Lamara Distin literally continues to soar to new heights each week.

Lamara Distin’s impressive season continued on Saturday when she won the high jump at the Michael Johnson Invitational at the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium in Texas.

Former Hydel High standout Lamara Distin, now competing for Texas A&M, produced a personal best and Jamaican national record 1.96m to win the Women’s High Jump at the Texas Relays at the Mike A. Myers Stadium on Saturday.

This lifetime best continues a phenomenal start to the season for Distin who jumped a national indoor record 1.92 to win at the NCAA Indoor Championships in in Birmingham, Alabama earlier this month.

1.96m is a school record, the fifth best collegiate jump of all time and also sees Distin achieve the World Championships qualifying standard.

TLamara Distin and Carey McLeod were among the winners at the 2022 SEC Indoor Championships held at College Station, Texas from February 25-26.

Texas A&M junior Distin won the Women’s High Jump in 1.91m. The former Hydel High star, who recently set a new Jamaican indoor record of 1.92m, finished ahead of South Carolina sophomore Rachel Glenn (1.88m) and LSU senior Abigail O’Donoghue (1.88m).

McLeod, the University of Mississippi junior, won the long jump with a leap of 8.07m to defeat Georgia's standout sophomore Matthew Boling (7.90m) and Alabama sophomore Emmanuel Ineh (7.87m).

The former Kingston College man also finished third in the triple jump in 16.33m behind LSU freshman Sean Dixon-Bodie (16.64m) and Missouri junior Georgi Nachev (16.48m).

Distin’s Texas A&M teammate, Charokee Young, was fourth in the Women’s 400m in 51.28. The event was won by Kentucky’s Alexis Holmes in 50.77 while Arkansas freshman Britton Wilson ran 50.88 for second and Florida freshman Talitha Diggs ran 51.25 for third.

Young was a member of Texas A&M's 4x400m relay team that ran 3:25.43 while finishing second Arkansas that ran 3:24.09 for victory.

Texas A&M Junior Charokee Young enters the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Indoor Championships at the Aggies Gilliam Indoor Stadium this weekend in perhaps the form of her life.

The former Hydel High School star, opened the season running 37.33 in the 300m at the Wooo Pig Classic, which ranks her 18th in collegiate history and then in her first race over 400m, won in 52.00 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational.

She then clocked an impressive 51.24 in the 400m at the Don Kirby Open to win in what the fourth-best time all-time indoors at Texas A&M that established her as the Aggies leading quarter-miler, replacing the outstanding Athing Mu, who went pro before winning gold medals in the 800m at the US trials and the Tokyo Olympics.

Herself a former 800m runner, Young believes her progress this season comes down to building on her success last season when she finished the Texas Tech Invitational with two event titles, winning the 400m at a time of 52.64 and ran the second leg on the 4x400m that won at 3:31.09, the second-fastest 4x400m in the NCAA in 2021 as well as clocking a personal best 400m time of 51.93 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational, the fifth-best performer in Aggie history.

The season culminated with her booking a ticket to Japan for her first Olympics.

“I honestly feel like what drove my improvement this year is just adding to what I had already learned last year. So instead of starting from zero, I started from 50 per cent,” said Young, who is looking beyond the NCAA to don Jamaica's colours in the individual 400m at the World Championships in Oregon in July.

“I am still trying to learn more in trying to improve my races.

“I feel like my experience in Tokyo really motivated me for this year to work hard and just go out and give it my best shot. I am really working hard this year so I wouldn’t be like an alternate, hopefully, I will be able to cement my spot on the team. So I am working hard so I can run faster and hopefully get a better result.”

Wanting to succeed for both school and country can be challenging for collegiate athletes. Navigating indoor and outdoor seasons with each having both regional and national competitions can be physically and mentally taxing.

Young acknowledges that reality but believes she is now better able to find that balance that will allow excelling at both.

“I do agree that the NCAA takes a toll on your body but if you can complete an NCAA circuit, it shouldn’t be a problem to push a couple more months to go to the World Championships. Last year was my first time doing it, so this year I will have an idea what it feels like so I will be way more prepared this year than last year,” she said.

With that in mind, she said, her primary goal this season is to improve each time she steps on the track. It is clear in her mind that if she keeps doing that, then doing well for Texas A&M and Jamaica will be achievable.

“I really don’t have a set time I want to achieve this year, I just hope to keep getting better and better, so my main goal this year is to end with a season-best,” she said.

 

 

On December 3, 2021, Lamara Distin opened her collegiate season at the Woo Pig Classic with a leap of 1.86m that was good for a comfortable victory at the Woo Pig Classic in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin, fresh from her silver medal performance in the high jump at last weekend’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, is targeting the Olympic standard of 1.96m when she competes at the Jamaica National Championships beginning June 26.

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.

Track and Field News on Sunday named Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens Collegiate Athlete of the Year.

She is also on the Bowerman Watch List. The Bowerman is an annual track and field award that is the highest accolade given to the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

She believes the accolades are the fruits of hard work.

“Winning Athlete of the Year and staying on the Bowerman Watch List has been rewarding. It’s been a product of hard work and it's exciting, it’s motivating. It makes me want to continue to work hard. I am very honoured, I’m very grateful and I can’t wait to see what I can produce for the rest of the season,” she said.

The Trinidadian multi-event athlete recorded one of the best performances in collegiate history two weeks ago when she won the NCAA championship in the pentathlon and high jump and was third in the long jump to score 26 points.

The 26-point performance is the third-most all-time at an NCAA Championship meet where she also became the first woman to win national championships in the pentathlon and high jump in the same meet.

Gittens also set a collegiate record in the pentathlon with a winning score of 4,746 setting school records in the pentathlon, high jump (1.93m/6-4) and long jump (6.68m/21-11).

She also scored 23 points at the SEC Championships winning the high jump and long jump titles, while finishing sixth in the pentathlon.

She received the Cliff Harper Award for being the top point scorer.

She said self-belief enabled her turnaround from finishing sixth at the SEC Championships to breaking the collegiate pentathlon record two weeks later.

“I was very proud of myself! I trusted myself, I took a chance, and I had confidence in myself,” she said.

“I was not surprised though. Knowing how my training and my season has been going I knew I was going to have a good meet. I’m happy with how I executed everything I wanted to. I’m happy I was in control of my emotions and I’m happy I trusted myself enough to take a chance. It’s a great way to end the indoor season.”

The USTFCCCA also named Gittens National Field Athlete of the Year.

A day after setting a new collegiate record in the pentathlon at the NCAA Nationals, Tyra Gittens won a silver and a bronze medal and set a new school record along the way Friday.

Gittens, who on Thursday, broke Kendall Williams’ five-year-old pentathlon record, cleared 1.90m to win the high jump, becoming the first woman to sweep the pentathlon and the high jump.

The mark was shy of her personal best 1.93m set the day before during the pentathlon, but it was more than enough to hold off South Carolina freshman Rachel Glenn and Georgia’s Anna Hall, who cleared 1.87m second and third, respectively, the latter losing out on the silver medal on the countback.

Two hours later, Gittens, the SEC Female Field Athlete of the Year, went on the hunt for another gold in the long jump but despite uncorking a personal best 6.68m, a new school record, she had to settle for the bronze medal.

Why? Well, Tara Davis of the University of Texas shattered the record of 6.91m that had been held by Jamaica’s Elva Goulbourne since 2002 when she launched out to 6.93m. It was at the championships since Auburn’s Whitney Gipson equalled Golbourne’s mark in 2015.

In addition to being the championship record, the 6.93m was also a meet record and a facility record for Davis.

The silver medal went to Florida’s Claire Bryant who produced her personal best 6.70m.

The bronze medal means that Gittens has earned 26 points for Texas A&M at the nationals, the third-most all-time at an NCAA meet.

Tyra Gittens goes into tomorrow’s SEC Championships in a confident mood seeing how well she has performed indoors this season.

 Charokee Young believes improving her running form and having a better understanding of what she does has led to better performances so far this season.

The 20-year-old rising star also revealed that she has dropped the 800m because of her love for the 400m and that she is definitely aiming to make Jamaica’s Olympic team to Tokyo this summer.

“I think the Olympics are within my reach. I am pretty close to the times (required to qualify) and I am definitely going to try out for the Olympics. Once I am healthy I am definitely going to try to make the Olympic team,” she said.

Just over a week ago, Young, the former Hydel High School standout, split 51.12 that helped Texas A&M an all-time collegiate-best of 3:26.27 at the Tyson Invitational, the ninth-fastest time ever. It was also a season-best time, a meet record and facility record.

It was a performance that saw the team named the U.S. Track & Field National Athlete of the Week.

Young told Sportsmax.TV that they went into the race intent on breaking the record.

“Our aim was to break the record and I did my best,” she said. “I wasn’t focused on how fast I was going to run, was just focused on doing my best for that day.”

Prior to enrolling at Texas A&M, Young had personal bests of 2:06.02 and 52.48 in the 800m and 400m, respectively. In her freshman year, she ran 2:05.80 indoors in March 2020, before the pandemic shut down the collegiate season.

So far this season, she has picked up from where she left off, running ran a personal best 51.93 indoors, which along with the 51.12 relay split last week, has demonstrated her steady improvement.

“I have been working on my running form. My form has gotten much better. I also have more knowledge about what I am doing, I am learning more about my body and I am more mature now,” she said while explaining that she anticipates running even faster as she transitions to outdoors later this year.”

“I am getting better each time I touch the track so if I hit personal bests I will be happy. My health is pretty good and the more correct your form is the less you run the risk of getting hurt.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

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