Bahamians turn in strong performances in athletics

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) outdoor track and field season is still in its early stages but Bahamian athletes are already turning in strong performances as they look to make up for a canceled season in 2020.

Bahamian professional track athlete Devynne Charlton was back on the track in action at the Weems Baskin Relays Track and Field Invitational in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday. She ran unattached and won the women’s 100 meters (m) hurdles in 13.12 seconds. It was a huge improvement from her preliminaries run of 13.31 seconds.

The University of Kentucky Wildcats’ Masai Russell was second when she posted a time of 13.14 seconds. Finishing third was the University of South Carolina Gamecocks’ Destinee Rocker who recorded a time of 13.16 seconds.

Also at that meet was Bahamian Megan Moss, a freshman for the Wildcats. She ran the 200m, 400m, 4x300m and the 4x400m relay races. Moss was brilliant in her maiden 400m outdoor race for the Wildcats as she came away with the gold medal. The freshman crossed the finish line in 52.94 seconds.

The up-and-coming quarter-miler was able to hold off Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers’ Jermaisha Arnold who ran 53.30 seconds. The Gamecock’s Alysia Johnson had the third fastest time on Saturday when she clocked 53.42 seconds.

It was victory for the Wildcats in the 4x300m relay as Moss along with Faith Ross, Darci Khan and Shadajah Ballard clocked 2:35.17. Moss ran the anchor leg. Finishing behind them was the East Carolina University Pirates in 2:37.21. Settling for third place was the Gamecocks as they were able to record a time of 2:39.22.

Moss and her teammates Dajour Miles, Celera Barnes and Russell had to settle for second in the 4x400m relay. The quartet ran a time of 3:33.69. Moss ran the third leg and posted a time of 52.48 seconds. The Gamecocks won that event in 3:31.28 as they led from the first leg. Third place was secured by the Coppin State University Eagles.

In the 200m, Moss finished eighth overall with a time of 24.19 seconds. Winning that race was Adidas’ Wadeline Jonathas in 22.91 seconds. Barnes was second after finishing the race in 23.36 seconds. Finishing third was South Wesleyan University’s Jami Wright as she went on to clock 23.58 seconds.

Bahamian high jumper Jyles Etienne was also in the winners’ circle over the weekend as he won the high jump event for the Indiana University Hoosiers at the Big Ten Invite #1 Meet hosted at the Robert C. Haugh Complex in Bloomington, Indiana, on Friday. Etienne was the only jumper to clear 1.99m (6’ 6-1/4”). He came into the meet with a seed height of 2.23m (7’ 3-3/4”).

Etienne finished ahead of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes’ Zack Pluff who cleared 1.95m (6’ 4-3/4”). Third place was secured by the University of Illinois Fighting Illini’s Alex Babbington who cleared the same height as Pluff.

Running at that meet was Bahamian Samson Colebrooke. The Purdue University Boilermakers’ senior sprinter pulled away from the field to clock 20.73 seconds. Finishing second was the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers’ Kion Benjamin as he clocked 21.08 seconds. It was the Hawkeyes’ Jamal Britt who recorded 21.22 seconds to place third.

Colebrooke was also in action again in the 4x100m relay. He and teammates Malcolm Dotson, Justin Becker and Marcellus Moore posted the winning time of 39.57 seconds. The Hawkeyes clocked 39.85 seconds to place second. Third place was secured by the Fighting Illini in 40.27 seconds.

Shaun Miller Jr. was brilliant in his first NCAA Division I outdoor meet for the Ohio State University Buckeyes, clearing 2.08m (6’ 9-3/4”) on his second attempt to win the high jump event at the Maryland Invitational in College Park, Maryland. Finishing second was the University of Maryland Terrapins’ Kaithon McDonald who was able to jump 2.03m (6’ 8”). Penn State University Nittany Lions’ Noah Swaby cleared 1.98m (6’ 6”) to finish third.

Over at the Texas Relays at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, Bahamian Donovan Storr and the Southeastern Louisiana Lions 4x400m relay team tied their 12-year-old school record, turning in the second-fastest time in the preliminaries but they did not compete in the final. The team of Storr, James Benson II, Johnathon Sawyer and Agerian Jackson ran 3:06.79.

Storr was set to run the 400m dash but false started.

The Bahamas was well-represented at the Oral Roberts Invitational in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday and Saturday. Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles’ Sasha Wells carried over her dominance from the indoor season as she won the 100m hurdles and 200m races. She won the 200m race in 24.02 seconds with a wind speed of 4.4 meters per second (mps). Finishing second place was the University of Kansas Jayhawks’ Ahmya McKeithan who crossed the finish line in 24.22 seconds. Wells’ teammate Gabrielle Gibson, a Bahamian, was third after recording a time of 24.34 seconds.

In the 100m hurdles, Wells clocked 13.45 seconds to pick up the victory. South Dakota State University Jackrabbits’ Jaymie O’Connor managed to finish second when she posted a time of 13.80 seconds. Gibson was third once again when she clocked 13.84 seconds. Indea Cartwright, another Bahamian and Golden Eagles athlete, was fourth after she posted 13.98 seconds.

There was a trio of Bahamians on the Golden Eagles women’s 4x100m relay team and they came away with the victory in 46.03 seconds. Wells, Gibson and Bahamian Kayvon Stubbs along with Victoria Neville made up the gold medal winning team. The Jackrabbits finished with a time of 47.03 seconds to place second. The Golden Eagles ‘B’ team was third with a time of 47.94 seconds.

Gibson, Wells and Stubbs were also a part of the 4x400m team that placed third. Tay’Maro Powell was the other member of the Golden Eagles quartet that finished the race in 3:51.12 seconds. The Jayhawks were the victors in this relay as they clocked 3:46. The Tulsa University Golden Hurricane won the silver with a time of 3:49.43.

Action continues for Bahamian college athletes this Easter holiday weekend as the outdoor track and field season heats up.