as Daszay Freeman of the University of Arkansas, Demisha Rosewell of Texas Tech University and Rosealee Cooper of Mississippi State are also on the list of qualifiers.

Taishia Pryce of Kansas State and Leone Farquharson of Cornell University will contest the women's long jump while Ackelia Smith of the University of Texas will be part of the women's triple jump.

Garriel White will be part of the women's 4x400m team from Louisiana State University (LSU) and Kavia Francis will be part of the Baylor squad.

McLeod, who was third in the men's long jump at last year's indoor championships, will be joined by former Kingston College and current University of Tennessee teammate Wayne Pinnock while there will be five Jamaicans in the men's triple jump.

Owayne Owens of the University of Virginia, who retained his Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) title last week, is ranked fourth in the country and will be joined by Luke Brown of the University of Kentucky, Apalos Edwards of LSU and Big East champion Malik Cunningham of Villanova.

Davonte Burnett of USC who switched allegiance from the USA last year will contest the men's 60m, while Chevannie Hanson of TAMU and Wayne Lawrence of the University of Iowa will contest the men's 400m and are part of their respective 4x400m relay teams.

Vashaun Vascianna of Texas Tech, the Big 12 champion, leads the Jamaican men in the 60m hurdles where Phillip Lemonious of Arkansas and LaFranz Campbell of Clemson will also take part.

New University of South Florida record holder and AAC champion Romaine Beckford is the lone Jamaican qualifier in the high jump.

Daniel Cope of Clemson, who set the new Jamaican indoor men's weight throw record, earned his first qualification while Asani Hylton of Stephen F Austin will take part in the indoor pentathlon.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Farr of Arkansas and Tyrese Reid of Mississippi State will be part of their schools' 4x400m relay teams.

— Paul Reid

NELSON...ranked sixth in her eventwith a season's best 7.15 seconds

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