Texas junior Ackelia Smith made history at the recently concluded NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships when she became the first Longhorn to ever sweep the horizontal jumps.

Smith first defended her title in the long-jump event on Thursday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon with a mark of 6.79 meters, becoming the first Texas woman to win back-to-back titles in 18 years.

Two days later, the 22-year-old won the triple-jump title with a season’s best mark of 14.52m. 

In an interview with CITIUS MAG after her win in the triple jump, Smith, who is now a three-time NCAA Champion, expressed her joy at winning the double.

“I am so happy that I could come out there and get both of them done for my team and for myself. I was a little mopey about the long jump but I got back to the triple definitely took it out there,” she said.

“When I got to the triple jump I just told myself ‘hey, we’re here to compete.’ I was trying to get a personal best and, even though I did not get that, I was pretty consistent with my jumps,” she added.

In the long jump competition, half of Smith’s six attempts were fouls and her three legal jumps were the winning 6.79m, 5.21m and 6.77m.

She had a much better and more consistent showing in the triple jump, producing four legal jumps that all cleared 14m.

Smith says the key in the triple jump was to embrace the nervousness a bit more.

“I re-evaluated what I did for the long jump and realized that I might’ve been a bit too comfortable so I went out there trying to be more anxious and keep that edge. That’s what pushed me through out there,” she said.

Smith is a part of a golden generation of young Jamaican jumpers and sees a bright future for the island nation in the discipline.

“Growing up I used to hear about Kimberly Williams then after Kimberly came Shanieka (Ricketts). I’ve been looking up to these ladies and it’s been great to see the Jamaican jumps growing, especially the triple because not many people do the triple,” she said.

“It’s good to see actual growth and I’ve seen a lot more Jamaicans competing here at the championships. I think it’s wonderful for the future. Even on the guys side, it definitely looks good for Jamaica in the jumps,” Smith added.

Her next goal is to make it onto Jamaica’s team to the Paris Olympics and, hopefully, find herself on the podium at those Games.

The Jamaican trials are set for June 27-30 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

 

 

 

 

The second day of the 2024 NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, Thursday proved to be a day of mixed fortunes for Caribbean athletes. While there were moments of triumph, disappointments also marked the day.

Leading the way for the Caribbean contingent was Jamaica’s Ackelia Smith, a junior at the University of Texas in Austin, who successfully defended her long jump title. Smith soared to a distance of 6.79m, fending off a strong challenge from the University of Florida’s Claire Bryant, who took silver with a leap of 6.74m. Stanford’s sophomore Alyssa Jones secured third place with a jump of 6.64m.

In the sprints, Louisiana State University (LSU) sophomore Brianna Lyston showcased her prowess in the 100m. Lyston, the reigning NCAA 60m champion, cruised to victory in her heat, clocking an impressive 10.99 seconds, the second-fastest time of the semifinals. Only Ole Miss's McKenzie Long was faster, winning her heat in 10.91 seconds. Unfortunately, Lyston's luck did not extend to the 200m, where she finished fifth in her heat with a time of 22.76 seconds, missing out on a spot in the final.

Similarly, Tennessee’s Joella Lloyd, Antigua's fastest woman, fell short of her own expectations in the 100m. Aiming to break the 11-second barrier, Lloyd clocked 11.19 seconds, the 11th fastest time in the semifinals, and thus did not advance to the final.

There was another setback 200m, where Texas' Dejanea Oakley failed to make it to the final. Oakley finished sixth in her heat with a time of 22.82 seconds.

On a brighter note, Jamaica’s Nickisha Pryce delivered a stellar performance in the 400m semifinals. The University of Arkansas senior, who recently etched her name into Jamaica’s track and field history with a personal best of 49.32 seconds, continued her impressive form by winning her semifinal heat in 49.87 seconds. This was the second-fastest time advancing to the final, bested only by her teammate Kaylyn Brown, who clocked 49.81 seconds. Notably, the University of Arkansas dominated this event with four women advancing to the finals.

Nickisha Pryce, the senior sprinter from the University of Arkansas, once again broke the 50-second barrier in the 400m, securing her place at the NCAA Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Pryce clocked 49.93 seconds at the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday, ensuring her spot at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from June 5-8.

Pryce, who recently ran an impressive 49.32 to become the second fastest Jamaican woman over 400m, continued to showcase her dominance in the event. Pryce was also a member of the Razorback 4x400m relay team that established a new championship record of 3:21.92 that also sees the team advancing to the finals in June.

Among the men, Shaemar Uter of Texas Tech also secured his place at the national championships with a solid time of 45.78 in the 400m.

In the sprints, Dejanea Oakley from the University of Texas at Austin ran 22.32 in the 200m to advance to the nationals. Her Texas teammate, Ackelia Smith, excelled in the triple jump with a 14.31m effort, ensuring her qualification.

Nebraska’s Rhianna Phipps joined the list of qualifiers in the triple jump, reaching 13.67m to secure her spot in the finals. Her performance reflects the depth of talent among Jamaican athletes in the field events.

In the 110m hurdles, Jerome Campbell of Northern Colorado ran an impressive 13.30 to book his place at the national championships. He will be joined by the 2023 NCAA champion, Phillip Lemonious, who qualified with a time of 13.43, adding to the formidable Jamaican contingent in the hurdles.

Texas A&M’s Abigail Martin also secured her place at the nationals in the women’s discus, throwing 56.11m to qualify.

Reigning champion Ackelia Smith will get an opportunity to defend her NCAA Division I Outdoor long jump title after securing her spot at this year’s championships at the NCAA West First Round in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Thursday.

Smith needed only one legal attempt to produce 6.86m (3.4 m/s) and advance to the NCAA Championships set for June 5-8 at Hayward Field in Oregon.

The 22-year-old Texas junior produced 6.88m to win the NCAA title last year.

On the track, reigning national champion Nickisha Pryce ran 50.31 to secure her spot in Saturday’s 400m quarterfinals.

The Arkansas senior became the second-fastest Jamaican ever in the distance when she ran 49.32 to win the SEC Outdoor title on May 11.

Jamaican San Diego State sophomore Shaquena Foote (51.35), Jamaican Arkansas junior Joanne Reid (52.54) and Guyanese Kansas junior Deshana Skeete (52.70) also made it through to the quarters.

A pair of Jamaican Texas standouts, sophomore Dejanea Oakley and senior Kevona Davis, advanced to the quarterfinals in the 200m.

Oakley, who recently won the SEC 200m title, ran 22.73 while Davis ran 22.97.

 

Jamaican Texas sophomore Dejanea Oakley claimed her maiden Big 12 Outdoor title with gold in the women’s 200m at the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

Oakley, who was the fastest qualifier from Thursday’s heats with 23.00, won comfortably on Saturday with a personal best 22.60, bettering her previous mark of 22.73 done at the Texas Invitational on April 26 this year.

TCU’s Iyana Gray was second in 22.81 while Texas’s Kenondra Davis was third in 22.82, just ahead of teammate Kevona Davis who ran 22.84 in fourth.

Kevon Davis went one better in the 100m with 11.32 to finish behind TCU’s Gray (11.24) and Texas Tech’s Rosemary Chukwuma (11.12).

Jamaican Baylor University senior Demar Francis was also a standout performer on Saturday.

First, he ran 45.44 to win the 400m title ahead of Oklahoma’s Richard Johnson (45.45) and Texas’s Logan Popelka (45.62) before returning to get third in the 200m final with a personal best 20.38.

Houston’s Shaun Maswanganyi won that race in 20.10 followed by Texas’s Nolton Shelvin (20.22).

Francis was also a part of Baylor’s 4x400m quartet who ran 3:03.49 to finish as runners-up to Texas Tech (3:03.09). Jamaican Shaemar Uter was a member of Texas Tech’s winning team.

Jamaican Houston senior Kelly-Ann Beckford ran 2:01.33 for second in the women’s 800m behind Oklahoma State’s Gabija Galvydyte (2:00.42). Texas’s Olivia Howell was third in 2:02.23.

The men’s 110m hurdles saw Bahamian Texas Tech sophomore Antoine Andrews run 13.63 for second behind Houston’s De’Vion Wilson who did 13.35 to take top spot. Texas Tech’s DeVontae Ford ran 13.67 in third.

In the field, Texas junior and Jamaican World Championship representative Ackelia Smith produced 13.92m to win the women’s triple jump ahead of Texas Tech’s Anne-Suzanna Fosther-Katta (13.62m) and Baylor’s Koi Johnson (13.44m).

Texas’s Trinidadian junior Kelsey Daniel produced 16.04m for silver in the men’s triple jump behind Oklahoma’s Brandon Green Jr who did 16.52m. Texas Tech’s Stacy Brown Jr jumped 15.78m for third.

At the end of proceedings, Texas were crowned champions of both the men’s and women’s categories.

Texas scored 134 points in the men’s section, 19 ahead of Texas Tech in second and 54 ahead of Iowa State in third.

The women were more dominant, securing 150 points compared to 98 from BYU and 96.5 from Texas Tech.

Texas junior Ackelia Smith produced an NCAA leading performance to take top spot on day one of the Texas Invitational at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on Friday.

The 22-year-old reigning NCAA champion produced a season’s best 7.10m, her first jump over 7m this season, to win ahead of Trinidadian Puma athlete Tyra Gittens (6.72m) and UTSA’s Ida Breigan (6.65m).

This is a welcome return to form for Smith who suffered a torn hamstring at the NCAA Indoor Championships in early March.

Smith was Jamaica’s national champion in the long jump in 2022 and was a finalist in both the long and triple jump at that year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Jamaican athletes Lamara Distin, Brianna Lyston, and Ackelia Smith continue to make waves on the NCAA track and field scene, securing their spots on the prestigious 2024 Bowerman Watch List. The latest edition of the list was unveiled on Wednesday, following the conclusion of the regional conference championships this past weekend.

The Bowerman Award, named after Oregon track and field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman, stands as the highest honor bestowed upon the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field. Administered by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the list showcases the most outstanding talents in the sport.

 Distin, hailing from Hanover, Jamaica, showcased her dominance at the SEC Indoor Championships by setting a collegiate record in the high jump, clearing an impressive 2.00m, which is also a national indoor record. This performance marked the first-ever two-metre jump indoors or outdoors in collegiate history. Undefeated in three meets this winter, Distin also notched a pair of clearances at 1.97m, solidifying her position with four of the top-11 collegiate indoor performances of all time. With nine career Watch List appearances, she stands as the active leader among women, eyeing a third-straight NCAA DI Indoor title.

Lyston, a talent from Portmore, Jamaica, has remained undefeated in three 60-metre finals this winter, delivering the year's two fastest performances. Running a swift 7.07 in January at the Razorback Invitational, she secured the No. 4 all-time collegiately spot. Lyston continued her stellar form with a 7.08 victory at the SEC Indoor on the same track. Additionally, she clocked an impressive 23.16 in her sole 200m event this year, earning her second appearance on the Watch List.

Smith, representing Clarendon, Jamaica, asserted her dominance in the long jump with ownership of the year's four best collegiate leaps. Her leading jump of 6.85m this winter showcases her undefeated streak in three meets. Holding a personal record of 6.88m from last year, Smith is a force to be reckoned with, securing her fifth career Watch List appearance. In the triple jump, where she ranks No. 3 all-time outdoors and No. 5 indoors, Smith continued her excellence with a fourth-place finish in the Big 12 Indoor at 13.37m. Her versatility extends to the 60m, where she boasts a personal record of 7.21, and she contributed a swift 53.25 leadoff split on the Longhorns' top 4×400 squad.

Joining these Jamaican sensations on the Bowerman Watch List are other outstanding athletes, including JaMeesia Ford – South Carolina, Jasmine Jones – Southern Carolina, Olivia Markezich – Notre Dame, Hannah Moll – Washington, Maia Ramsden – Harvard, Michaela Rose – LSU, and Parker Valby – Florida.

The anticipation for these remarkable athletes continues to grow, with the next women's Watch List scheduled for March 20. The Jamaican trio's stellar performances signal an exciting journey ahead in the world of collegiate track and field.

Texas Tech Jr Terrence Jones established a new Bahamian national record on the way to 200m gold at the Big 12 Indoor Championships at the TTU Sports Performance Center in Lubbock on Saturday.

Jones, 21, won in 20.21 ahead of Houston Senior Shaun Maswanganyi (20.41) and Jamaican Baylor Senior Demar Francis (20.60).

Jones also holds Bahamian records in the 60m (6.45) and 100m (9.91), alongside 2007 World Championship silver medallist Derrick Atkins.

The women’s 400m saw Jamaican Texas Sophomore Dejanea Oakley produce a personal best 51.75 to take gold ahead of Iowa State Sophomore Rachel Joseph (51.98) and Texas Senior Ziyah Holman (52.22).

Oakley completed an excellent individual meet with another personal best, 22.86, to take the runner-up spot in the 200m. TCU Junior Iyana Gray took gold in 22.71 while Texas Tech Senior Rosemary Chukwuma took bronze in 22.90.

The men’s 400m saw St. Lucian Kansas Junior Michael Joseph set a personal best and break his own national record to win gold in 45.46. Jamaican Texas Tech Sophomore Shaemar Uter ran 45.68 for silver while Baylor Junior Nathaniel Ezekiel took third in 45.73.

In the field, Jamaican Texas Junior Ackelia Smith was dominant in the women’s long jump, producing 6.74m to win comfortably ahead of Baylor Senior Alexis Brown (6.45m) and Texas freshman Aaliyah Foster (6.34m).

Texas Tech won the men’s team title by 60 points, finishing with 152 points. Oklahoma State (92), Texas (89), Kansas (81) and Iowa State (67.5) rounded out the top five.

On the women’s side, Texas won the title with 135 points while Texas Tech (104), Oklahoma State (103.5), BYU (71) and Baylor (44) rounded out the top five.

Three Jamaican female athletes have once again stamped their mark on the prestigious Bowerman Watch List for the week of February 7, 2024. Lamara Distin, Brianna Lyston, and Ackelia Smith have earned well-deserved spots on the coveted list, showcasing their exceptional prowess in the world of collegiate athletics.

The Bowerman Award, presented annually to the most outstanding NCAA male and female athletes in the USA, is a testament to the incredible talent and hard work displayed by these athletes. The recent announcement follows the historic achievement in 2023, where two Caribbean athletes, Jaydon Hibbert and Julien Alfred, claimed the coveted award for the first time ever.

Lyston's inclusion in the list is particularly noteworthy as she joins teammates Alia Armstrong and Michaela Rose, making LSU the eighth program to place at least three athletes on the same Women’s Watch List.

From Portmore, Jamaica, Lyston won the 60m dash at the Razorback Invitational in 7.07 becoming number four all-time on the collegiate list. She has also run 7.14 in a 60m prelim as well as 23.16 in the 200. Lyston is the 12th athlete in LSU women’s history to be named to the Watch List.

Distin, representing Texas A&M, returns to the Watch List after an impressive high jump clearance of 1.94m at the Ted Nelson Invitational. With a personal record of 1.97m indoors, Distin aims to secure her third consecutive NCAA DI Indoor crown, adding to her already illustrious career. Her PR of 1.97m indoors puts her number three all-time. This is her eighth career Watch List appearance.

Smith, hailing from Clarendon, Jamaica, has showcased her versatility by dominating the long jump event so far this season. With a series of impressive leaps, including a 6.85m victory at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic, Smith is making her mark as a force to be reckoned with in collegiate track and field.

Last year’s NCAA DI Outdoor long jump champion, Smith is number two all-time collegiately at 7.08m and also has chops in the triple jump – an event she hasn’t contested this year but rates No. 3 all-time outdoors 14.54m and No. 5 indoors (14.29m. This is her fourth career Watch List appearance.

 The next Bowerman Watch List will be announced on February 28.

Julien Alfred, Wayne Pinnock and Ackelia Smith all produced world-leading marks in their respective events on day one of the University of New Mexico Collegiate Classic at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Friday.

Alfred, the winner of the 2023 Bowerman Award and a silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham now training with Preeminence sports, produced a fast 22.16 to win the women’s 200m ahead of Tennessee’s Jacious Sears (22.57) and her training partner, Lanae-Tava Thomas (22.72).

Pinnock, who took silver at the World Championships in Budapest last year, produced 8.34m to take the win ahead of Isaac Grimes (7.74m) and Kelsey Daniel of Texas (7.63m).

The Arkansas Junior fouled his first attempt before producing his world-leading jump in the second round. The third round saw him leap out to 8.03m before passing on his final three jumps.

Reigning NCAA champion Ackelia Smith was equally dominant in the women’s equivalent producing 6.85m for victory. Stanford’s Alyssa Jones was second with 6.54m while Madisen Richards jumped 6.49m for third.

Smith had a very consistent card with distances of 6.61m, 6.44m, 6.76m, 6.85m and 6.70m in the first five rounds before passing on her sixth.

 

Nearly four weeks ago to the day, Jamaica’s Jaydon Hibbert became the youngest winner in the history of The Bowerman. Hibbert hoisted the iconic award at the conclusion of the 2023 USTFCCCA Convention at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center outside of Denver.

His path toward becoming the first repeat winner of collegiate track & field’s highest individual honour from either gender began Wednesday, as he headlines three Jamaicans that were unveiled on the Men’s Preseason Watch List.

Hibbert, who swept the NCAA triple jump crowns and shattered both the indoor and outdoor collegiate records as a freshman at Arkansas, was joined on the ten-man Watch List by Arkansas teammates high jumper Romaine Beckford and World Athletics Championships long jump silver medallist Wayne Pinnock.

Another 2023 finalist, Leo Neugebauer of Texas, 2023 semi-finalists Mykolas Alekna of California and Ky Robinson, as well as, Harvard teammates Graham Blanks and Kenneth Ikeji, Shaun Maswanganyi of Houston and Godson Oghenebrume of LSU, are also on the list.

The next Watch List on the men’s side will be released on February 8.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Jamaica’s long jumper Ackelia Smith of the University of Texas and high jumper Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University were named on the women’s side.

The Bowerman, which is presented to the best male and female track and field athletes in the US College circuit each year since it was inaugurated in 2009, will be awarded in December at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Jamaican jumpers Lamara Distin and Ackelia Smith are among those on The Bowerman Women’s Preseason Watch List in 2024, which was unveiled by the United States Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), on Tuesday.

Distin of Texas A&M and Smith of Texas are joined by three other athletes - the LSU pair of Alia Armstrong and Michaela Rose, as well as Roisin Willis of Stanford –who have been on the list at least once before, while the rest of the Women’s Preseason Watch List is completed by five first timers.

Addy Wiley of Huntington (Ind) is the first athlete – male or female – from an NAIA institution to be included on a Watch List for The Bowerman, and she is joined by other debutants Axelina Johansson of Nebraska, Olivia Markezich of Notre Dame, Stephanie Ratcliffe of Georgia and Parker Valby of Florida.

Distin, a prolific high jumper who hails from Hanover, has won three NCAA DI high jump titles – twice indoors in 2022 and 2023, and once outdoors in 2022. She has cleared 1.97m (6-5½) both indoors and outdoors, which has ranked her number three all-time indoors and number four all-time outdoors.

The 23-year-old's accolades also includes additional clearances at 1.96m (6-5) outdoors once for a share at the number six all-time performance, plus three times indoors, all equal to number 10 all-time indoor performance. This is the Commonwealth Games gold medallist's seventh career Watch List appearance.

Meanwhile, Smith, a long and triple jump specialist, who hails from Clarendon, won the 2023 NCAA DI Outdoor long jump title with the number two collegiate performance all-time at 7.08m (23-2¾). She registered another memorable performance in the same meet, when she placed second in the triple jump at 14.54m (47-8 ½), which positioned her at number two on the all-time collegiate list.

Indoors, the 21-year-old was second in the long jump and third in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships, and those performances moved her to number six and number five collegiately all-time, respectively. This is her third career Watch List appearance.

The next Watch List will be released on Wednesday, February 7.

The Bowerman 2024 will be awarded in December at the USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Shanieka Ricketts and Kimberly Williams advanced to the finals of the Women’s Triple Jump during the evening session of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday. However, Jamaica’s third entrant Ackelia Smith fell short of the qualification standard and did not make it into the final.

Meanwhile, Dominica’s Thea LaFond also advanced with a record-setting performance as well as three-time world champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela.

Ricketts, the two-time World Championships silver medalist produced a season’s best effort of 14.67m, which is the best mark heading into the finals. LaFond was not far behind with her mark of 14.62, a new national record. Williams, who has been struggling for form this season, also produced a season’s best 14.30m to make it into the finals.

Rojas, who is going for her fourth title, just did enough to qualify. The world record holder bounded to a mark of 14.59m with medal contender Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk also through with her qualifying effort of 14.55m.

The in-form Leyanis Perez Fernandez of Cuba, whose mark of 14.98m is the second best in the world this year, soared out to 14.50m to book her spot. Jasmine Moore (14.13m) and Tori Franklin (14.13m) are also through.

Ackelia Smith’s best jump of 13.95m was 17th best overall and so she misses out on the finals set for Friday.

Jamaica’s Ackelia Smith successfully made it through to the final of the women’s long jump on day one of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Saturday.

Smith, who came into the championships as the world leader with 7.08m, was in a spot of bother after fouling her first two jumps before producing 6.78m in the third and final round of the preliminaries to advance with the fourth furthest jump of the morning.

“I know I got a little bit close for the first one and the second one, I over-pushed but I’m really glad I got it down on my third attempt,” Smith said after the prelims.

The Texas star says she’s confident heading into the final.

“I’m pretty confident. I know my abilities. As long as I get it right, I should be up there so I’m not too worried.”

The qualifiers for tomorrow’s final were led by American champion Tara Davis-Woodhall (6.87m), Burkina Faso’s Marthe Koala (6.84m) and Italy’s Larissa Iapichino (6.73m).

Jamaica’s other competitor in the event, national champion Tissanna Hickling, produced a best distance of 6.29m to finish 30th overall.

The final is scheduled for Sunday at 9:55am Jamaica Time.

You can watch live coverage of the World Championships by downloading the SportsMax app.

Jamaican triple jump world leader, Jaydon Hibbert, and long jump world leader, Ackelia Smith, expressed excitement ahead of their Diamond League debuts in Monaco on Friday.

Hibbert will compete in triple jump while Smith will take part in the long jump.

“I’m really happy to be here in Monaco,” Hibbert said Thursday’s pre-meet press conference.

“I’m just super excited to see what the competition is like at this level and just to get my groove on and enjoy myself here,” he added.

Smith also offered similar sentiments before saying she was surprised to be invited to the press conference.

“It’s definitely an honor. As you can tell, my hands are a little shaky. It’s definitely been a great first experience,” she said.

“When I was on the plane, my coach said ‘you have a press conference’ and I thought he was talking to Julien (Alfred) because I did not expect to be here,” Smith added.

Both Hibbert and Smith are both in the midst of breakthrough seasons.

Hibbert, the reigning World U20 champion, in his freshman season at the University of Arkansas, won the SEC Indoor and Outdoor titles before winning both NCAA titles as well.

In the process, he broke both the NCAA collegiate Indoor and Outdoor records. He produced 17.54m, a world U20 record which was recently ratified, to win the NCAA Indoor title.

A couple months later, the 18-year-old jumped a massive 17.87m, the furthest jump in the world this year, to win the SEC Outdoor title. He also jumped 17.56m to take the NCAA Outdoor crown.

Earlier in July, Hibbert successfully defended his title at the JAAA/Puma National Senior Championships with 17.68m.

“With all these accomplishments, I’m really grateful. Especially as a teenager, not even yet in my prime. I just want to give God thanks and say I’m really excited to continue,” Hibbert said

On Friday, Hibbert will be lining up against the likes of Americans Will Claye and Christian Taylor as well as Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango, whose season’s best of 17.81m puts him second in the world this season behind Hibbert.

“It should be a great competition tomorrow. Everybody’s a star out there. I truly look up to everybody, especially when I was younger. My coach would always tell me to look at these guys and try to replicate what they do,” Hibbert said.

He mentioned Cuban-born Portuguese Olympic and World Champion, Pedro Pichardo, when asked which triple jumper inspires him.

“I like how humble he is and how technical he is in the phases,” Hibbert said.

Smith, a sophomore at the University of Texas has also enjoyed a career-best season.

The 21-year-old jumped a world-leading 7.08m to win the long jump title at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in May and followed that up with a 6.88m effort to claim her maiden NCAA Outdoor title.

She finished third at the recently concluded Jamaican Championships with a best jump of 6.66m.

Smith has also excelled in the triple jump this year. She jumped a personal best 14.54m to claim silver at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She was also runner-up at the Jamaican Championships with a 14.26m effort.

On Friday, she will be competing in a loaded field including the likes of Yulimar Rojas, Tara Davis-Woodhall and Ivana Vuleta, just to name a few.

Rojas is the current World and Olympic Champion and World Record holder in the triple jump. Davis-Woodhall is coming off a win at the US Championships and is currently second in the world behind Smith with 7.07m while Vuleta is a five-time Diamond League final winner, two-time World Indoor Champion and an Olympic bronze medallist.

 

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