NCAA Championships runner-up, Roje Stona, is looking forward to participating in his first IAAF World Championships set for August 19-27 in Budapest.

The Jamaican Arkansas standout is currently sixth on the world rankings this year with a best throw of 68.64m done to win at the SEC Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge in May.

He enters Budapest as one of Jamaica’s biggest medal contenders in the field events.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a good competition. I’ve trained for the last couple weeks after the National Trials. I’m used to the extended season so it’s just for me to go out there and compete for a medal,” Stona said.

Those National Trials saw Stona throw 65.92m to finish second behind Traves Smikle’s 66.12m. 2019 World Championships silver medalist Fedrick Dacres threw 65.79m to complete Jamaica’s team for Budapest.

“It was a good experience. I was happy with the result in terms of finishing top three and getting a solid mark over 65m,” Stona said.

These performances mark a steady improvement for Jamaica in the event. Stona (6th), Dacres (7th) and Smikle (9th) are all in the top 10 in the world this year in the event. Stona’s best performance this season was his aforementioned 68.64m effort at the SEC Championships. Dacres threw 68.57m to win at the Tucson Elite Classic in Arizona in May while Smikle threw a personal best 68.14m at the King of the Ring event at the Excelsior High School on February 11.

“I’m glad to see that there’s a lot of improvement in the event in the country. I’m looking forward to competing with the guys,” Stona said.

At major championships, throwers will get up to three throws in the preliminaries but Stona is hoping he only needs one to achieve the automatic qualifying distance to the final which is 66.00m.

“If you make it to these competitions you are guaranteed three throws so, obviously, I’m going to try to make sure that I qualify from round one to not put myself under any pressure,” he said.

Action can be seen live on the SportsMax app.

Former Kingston College stalwart Wayne Pinnock successfully defended his national long jump title with a massive leap of 8.32 metres in what was a fierce contest at the National Senior Championships at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Pinnock, 22, who has been in superb form this season, was just off his seasons and personal best of 8.37m. The Arkansas University athlete achieved the winning jump on his second attempt in a negative 0.4 metres per second wind reading.

That lead made things interesting, as it followed the 8.27m registered by 2019 World Championships gold medallist, Tajay Gayle, who had to settle for second place. Carey McLeod rounded off the top three spots, cutting the sand at 8.20m.

Meanwhile, Traves Smikle was crowned the men’s discus champion, following his fifth-round effort of 66.12 metres.

The event which took shape in terms of its competitive at the backend, saw Roje Stona finished second with an effort of 65.92m, which at one point, placed him in pole position. 

Five-time national champion and World Championships silver medallist, Fedrick Dacres, had to settle for third as his best effort was measured at 65.79 metres, well short of his personal best of 70.78m.

Fedrick Dacres is never one that lacks motivation or energy which are both emotional and mental responses some professional athletes display in times of difficulties. If you ask him, he would readily tell you that it's through his numerous battles with injuries that he discovered the fighter inside him is even greater.

The lengthy and difficult recovery process from those injury setbacks over the last few seasons, brought Dacres's stubborn determination to the fore and helped the national men’s discus throw record holder, gain new perspective on a sport he fell in love with from the junior level.

"I've had a few years where I had to deal with injuries before so at this point, it (being injured or feeling a niggle) is like clockwork, so I've never majored in the minor so to speak. As an athlete, if you pay attention to the days when you get up feeling a little pain you will feel discouraged," Dacres told SportsMax.tv.

"So, it is just about taking it a day at a time and just looking to the future. Right now, I can move, once I can move that means I can do the work and once I can do the work then the performance will come and I will get better, so it's just one step at a time," he added.

The 29-year-old's revelation came, as he shared that though a bit sore, he is currently in the best shape of his life with his mind firmly set on making Jamaica's team to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary scheduled for August 19-27.

To get there, Dacres, who achieved the national record of 70.78m in 2019, will first have to navigate the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Championships, where he is expecting fierce competition from a number of the country's rising prospects.

In fact, it is United States-based college senior Roje Stona that is currently the top-ranked Jamaican man with 68.64m, for sixth place on the World Championships ranking system, just ahead of Dacres, whose lone throw of the season, 68.57m, is seventh.

Traves Smikle is in ninth place with 68.14m, with the likes of Brandon Lloyd who threw 65.32m this year, Olympic finalist Chad Wright, Kai Chang, as well as Ralford Mullings, also showing great promise, which should make this event one of great entertainment value at the four-day Championships, scheduled to start on Thursday at the National Stadium.

Still, Dacres is no strangers to tough competition, having had success at both the Commonwealth Games and World Championships where he won gold and silver in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and he is no doubt aiming to put himself into medal contention in Budapest, next month.

"I think this will be the best National Championships in a while with good competition, so I can't complain. I'm feeling great, my preparation has been a bit slow based on a small groin injury, but it hasn't really stopped me. I just take it a step at a time, so just pacing myself and getting better for the trials and hopefully World Championships," he declared.

Throughout the conversation Dacres's body language and a wry smile every now and again, exuded immense confidence, which he said comes from the fact that he has recovered well and has also glimpsed a few of his national rivals in competition. 

"The confidence comes from preparation time because as I said, I am feeling good so I can't complain, I went and competed overseas and I also saw my competitors, so I guess that's why I am oozing confidence. So again, I feel good, I am doing what I am supposed to and, all in all, it’s just about keeping it up and executing on the day," he ended.

Terrence Jones and Kion Benjamin both booked their spots in the semi-finals of the Men’s 100m at the 2023 NCAA Championships scheduled for June 7-10 at the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Texas.

The pair advanced from the quarterfinals held on day three of the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento on Friday.

Jones, the Bahamian Texas Tech junior, produced a time of 9.93, just .2 seconds slower than his personal best and national record-equaling 9.91 done earlier this season, to advance to the semis second-fastest from the West region. The 20-year-old also ran 20.21 to advance in the 200m.

Benjamin, the Trinidadian Minnesota Junior and reigning Big 10 100m champion, set a new personal best of 10.11 to advance. His countryman and Minnesota teammate, Carlon Hosten, ran 20.49 to advance in the 200m.

In the 400m, St. Lucian Kansas Junior Michael Joseph, advanced with 45.23

Jamaican Arkansas Junior Phillip Lemonious ran 13.45 to progress in the 110m hurdles. Joining him in Texas will be Bahamian Texas Tech freshman Antoine Andrews (13.74).

In the field, world leader and world junior record holder, Jaydon Hibbert, produced 16.81m to advance in the triple jump alongside teammates and countrymen Ryan Brown (16.25m) and Carey McLeod (15.88m).

Hibbert, still only 18, famously jumped an absurd 17.87m at the SEC Outdoor Championships on May 13, setting a new world lead, collegiate record and world under-20 record in the process.

Roje Stona (65.54m) and Ralford Mullings (61.74m), both of Arkansas, advanced in the discus. Stona also threw 19.89m to advance in the shot put.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas pair of Wayne Pinnock and Carey McLeod jumped 8.05m and 7.80m, respectively, to advance in the long jump. The Jamaican pair were the top two finishers at the SEC Outdoor Championships.

Meanwhile on the women’s side, their countrywoman, Texas sophomore Ackelia Smith, jumped 6.69m to lead all qualifiers. Nebraska’s Velecia Williams (6.37m) also advanced.

Smith is fresh off a personal best 7.08m, the furthest legal jump in the world this year, to win at the Big 12 Championships earlier in May.

At the Eastern Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida’s Jevaughn Powell (46.68), and North Carolina A&T’s Shemar Chambers (46.89) both made it through in the 400m.

In the sprint hurdles, Caymanian Tennessee senior Rasheem Brown ran 13.45 to advance alongside Jamaican Syracuse junior Jaheem Hayles (13.67).

Defending Jamaican national champion Navasky Anderson of Mississippi State (1:49.43) and Tarees Rhoden of Clemson (1:49.70) both made it through in the 800m.

Fedrick Dacres threw a season’s best 68.57m to win the men’s discus at the 2023 Tucson Elite Classic on Thursday.

The 2019 World Championship silver medalist had three throws over 67m (67.84m, 68.27, 68.57) that exceeded the 2023 World Championships qualifying standard of 67.20m and makes him the third Jamaican behind Roje Stona and Traves Smikle to achieve the standard this season.

Samoa's Alex Rose, who has thrown over 70m this season, finished in second place with 66.91m with Sam Mattis throwing 64.64m to snag third place.

It was a welcome performance from Dacres, who delivered his best performance with the disc since he threw 69.67m at Excelsior High School in Kingston in February 2020.

The 29-year-old Dacres, the 2018 Commonwealth Games, NACAC and Diamond League champion, who boasts a personal best of 70.78m, a national record, has been hampered by injury and have undergone surgeries on his knees and wrist in the past few years.

Thursday’s performance makes him the sixth-best thrower in the world this year supplanting his training partner and friend, Smike, whose achieved his personal best of 68.14m in Kingston in February and just behind Stona, whose personal best effort of 68.64m came on May 13 in Baton Rouge.

The mark was also more than two metres better than his previous season-best of 66.32m in February.

 

Arkansas’s Jaydon Hibbert and Roje Stona as well as Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin all secured wins on the third and final day of the 2023 SEC Outdoor Championships at LSU on Saturday.

The 18-year-old Hibbert was easily the star of the day. The 2022 World Junior Champion produced an incredible personal best of 17.87m to take the Men’s triple jump crown ahead of Arkansas teammate Ryan Brown (16.43m) and Alabama's Christian Edwards (16.22m).

Hibbert opened the competition with a 17.02m effort before throwing down the biggest jump of his career so far in the second round. As he has done for most of the season to preserve his legs, he passed on his next four attempts.

Hibbert’s mark is also a new collegiate record, world lead and world junior record and puts him in a three-way tie for 13th on the all-time list.

Earlier in the day, Stona, also of Arkansas, produced a personal best 68.64m, the second furthest throw in collegiate history, to win the Men’s discus ahead of teammate and countryman Ralford Mullings (62.00) and Alabama’s Alan de Falchi (61.82m).

Distin continued her unbeaten run in the high jump this season with a 1.91m clearance to win ahead of Georgia’s Elena Kulichenko (1.88m) and Tennessee’s Cheyla Scott (1.85m).

On the track, Arkansas’s Ackera Nugent ran a personal best 12.43 for second in the Women’s 100m hurdles behind LSU’s Alia Armstrong’s 12.40. Kentucky’s Masai Russell was third in 12.47.

Another Jamaican Arkansas athlete, Phillip Lemonious, was second in the Men’s 110m hurdles in 13.63 behind Tennessee’s Devon Brooks (13.53). Another Tennessee athlete, Cayman’s Rasheem Brown, was third in 13.64.

Roja Stona and Akera Nugent each produced impressive wins at the LSU Invitational on Saturday. Meanwhile, Omar McLeod, who is attempting a comeback after missing out on the last two major championships, finished second in the 110m hurdles won by fellow Jamaican Phillip Lemonious.

Stona, who transferred from Clemson to Arkansas during the summer, threw a massive 67.02m to win the discus over compatriot and teammate Ralford Mullings, who hit a mark of 62.16m for second place.

Claudio Romero of LSU was a distance third with his best throw of 50.69m.

Stona’s previous best was 65.11m set in May 2022.

In the Women’s shot put, Lloydricia Cameron finished fourth with a season-best 16.90m, well below her lifetime best of 18.33m set in May 2021.

Georgia’s Anna da Silva won the event with a throw of 17.62m with Ole Miss’ Jalaan Davies the runner up with 17.51m.

Florida’s Alida Van Daalen was third with 17.45m.

Arkansas freshman Jaydon Hibbert was a winner once again in the triple with yet another effort over 17m. The NCAA and World U20 record holder, jumped 17.17m for an easy victory over the rest of the field that included his Arkansas teammates Carey McLeod and Wayne Pinnock who finished third and fourth with marks of 15.67m and 15.65m, respectively.

Alabama’s Christian Edwards was the closest to Hibbert, taking second place with 16.12m.

World championship silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts has been trying to find her best form this season. The reigning Commonwealth Games champion was well off her lifetime best of 14.98m but she didn’t need to be, winning in a season’s best of 14.06m.

No other competitor managed to soar beyond 14m as Tennessee’s Charisma Taylor’s 13.82m landed her second place while Florida’s Jasmine Moore took third with 13.77m.

On the track, Ackera Nugent celebrated her 21st birthday with confidence-boosting win over the talented American Alia Armstrong.

Nugent, the World U20 60m record holder and 2023 NCAA Indoor 60m champion, clocked a season-best 12.52 to hold off Armstrong who ran 12.59 for second place.

Michelle Harrison of Athletics Canada was third in 12.93.

Arkansas’ Lemonious won a close race with McLeod, running 13.63 to edge the 2017 World Champion, who was timed in 13.67.

Pierre Lepage of Athletics Canada took third in 13.82.

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas junior Ackera Nugent produced a meet record 11.13 to win the Women’s 100m at the 2023 John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday.

Nugent, who set a collegiate record 7.72 on her way to claiming the NCAA Indoor 60m hurdles title in March, won ahead of the USA’s Jayda Baylark (11.24) and her Arkansas teammate Ariane Linton (11.31).

Another Jamaican Arkansas junior, Phillip Lemonious, took first place in the Men’s 110m hurdles in 13.77 ahead of teammates Matthew Lewis-Banks (13.90) and Brevin Sims (14.05).

Bahamian Gabrielle Gibson ran 13.07 to win the Women’s 100m hurdles ahead of Missouri Southern’s Kiara Smith (13.22) and Ashley Wallace of Kansas, who also did 13.81 in third. All three times were personal bests.

The men’s 400m was also filled with personal bests with Harding’s Dakari Bush taking the win in 46.00 over Arkansas’s Jeremy Farr (46.45) and Kansas’ Grant Lockwood (46.63).

Jamaican Arkansas sophomore Nickisha Pryce ran a personal best and meet record 51.47 to win the Women’s equivalent over teammate’s Paris Peoples (52.19) and Aaliyah pratt (53.36).

Jamaican freshman Devontie Archer added to Arkansas’ dominant day with a personal best 51.50 for victory in the Men’s 400m hurdles over Kansas’ Jameir Colbert (52.34) and Missouri’s Zachary Charles (53.28).

St. Vincent & the Grenadines’ Shafiqua Maloney took the title in the Women’s 800m in a meet record and season’s best 2:03.20 ahead of the USA’s Honour Finley (2:03.62) and Arkansas’s Lainey Quandt (2:05.58).

In the field, Arkansas sophomore Ralford Mullings threw a meet record 60.71m to win the Men’s discus ahead of the Kansas pair of Dimitrios Pavlidis (57.93m) and Patrick Larrison (55.87m).

The Men’s shot put saw Arkansas senior Roje Stona produce a meet record and personal best 20.08m for victory ahead of Jamaica’s Rajindra Campbell (19.98m) and Arkansas’s Jordan West (18.99m).

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah led all qualifiers to the semi-finals of the 100m as Athletics action got underway at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Tuesday.

The World Championship 100m bronze medallist from Eugene ran an easy 10.99 to win heat two and advance.

Antigua & Barbuda’s Joella Lloyd was next up, finishing third in heat three in 11.42 to advance. In heat four, Guyana’s Jasmine Abrams almost perfectly matched Lloyd, running 11.42 for third to advance.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle Lee-Ahye and the Bahamas’ Tynia Gaither ran 11.14 and 11.19, respectively, to finish first and second in heat five and progress.

Jamaica’s Natalliah Whyte ran 11.31 to win heat six and advance while St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred (11.24) and Jamaica’s Remona Burchell (11.46) were the top two finishers in the seventh and final heat.

On the Men’s side, Nadale Buntin of St. Kitts & Nevis will be in the semis after finishing third in the first heat with a season’s best 10.37.

Rikkoi Brathwaite of the British Virgin Islands finished second in heat three in 10.42 to advance.

Next up was Jamaican 2014 Commonwealth Games 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole who ran 10.15 to finish second in heat four to progress.

Heat six saw Trinidad & Tobago’s Kion Benjamin produce 10.34 for second to move on while Jamaica’s Conroy Jones (10.28) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Eric Harrison Jr (10.37) both advanced from the eighth heat.

The tenth and final heat saw three Caribbean men advance. Trinidad & Tobago's Jerod Elcock won the heat in 10.26 while Guyana's Emmanuel Archibald (10.28) and St. Lucia's Stephan Charles (10.29) finished second and third, respectively.

Jamaican World Championship finalist Natoya Goule is now a Commonwealth Games finalist as well after running 1:58.39 to advance to the final as the fastest qualifier.

In the field, Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Lloydricia Cameron both advanced to the final of the Women’s shot put after throws of 18.42m and 16.61m, respectively. Thomas-Dodd’s distance was the farthest in qualifying.

The Caribbean will be well represented in the final of the Men’s long jump as The Bahamas’ Laquan Nairn (7.90m), Jamaica’s Shawn-D Thompson (7.85m), Guyana’s Emmanuel Archibald (7.83m), Dominica’s Tristan James (7.65m) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Anduelle Wright (7.58m) will all be present.

Jamaica’s Traves Smikle (64.90m) and Roje Stona (58.35m) will both be in the final of the Men’s discus throw alongside Grenada’s Josh Boateng (56.51m).

Camperdown High School made good on the promise they showed in the heats on Friday to win the Championship of America High School boys 4x100m title, as action came to a close at the 2022 Penn relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The team of Rimando Thomas, Junior Harris, Jason Lewis, and Roshawn Clarke sped to 40.13 to narrowly finish ahead of Jamaica College (40.16) and St. Jago (40.17).

Kingston College were also winners on the day as the team of Amal Glasgow, Shaemar Uter, Emmanuel Rwotomiya and Marcinho Rose combined to run 3:09.52 to win the Championship of America High School boys 4x400m final ahead of Bullis School from Maryland (3:11.90) and St. Jago (3:12.09).

Jamaica College’s super 4x800m team was victorious in the Championship of America High School boys final.

Omarion Davis, Handal Roban, Kemarrio Bygrave, and J’Voughnn Blake combined to dominate the field in 7:28.38. Ridge High School from New Jersey ran 7:41.59 for second while West Springfield from Virginia ran 7:45.14.

In individual events, Jamaican Phillip Lemonious, competing for the University of Arkansas, won the College men’s 110m hurdles in 13.48 ahead of Jaheem Hayles of Syracuse (13.57) and Clemson’s Devon Brooks (13.62).

Rikkoi Brathwaite from the British Virgin Islands won the College men’s 100m in 10.28 competing for Indiana University. Ohio State’s Eric Harris was second with the same time, while Houston’s Edward Sumler IV was third in 10.30.

Jamaican Olympic 800m finalist Natoya Goule was second in the Olympic Development Women's Elite 600m in 1:24.09 behind reigning American Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu (1:22.75). The USA's Nia Akins ran 1:25.14 for third. Another Jamaican, Rajay Hamilton, ran 1:16.00 to finish second in the men's equivalent behind Ghana's Alex Amankwah (1:15.88).The USA's Kameron Jones was third in 1:16.47.

Jamaican 400m specialist Rusheen McDonald was second in the men's 300m in 32.69, narrowly losing out to Nigeria's Chidi Okezie who ran 32.68 to win. American Will London III ran 32.71 for third.

Former Olympic and World champion Omar McLeod ran 13.22 for second in the men's 110m hurdles. American Devon Allen ran a meet record 13.11 for victory while his countryman Jaylan McConico was third in 13.70.

Jamaica’s Roje Stona, competing for Clemson, was second in the College men’s discus with 65.11m. Virginia’s Claudio Romero was the winner with 67.11m and Army’s Jamir Gibson was third with 59.04m.

Another Jamaican, Romaine Beckford competing for the University of South Florida, jumped over 2.23m to win the College men’s high jump ahead of Ohio State’s Shaun Miller Jr (2.23m) and Princeton’s Jeff Hollis (2.17m).

 

 

 

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