McLeod, Nugent headline US track andSunday, March 07, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
Jumper Carey McLeod and sprint hurdler Ackera Nugent headlined a number of Jamaicans who were this week recognised for their brilliance when they received post-indoor track and field season awards.
McLeod, the former Garvey Maceo and Kingston College athlete, was on Thursday named the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) South Region Indoor Men's Field Athlete of the Year for the second-consecutive year, while Nugent — the former Excelsior High standout — was named the Big12 Conference's Women's Outstanding Freshman of the Year.
Kent State's Gabrielle Bailey was also named the Mid-Atlantic Conference's Women's Most Outstanding Field Performer, while a number of others earned recognition.
McLeod set two University of Tennessee records in the long and triple jumps at the Southeastern Conference Indoor championships last weekend, both qualifying marks for the Olympics, earning 18 points for his team.
Both of his marks are among the top three in the world after he took the silver medal in the long jump with 8.25m, the 13th-best ever on the all-time collegiate indoor list; and then won the triple jump with 17.17m, 10th-best in US collegiate history, and is tops on the NCAA 2021 charts.
Nugent, a medallist at the Pan American Under 20 Championships in 2019 in Costa Rica, equalled the Under-20 world record for the 60m hurdles in the preliminaries of the Big12 indoor championships last weekend by running 7.91 seconds, also the programme record, before being edged in the final.
Baylor's Head Coach Todd Harbour was quoted on the Baylor track and field website as saying: “Ackera being a freshman, this is not unexpected, but she battled injury a little bit in the middle of the season and didn't run a couple meets. For her to have that kind of race at conference to finish off her indoor season to this point heading into the NCAA meet was awesome. It was a great performance for her and a prelude of things to come, I believe.”
Nugent is the third Baylor athlete to be named women's outstanding freshman of the year indoor and first since 2018, the site said.
She was saying: “You are what you repeatedly do every day. Excellence is not an act, but a habit. I really am honoured that I was chosen for Big12 Women's Outstanding Freshman of the Year.”
Bailey, the former Vere Technical athlete, won her first MAC indoor title when she threw an indoors best 16.84m to win the indoors, 12th in the country, and booked a spot in the NCAA Nationals next week.
Former Green Island High runner Kimone Hinds, who won the 60m title, was also named to the MAC first team.
Waseem Williams of Purdue University was included among the Big10 Conference Men's Indoor Track & Field Sportsmanship Honorees, while seven Jamaicans were listed on the Summit All League all-indoor team, including former Manchester High runner Danielle Thompson and former Alpha Academy athlete Rich-Ann Archer.
On the men's side, it was Brithon Senior, Demar Francis and Daniel Clarke, while new 800m record holder Ackeem Colley and his Western Illinois University teammate Richard Brown were also named.
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