College stars go for glory at NCAA Division 1 Champs tomorrow
SEVERAL Jamaica athletes at colleges in the United States will be going for glory when the four-day National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division 1 Championships get under way at the Mike A Myers Stadium in Austin , Texas, tomorrow.
Thirty-five Jamaicans will be involved in individual events with four hunting indoor-outdoor doubles.
Jumpers Carey McLeod, Jaydon Hibbert and Romaine Beckford and Lamara Distin are the four athletes seeking the double.
McLeod, a former Kingston College (KC) jumper who now represents the University of Arkansas, has a season’s best of 8.14 metres in the long jump but he must pass his teammate Wayne Pinnock who is also a former KC jumper. Pinnock, who is also the defending champion in the event, is the leading collegiate athlete with a personal best 8.37m. He is ranked number two on the World Top list and is the only collegiate athlete to top 8.0m this year.
Hibbert, another former KC athlete at Arkansas, looks a cinch for the men’s triple jump title. The indoor record holder in the event with 17.54m is also the outdoor record holder with his best of 17.87m. That distance by young Hibbert is the leading mark in the world this year and he is just behind the national senior record of 17.92m held by James Beckford.
Former Petersfield High jumper Romaine Beckford, who competes for the University of South Florida, will also be hoping to close out the double but will have to improve on his season’s best of 2.24 metres which ranks him at number four.
The outstanding Distin will be hoping to extend her winning feat in the event. The Texas A&M senior is the defending outdoor and indoor high jump champion. The Commonwealth Games champion has a season’s best of 1.95m.
Ten males will be in action on tomorrow’s opening day, five will be involved in field events finals with the other five to contest semifinals on the track. The females will bow into action on Thursday.
Pinnock, McLeod and former Calabar High jumper Jordan Turner of the University of Kentucky will contest the long jump final at 8 p.m.
The other final on the day, the men’s shot put at 8:10 p.m., will see former St Jago High thrower Roje Stona and former Petersfield High representative,Courtney Lawrence in action. Stona, competing for the University of Arkansas, has a season’s best 19.89m and Lawrence of Kennesaw State University has a best of 19.57m.
Former Jamaica College sprint hurdler Phillip Lemonious will take the track in the 110m hurdles semifinals for the University of Arkansas at 7:32 p.m.
At 8 p.m. Shemar Chambers (46.89) and Jevaughn Powell (46.68) will be in action in the 400m semifinals. Chambers will represent North Carolina A and T University while Powell will compete for the University of Florida.
Both Tarees Rhoden and Navasky Anderson will be in action in the semis of the men’s 800 metres at 8:14 p.m. Rhoden, a former KC student, will represent Clemson University while Powell, an Edwin Allen High past student, will compete for the University of Florida.