38 Jamaicans to compete in two NCAA indoor champs

Thirty-eight Jamaican athletes will compete in individual events over the next two days as the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) indoor season comes to a close this weekend with the staging of Division 1 and Division 2 indoor championships.

Twenty-eight athletes will compete in the Division 1 championships, which will be held at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the other 10 will be competing in the Division 2 championships to be held at the Virginia Beach Sports Complex in Virginia.

As many as three Jamaican national records could be set this weekend after former Excelsior High runner Demar Francis of Baylor University ran faster than the national 200m record, while both Navasky Anderson of Mississippi State University and Tarees Rhoden of Clemson University have run faster than the national 800m record.

Those times have not been ratified, however, it is expected that all the requirements will be in place this weekend.

Additionally, Lamara Distin, the national record holder in both women’s high jump, indoor and outdoor, could go higher this weekend.

The athletes, and those who are part of relay teams, qualified for the championships after finishing in the top 16 nationally in their respective events in the indoor season that started in December.

Three Jamaicans will contest two events in the Division 1 championships while one, former St Elizabeth Technical athlete Robin Black of Academy of Arts, will contest three events over the two days.

Carey McLeod of the University of Arkansas qualified in the Division 1 men’s long and triple jumps, same as Akelia Smith of the University of Texas on the women’s side, while Kevona Davis, also of the University of Texas will contest the women’s 60m and 200m events.

Black will contest the men’s 60m, 200m and 60m hurdles in the Division 2 championships.

Francis of Baylor University is the only Jamaican man in Division 1 200m. JeVaughn Powell of the University of Florida will contest the men’s 400m, while Anderson and Rhoden are down for the 800m.

Brithon Senior, who transferred to the University of Nebraska, will hope to make his final national indoor final in the 60m hurdles, while Romaine Beckford of the University of South Florida will contest the men’s high jump.

Seven Jamaican men will be in the horizontal jumps as Wayne Pinnock of Arkansas and Nikaoli Williams of the University of Oklahoma will join McLeod in the long jump.

NCAA leader, freshman Jaydon Hibbert of Arkansas, leads the triple jump that will also see Apalos Edwards of LSU, Luke Brown of the University of Kentucky, Owayne Owens of the University of Virginia and McLeod.

Roje Stona of Arkansas and Warren Barrett will compete in the men’s shot put.

On the women’s side, Kiara Grant of Clemson University and Davis will contest the 60m, while the Arkansas pair of Joanne Reid and Nickisha Price will contest the 400m and Kelly-Ann Beckford of the University of Houston will take part in the 800m.

Ackera Nugent, who won an indoor 60m hurdles title while attending Baylor, will try to win another wearing the Arkansas uniform and she will be joined by Demisha Roswell of Texas Tech and Rosealee Cooper of Mississippi State.

Distin, who is the defending champion in the women’s high jump will be joined Daniella Anglin of the University of South Dakota; Nia Robinson of South Florida will compete in her first NCAA indoors when she joins Smith in the long jump and Marie Forbes of Clemson will take part in the women’s weight throw.

In the Division 2 championships, Kewani Campbell of Lincoln University in Missouri will contest the 800m, Rashane Bartlett, also of Lincoln, will join Black in the men’s 60m hurdles.

Shemar Miller of Benedict qualified in the men’s triple jump, while on the female side, Shenese Walker of Lincoln is in the 400m along with Shadae Findley of Angelo State.

Three Jamaican women will contest the women’s 60m hurdles – Patreese Clarke of New Mexico Highlands, Shanette Allison of Lincoln, and Roxan Foster of Minnesota State while Maricia Spence of Angelo State will contest the pentathlon.

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