Jamaican Athletes compete at NCAA Track and Field Championships

Jamaican Collegians prepare for NCAA Championships

By Dania Bogle

With the national senior championships two weeks away Jamaican athletes will be on double duty this weekend at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in the USA as they aim for both national college titles and as well as to make the qualifying standards for this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

In Division I, the University of Arkansas’ Kemoy Campbell who was by far the most outstanding distance athlete of a generation while competing during his high school career in Jamaica and who posted a national record in California in April will be aiming to improve on his 13:45.85 in the 5000m.

University of Maryland’s Akeem Smith who posted a season’s best 13.71 at the regionals will contend with Keiron Stewart of University of Texas in the 110m hurdles. Stewart had times of 14.02 and a wind-aided 13.64 at regionals.

Dexter McKenzie of University of Nebraska will compete in both the 100m and 200m. McKenzie posted times of 10.52 and 21.03 at regionals. The 400m Akheem Gauntlett of U of Arkansas enters the 400m with a 46.14 posted at the west regionals.

Penn State’s Ricky West (1:48.84) will contend with Howard University’s Giovani Mowatt (1:50.80) in the men’s 800m.

Chad Wright of the University of Nebraska will aim for double titles in the shot put and discus after distances of 62-0 and 198-3.5 at regionals. Tarik Batchelor will go for double wins in the triple and long jump events.

Batchelor will face University of Alabama’s Kamal Fuller and Louisiana State’s Damar Forbes in the long jump while the triple jump will also feature Jamaicans Jonathan Reid of University of Alabama and Damon McLean of Princeton.

McLean leapt 50-0.5 at the East Regional championships two weeks ago.

On the women’s side Natoya Goule of Louisiana State University clocked 2:01.04 at the recent east regionals and will be aiming to lower that mark before she competes in the Jamaican trials in Kingston.

Jody Ann Muir of Mississippi State clocked a season’s best 52.02 seconds at the East Regionals in the 400m. Former high school star Nikita Tracey who now competes for LSU posted 57.53 in the 400m hurdles two weeks ago.  

In the field, Kellion Knibb of FSU (155-7.25) and Danniel Thomas of Kent State will both line up in the discus as well as the shot put.

Knibb had a distance of 47.6 and Thomas a season’s best 52-9.75 in the regional championships.

Jhanelle McLeod of Georgia Tech, Shaneika Thomas of San Diego State, and Kimsue Grant of Missouri State compete in both the triple and long jumps while Francine Simpson of the University of Kansas who leapt did 20- 0.05 in the western regionals competes in the long jump.

In the Division II Championships in Pueblo, Colorado Daniele Williams of Johnson C Smith was on triple duty competing the 100m hurdles, 100m, and 200m.

Williams posted season’s best in all three events in Pueblo three weeks ago. The Johnson C Smith star had times of 12.80 in the hurdles, 11.24 in the 100m and 22.62 in the 200m.

Yanique Haye of Lincoln State of Missouri clocked season’s best 57.61 in the 400m hurdles Colorado and the 400m with a time of 54.30.

On the men’s side in the 100m Taffawee Johnson of Saint Augustine’s University posted 10.28 and Romel Lewis of Lincoln University of Missouri 10.31.

Sabiel Anderson also of Lincoln posted a season’s best 13.66 in the 110m hurdles. Lewis clocked 51.67 and Ramon Cooper of Grand Canyon University in the 400m hurdles while Anderson had a  season’s best 49.49.

Johnson C Smith’s Akino Ming (46.26) and Winston Brown (47.04) both had season’s best times in the 400m.