Representing The Bahamas and their schools, a couple of Bahamian athletes ended their indoor seasons with spirited performances at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex Facility in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Up first was Brianne Bethel in the heats of the women’s 200 meters (m) on Friday. The Houston Cougars’ junior from Grand Bahama ran out of lane three in the fourth of four semifinal heats. She was third in her heat and finished 10th overall in 23.30 seconds, missing Saturday’s final by just eight one hundredths of a second.
Kayla White, a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, went on to win the gold medal in a blazing personal best time of 22.66 2 seconds. Tamara Clark, a sophomore at Alabama, finished second, holding off Arkansas’ senior Payton Chadwick in a photo finish. Both were timed in 22.99 seconds.
The other Bahamian in action was Arkansas Razorbacks junior LaQuan Nairn. The former St. John’s and CARIFTA standout competed in the men’s triple jump final on Saturday.
Nairn had a series of jumps over 15m (49 2-3/4”), but couldn’t connect on that one big jump over 16m (52’ 6”). He finished ninth overall with a leap of 15.80m (51’ 10”). Nairn had a series of jumps of 15.37m (50’ 5-1/4”), 15.80m, 15.50m (50’ 10-1/4”) and again 15.50m. He scratched on his other two attempts.
Jordan Scott, a junior at Virginia, won the competition with a new facility record of 16.89m (55’ 5”), breaking the old mark of 16.64m (54’ 7-1/4”) set by Arkansas’ Clive Pullen in 2016. Odaine Lewis, a senior at Texas Tech, was second with a leap of 16.65m (54’ 7-1/2”); and Chengetayi Mapaya, a sophomore at Texas Christian University (TCU), finished third with a season’s best leap of 16.61m (54’ 6”).
Both Bethel and Nairn recorded personal best performances this season.
Bethel ran a personal best time of 23.12 seconds in the women’s 200m at the American Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, for the gold medal in that event, on February 23. That time was a new meet record, breaking the time of 23.17 seconds set by Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Latessa Johnson last year.
Nairn recorded a personal best leap of 16.03m (52’ 7-1/4”) at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Indoor Track and Field Championships at Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, also on February 23. His jump was good enough for a third-place finish.
Both athletes will now begin their preparation for their respective collegiate outdoor seasons.