Jamaica’s Kemba Nelson has designs on being in Tokyo for the Olympic Games this summer and based on what she has done so far at the University of Oregon she believes she has a good shot at it.

The Jamaica-born duo of Stacey-Ann Williams and Charokee Young finished first and second for their respective universities in the women’s 400m at the Texas vs Texas A&M Dual track meet on Saturday.

Williams, the former ST Elizabeth Technical athlete, now competing for Texas, crossed the line first in a time of 51.24, comfortably ahead of Young who finished in 51.52 for Texas A&M.  Syaira Richardson, also of Texas A&M was third in 52.17.

In the women’s 100m, former Edwin Allen star Kevona Davis clocked 11.35 but had to settle for second place behind Texas teammate Kynnedy Flannel who took the top spot in 11.23.  Texas A&M’s Kaylah Robinson was third in 11.69.

At the same event, O’Brien Wasome, formerly of Jamaica College, took the top spot in the men’s triple jump.  Competing for Texas, Wasome recorded a distance of 15.83m, comfortably ahead of CJ Stevenson who was second with 15.19, and teammate Stacy Brown Jr who was third with 14.65m.

In the women’s high jump, the day belonged to Trinidad and Tobago jumper Tyra Gittens who leapt 1.90m to claim the top spot for Texas A&M.  Texas’ Marlene Guerrero was second with 1.73 and her teammate Trinity Tomlinson third with the same height.

Damion Thomas and Sparkle McKnight were winners on Saturday’s final day of the 93rd Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Janeek Brown, the 2019 NCAA 100m hurdles champion, has joined MVP International at the Florida base camp, the club announced today.

Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens wants to wrap up qualification for the Olympic heptathlon as soon as the outdoor season begins, but if she doesn’t, she is confident that there are other ways for her to get to Tokyo.

Hydel track coach Corey Bennett has expressed pride in being involved in the development of an ambitious and "hard-working” Charokee Young.

The former Jamaican high-school star was a key member of Texas A&M’s record-breaking 4x400m relay team that set new standards at the Tyson Invitational in Arkansas last Saturday.

The 20-year-old Young ran a third-leg split of 51.12 as Texas A&M set an all-time collegiate record of 3:26.27.

The incredible time makes them the fourth-fastest women’s 4x400m relay team and is the ninth-fastest in history.

In addition to being a season-best run, the time broke the meet record of 3:27.94 set by Texas in 2016 as well as the facility record of 3:27.66 set by Texas in 2003.

Texas was more than six-seconds behind in second place with their season-best time of 3:32.64. Florida State University also ran a season-best of 3:34.02 for third.

The team of Young, Athing Mu, the U20 indoor 400m world record holder; Syaira Richardson and Jania Martin, will now go down in history as one of the greatest ever in school history. Only Mu’s split of 50.27 was faster than Young’s as Martin opened with 53.04. Richardson, who handed over to the Jamaican, split 51.86 on the second leg.

“3.26 indoor is such a special run, even outdoors, it’s a great run and to have the second-fastest split of 51.1 on such a special team. It’s really a blessing to see that you had something to do with her development,’ said Bennett.

“She is in an excellent programme at Texas A&M and I am so happy that we actually chose that school for her.”

Bennett believes her experience at Hydel has prepared Young for what she has been accomplishing since she enrolled at Texas A&M.

“She is going well. She is improving every weekend. She was also part of several record-breaking Hydel teams at the Penn Relays so she is used to being on several good 4x400m teams,” he said.

Young has thrived at Texas A&M ever since she arrived there two seasons ago after winning the finals of the 800m at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in Kingston in March 2019.

The then Hydel star clocked 2:06.02 to win gold ahead of the talented duo of Shaquena Foote and Abigail Schaaffe, who were second and third, respectively.

In her first season at A&M, she ran 2:05.80 over 800m indoors. She subsequently dropped down to the 400m and so far this season has run a personal best 51.93 on February 6.

Bennett said while he was disappointed that she has dropped the 800m he sees where it has been beneficial to Young’s development.

“It’s paying off and I am sure that her coaches and her handlers right now are preparing her looking at getting her ready for trials this year. She will do well at trials as long as she remains healthy,” Bennett said while revealing Young’s ultimate ambition.

“Charokee will achieve through hard work and she is not afraid to work hard to achieve what she wants. She wants to make an Olympic team or World Champs team and she will stop at nothing (to achieve her goal).

 

 

 

In the wake of setting two new national indoor records on the weekend, Antigua’s Joella Lloyd believes her hard work off the track has been paying off on it.

Jamaica’s Kemba Nelson, a junior at the University of Oregon won the 60m dash at the Tyson Invitational held at the Randal Tyson Track Centre in Fayetteville, Arkansas earlier this evening.

Joella Lloyd won the 60m dash and was third over 200m at the Doc Hale Virginia Tech Elite meeting held at Rector Field House in Blacksburg, Virginia on the weekend.

Natoya Goule picked up another win on the indoor circuit this season when she sped to victory on the 800m at the Clemson Bob Pollock Invitational on Saturday.

If this is to be the final season of Clemson University’s men’s track and field and cross-country, then Head Coach Mark Elliott intends to make it one for the ages as he launches the seemingly improbable task of making the school change its mind.

Elliott, who joined Clemson in 2013 after 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University, was caught off guard when the Division I school announced the unthinkable late last week.

Athletics Director Dan Radakovich delivered the devastating news last Thursday, November 5. In a letter posted on the university’s website, he wrote:

“After consultation and communication with President Clements and the Board of Trustees, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue sponsorship of the men’s track and field program effective June 2021. The program includes indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country.

After a long period of deliberative discussion and analysis we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field program is in the best long-term interests of Clemson Athletics. While this decision comes during the significant financial challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, those challenges are just one of many factors that led to this decision. We will continue to honor all student-athlete scholarships and provide them with support as they work towards earning their degrees. “

He said the school would also honour the contracts of the six coaches employed by the school, which basically means until the end of the 20/21 season.

The athletic director said several factors contributed to the decision including, but not limited to: competitive balance, gender equity and Title IX compliance, financial positioning, impact on diversity among student-athletes and staff, and local and national  interest and participation in the sport.

“The annual $2-million plus in savings will be reinvested into other athletic department initiatives, including our remaining Olympic sports and will help to provide additional financial stability moving forward. The Department of Athletics has already undertaken several significant measures to address a projected resource shortfall of $25 million this fiscal year,” he rationalized.

Elliott told Sportsmax.TV he was stunned by the news.

“It came as a big surprise. I had no knowledge. I found out about an hour and a half after the student-athletes were told by the athletic director,” he said. “They (student-athletes) were caught off guard and they’re still trying to process it, just like we are.”

Jamaica currently has about five or six male athletes on scholarship at Clemson among them Fabian Hewitt, LaFrenz Campbell, Rayon Holmes, Zico Campbell and Rojae Stona. Of the five, three – Hewitt, Campbell and Holmes - are due to graduate this academic year but they will still have college eligibility.

What this means is that if any of them were planning to continue to pursue further college competition and eventually transition to the professional ranks, they will likely consider transfers to other schools. Elliott reveals that if that turns out to be the case, then he will do everything to help them find new schools.

“They would have to seek alternatives and I and the coaches would help them along that path,” Elliott said.

Besides the athletes, at least 50 per cent of the athletics coaching staff that includes Lennox Graham, are likely to lose their jobs as under NCAA rules, the number coaches a school can employ depends on whether the number of programmes they have.

“It affects everyone, three of us or six of us could be gone,” Elliott said while explaining why for him the situation is so regrettable.

“Track and field is what got me to where I am today. My parents could not afford to send me to college so I got a scholarship just like these young men,” he said.

“It hurts on many levels. This is my livelihood too but I don’t view it as that alone. It is an opportunity to give opportunity to those like myself. It does hurt.”

It is why he say wants this coming season to be one of Clemson’s best ever.

“The focus is on the student-athletes to be able to be competitive. That is where the focus is right now. Life offers you challenges. How you respond is what makes the difference. We will try to get them to reconsider," he said. 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican coaches Mark Elliott and Lennox Graham are in limbo after Clemson University announced today that it will discontinue its men’s track and field and cross country program at the conclusion of the 2020-21 athletic season.

Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich made the announcement this afternoon saying that the programmes to be discontinued include indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Radakovich said the university will honour the contracts of the coaches through to their full term, which means that the coaches will be paid up until June 2021.

Clemson Athletics will also honour the scholarships of all impacted student-athletes through their undergraduate years at the level of financial aid that they are presently receiving, the statement said.

The NCAA-maximum number of allowable scholarships for men’s track is 12. Clemson’s 12 scholarships are presently split among 26 student-athletes, 15 of whom are scheduled to graduate by August 2021.

Clemson also supports an additional 25 walk-on student-athletes in the program.

“This difficult decision is a result of an exhaustive examination of our athletics department over the past several  months,” said Radakovich. “After careful analysis, we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field  program is in the best long-term interest of Clemson Athletics. This decision impacts incredible student-athletes,  and we know how hard they work and the effort and pride they take in representing Clemson University.”

Head Coach Mark Elliott’s phone went unanswered when Sportsmax.TV called today. He took the Clemson head coaching position in 2013 after spending 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University.

Notably, Jamaican Olympian and 800m national record holder, Natoya Goule, who won an NCAA title under Elliott’s watch, followed him to Clemson that year.

Assistant Coach Lennox Graham (hurdles and long sprints) joined the coaching staff in 2017 after spending a decade at Johnson C Smith University where he enjoyed tremendous success guiding 27 athletes to NCAA Division II championships titles, both indoors and outdoors.

In a brief comment to Sportsmax.TV, he said he just heard the news prior to being called and that he was still processing it.

Graham’s professional club, TRS, currently trains at Clemson. Danielle Williams, the 2015 World 100m champion, Kyron McMaster, the Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion and World Championship 400m hurdles finalist Leah Nugent are all members of the club.

Men’s track and field has been sponsored at Clemson since 1953, claiming 23 combined ACC Team Championships, 16 individual NCAA champions, 22 Olympians and four Olympic Gold Medalists.

Kevin Nedrick is to return to court on September 22 on a rape charge. Police arrested him on Tuesday and charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, following allegations that he raped a woman in her campus apartment on Monday night.

Petersfield High School track coach Machel Woolery is in a state of shock at the news of the arrest of Kevin Nedrick in Minnesota on rape charges.

Caribbean student-athletes and coaches are breathing a collective a sigh of relief following the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to rescind a policy directive that would have forced them to leave the country if their universities moved their classes online because of the Covid19 pandemic.

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