Big Jamaican Contingent for NCAA Indoors

Twenty-Three (23) Jamaicans will converge in Fayetteville at the University of Arkansas to contest the NCAA Indoor Championships, which begins on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Led by triple jump favourite Carey McLeod and precocious hurdler Ackera Nugent, they will seek individual honours and team points in the climax to the collegiate indoor season. McLeod is favoured to extend a run of Jamaican successes in the triple.

NCAA IndoorChamps1The last two times the Meet was contested, O'Brien Wasome and Jordan Scott emerged as triple jump champions and McLeod, a student-athlete at the University of Tennessee, will head for Arkansas with the biggest jump of the season at 17.17 metres. That is 2 centimetres short of Clive Pullen's Jamaican record. The former Garvey Maceo and Kingston College jumper will have fellow Jamaican Owayne Owens of the University of Virginia as company.

Chengetayyi Mapaya of Texas Christian University and Zimbabwe is second on the collegiate performance list at 16.85 metres.

McLeod also goes into the long jump with the third best mark of the collegiate season at 8.25 metres.

Nugent swapped the green and gold of Excelsior High School for the green and gold of Baylor University and zoomed a world U20 record of 7.93 seconds in the 60 metre hurdles on February 26. To win the NCAA title, she will have to avenge a recent loss to American Chanel Brissett of Texas. 

The 18 year-old will have two familiar faces with her: Daszay Freeman, now at the University of Arkansas and Trishauna Hemmings, who is coached by Jamaican Lennox Graham at Clemson University. The men's event also has three Jamaicans, led by 2018 World U20 110 metre hurdles winner Damion Thomas of Louisiana State who is third fastest at 7.60 seconds. Also qualified are Freeman's teammate Phillip Lemonious and Brithton Senior of South Dakota.

The women's 400 metres could also bring some Jamaican joy. 2018 World U20 finalist Stacy-Ann Williams won the Big 12 title in a personal best time of 51.60 seconds for the University of Texas. The STETHS past student is number 3 on the collegiate list this season and Charokee Young is number 5 at 51.93 seconds. In addition, Young is a key member of a record breaking Texas A&M University 4x400 metres relay team.

A&M Jamaican Lamara Distin leads the ladies field entry with her qualification in the high jump and the Kansas State pair of Taishia Pryce and Rhianna Phipps go in the long jump and triple jump respectively.

Kemba Nelson of Oregon and University of Texas freshman Kevona Davis will contest the women's 60 metres. Davis and Hemmings vie for points in the 200 metres. On the men's side, Clemson's Atlantic Coast Conference winner Fabian Hewitt will attack the 60 metres.

If he is fit, Wayne Lawrence Junior of Iowa might a factor in the 400 metres. However, he stopped in a 4x400 metres relay race two weeks ago.

Ackeen Colley is the only Jamaican qualifier in an event longer than 400 metres. Colley, who now studies and trains at Western Illinois University, will go in the 800 metres.

The meet ends on March 13.


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