DISTIN'S 2ND BEST
Minor placings highlight Jamaica's performances at NCAA Div 1 ChampionshipsMonday, June 14, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
A personal best 1.90m clearance in the high jump by Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University (TAMU) for second place and third-place finishes by hurdlers Ackera Nugent of Baylor University and Andrenette Knight of the University of Virginia highlighted the performances by Jamaicans on Saturday's final day of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division One outdoor track and field championships at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Thirty-three Jamaicans representing 21 universities qualified in individual events for the four-day championships, with another six being part of relay teams.
The men competed Wednesday and Friday while the women were in action Thursday and Saturday, with All-American designations going to individuals and relay teams that ended in the top eight and second team All-American accolades for those who finished between ninth and 16th.
Distin, who was a finalist at the World Under-20 in Tampere, Finland, in 2018 and a medallist at the Pan-American Juniors a year later, had her best outing ever in a NCAA competition as she needed just one attempt on her first six clearances.
The 2019 ISSA Champs Class One high and triple jump champion failed at 1.93m, which would have equalled the Jamaican national record, but she is the joint third-best Jamaican of all times behind record holder Sheree Francis-Ruff (1.93m) and Kimberly Williamson (1.91m).
The former Rusea's High, Vere Technical and Hydel High athlete also moved up one spot on the TAMU performance list to joint third of all time.
Nugent, who like sprinter Kemba Nelson, was trying to add outdoor titles to indoor titles they had won earlier in the year, finished third in the 100m hurdles running 12.84 seconds (0.4m/s) as the University of Southern California's Anna Cockrell won the first of what would be two hurdles titles on the day.
Cockrell also won the 400m hurdles event where Knight, the former Vere Technical and St Jago runner, took third place in 55.81 seconds — her best finish in three trips to the nationals.
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champion and East Preliminary leader had run a personal best 55.75 seconds to win the ACC title.
Kemba Nelson, who was involved in a botched baton change earlier in the day that saw the University of Oregon team being disqualified, finished fourth in the 100m in a wind-aided 10.90 seconds (2.2m/s).
Nugent ended a gruelling week in which she ran three times in a 90-minute span on both days and was ninth in the 100m in 11.37 seconds as North Carolina A&T's Cambrea Sturgis won in 10.74 seconds, the fastest time under any conditions ever in the NCAA.
Twanisha Terry of University of Southern California, who was tipped to win, was second in 10.79 seconds.
Shanice Love of Florida State University, who was second two years ago, was fourth in the discus throw with 58.50m while Gabrielle Bailey of Kent State was sixth with 57.73m, her second-best throw ever.
Earlier in the week Bailey finished 15th in the shot put with a best mark of 16.71m.
In the 400m Charokee Young of TAMU was fifth in 51.13 seconds and Stacey Ann Williams of the University of Texas, who was tipped for a top-three place, was sixth in 51.34 seconds.
Kevona Davis of the University of Texas ran 22.78 seconds (0.2m/s) for eighth place in the 200m, her fastest outdoor time in college, while Rhianna Phipps was 17th in the triple jump with a best of 13.14m (1.2m/s).
In the relays Young had a big second leg for the TAMU team that won in a championships record three minutes 22.34 seconds, the fastest an NCAA women's mile relay team has run this year and also the fastest time ever run at Hayward field.
Williams anchored the Texas team to fifth place.
In the 4x100m Shiann Hyde was part of the Florida State team that finished fourth, Davis was on the Texas team that was fifth, while Nugent ran on the Baylor team that was eighth.
On Friday night when the men's finals were held, Phillip Lemonious of the University of Arkansas ran a personal best 13.39 seconds (-0.6m/s) to finish third in the 110m hurdles while Clayton Brown ended his college career with two fifth-place finishes.
Lemonious, the former Jamaica College and Barton County runner, was lowering his personal best for the fifth-straight race and is just .07 seconds off the Olympic qualifying standard.
Alabama's Robert Dunning, who ran 13.25 seconds, was an upset winner after Jamaica's World Under-20 champion Damion Thomas had a poor start and never recovered, finishing eighth in 13.76 seconds.
Brown earned two All-American first-team honours in the men's high jump and the triple jump as the former Jamaica College athlete competed in both events simultaneously and improved on his performances from two years ago, the last time the championships were held.
He achieved a personal best 16.56m (-0.4m/s) in the triple jump on his only legal attempt, while Carey McLeod of the University of Tennessee was seventh with 16.40m (1.6m/s) and O'Brien Wasome of the University of Texas, who was also completing his college career, was eighth with 16.35m (1.0m/s).
Jordan Scott of the University of Southern California, second place two years ago, failed to make it to the final, finishing in 12th position with a best of 15.95m (-0.5m/s), three places ahead of Owayne Owens of the University of Virginia with 15.77m (0.6m/s), while Safin Wills of Texas Tech was 22nd with 15.54m (0.3m/s).
Florida's Brown cleared 2.20m in the high jump and had a clean card, that is he needed just one jump on this first three heights, before failing at 2.23m.
Former St Jago High thrower Roje Stona of Clemson University threw a personal best 61.94m to place second in the discus throw that was won by Arizona State's Turner Washington who captured the double after winning the shot put earlier.
Leonardo Ledgister of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the former St Elizabeth Technical runner, was sixth in the 400m hurdles in 49.28 seconds.
He was well-placed up to the final barrier in third place but lost his rhythm and ended up sixth as Louisiana State's Sean Burrell won with a personal best and college-leading 47.85 seconds.
In the relays, another former Jamaica College runner Delano Dunkley ran the third leg on the University of Georgia 4x100m team that was second in 38.54 seconds behind Louisiana State's college-leading 38.48 seconds.
Wayne Lawrence Jr ran the anchor leg of the 4x400m relay for the University of Iowa team that finished fifth, while Chantz Sawyers was part of the University of Florida team that was seventh.
On Thursday, former Excelsior High athlete Nayoka Clunis of the University of Tennessee was eighth in the women's hammer throw with a personal best 67.40m.
Her mark was the second-best ever at Tennessee and she was the third woman from the school to earn All American honours in the hammer.
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