Bahamians still hoping to compete at NCAAs
Quite a few Bahamian collegiate track and field athletes were among a long list of competitors looking to surpass automatic qualifying times/marks for the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA)Division I Indoor Championships. This weekend served as a last chance meet for those athletes to qualify.
However, athletes will not know their fate until sometime this week, when the NCAA releases the declaration lists for the championships set for next weekend, in College Station, Texas. The championships will bring together all the conferences including the Southeastern Conference(SEC), Big 12, Mountain Pacific Sports Federation(MPSF)and Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC), where most of the Bahamians athletes compete.
One of the Bahamians making that final push toward the championships was Auburn Tigers Nivea Smith.
Although she is ranked in the top five in her conference, SEC, Smith is 14th in the nation in the 200m. Over the weekend, she competed at the Alex Wilson Invitational and won the 200 meters(m)in 23.36 seconds. The time recorded was not below her season’s best of 23.34 seconds, and did not automatically qualify her for the championships.
The Freeport native also tried her hands at the qualifying mark in the 60m dash. She was fifth overall in the event in 7.52 seconds. Her season’s best is listed at 7.51 seconds.
Latoy Williams of Texas Tech ran a leg on the school’s 4x400m team. Their best this season, 3:08.46, did not meet the qualifying standard, but the team is ranked in the top 16 in the nation and top 10 in their conference.
Bahamians obtaining automatic qualifying spots in their respective events include sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson and high jumper Jamal Wilson. Demetrius Pinder, Raymond Higgs, Smith, Ivanique Kemp, Kenya Culmer, Williams, Karlton Rolle and Warren Fraser will await the declaration lists.
Ferguson achieved automatic qualification in the 200m but has a good chance of competing in the 60m with her season’s best time of 7.29 seconds which ranks her fourth in the SEC. Her 200m time is 23.12 seconds.
High jumper Wilson, who competes in the Big 12 Conference, has soared 2.24m this year. This height automatically puts him in the field of qualifiers. As for Higgs, his season’s best of 2.16m places him third in the SEC but is not an automatic qualifier. This is the same case for female high jumper Culmer, who has a best leap of 1.70m.
The season’s best time of 8.40 seconds ran by Ivanique Kemp places her eighth in her conference. In the Big 12 Conference, Pinder has a best of 46.24 seconds, in the 400m, and Williams has a best time of 1:10.73 in the 600m.
Fraser and Rolle will hope to contest the 200m at the championships. Fraser’s time is 21.49 seconds and Rolle’s time is 21.48 seconds.