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  Track And Field

Jamaicans excel at college meets

Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer

Several Jamaican collegiate athletes booked their ticket to next weekend's NCAA Division Outdoor Track and Field Championships following great performances at various regional meets over the weekend.

The meets - held at four different venues - which assure the top five finishers in their individual events and top three in relays an automatic berth to Fayeteville, Arkansas, for the National Championships, saw former Vere Technical athlete, Kimberly Williams, leading the way for the Jamaicans with a double win at the Eastern Meet in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Competing for Florida State University, Williams, who won the Indoor triple jump title in March, first captured the long jump on Friday's opening day with a leap of 6.66 metres, then returned the following day to win the triple jump in a meet record 13.98 metres.

"I am happy with my performances and especially in the long jump, as this is the first time in college I am doing the long jump, and I think I am now getting there in this event," said Williams, who is hoping to become Jamaica's first double winner in these events at the NCAA Championships.

Two third-place finishes

Former World Junior representative, Trisha Hawthorne, competing for Connecticut University, had two third-place finishes - 11.53 in the 100 metres and 23.53 seconds in the 200 metres.

Another past World Junior representative, Daniele Jeffrey, a freshman at Florida State University, ran a brilliant third leg to help her team win the women's 4x100 metres in 43.64 seconds.

Meanwhile, Olympian Allodin Fothergill paid the price for going out too fast in the men's 400 metres, as he faded in the homestretch to finish sixth in 45.98 seconds and will have to wait a few more days to get another chance to qualify for the national meet.

Former Queen's athlete, Samantha Henry, and former Kingston College jumper, Alain Bailey, were both victorious at the Mid East Meet in Louisville, Kentucky. Henry, competing for champions Louisiana State University (LSU), clocked an excellent 22.80 seconds to win the women's 200m. She had earlier placed second in the 100m in 11.43 seconds.

Her teammate, Melissa Ogbourne, formerly of St Jago High, also booked her ticket to Arkansas by finishing third in the triple jump with 13.16 metres. Also advancing to Arkansas was former Immaculate High hurdler, Kimberly Laing, after finishing second in the 100 hurdles for Alabama University, in 13.28 seconds.

Bailey leapt a regional meet record 8.06m to win from teammate Michael Stewart (7.92) and another former Kingston College star, Tarika Batchelor, who did 7.82m. Batchelor also finished third in the triple jump with 16.07m.

Former St Jago athlete, Dwight Mullings, continued his fine run for Mississippi State University by coasting to 45.66 seconds in winning the 400 metres. He also ran on his team's successful 4x400 metres relay team, which clocked 3:04.72 for the win.

NCAA meet

One-time Calabar High hurdler, Andrew Riley, and Jamaica College's Patrick Lee also qualified for the NCAA meet. Competing for Illinois University, Riley ended second in the 110 metres hurdles in 13.74 seconds, while Lee, representing LSU, was fourth in the 400 hurdles in 50.90 seconds.

Former Wolmer's high jumper, Julian Reid, now a Texas A&M University sophomore, won the long jump with 8.04m and placed second in the triple jump with 16.81m at the Mid West Meet in Norman, Oklahoma. In the long jump, he surprised Indoor champion, Nicholas Gordon, formerly of Calabar High. Now competing for Nebraska University, Gordon placed second with 7.93 metres.

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