Five Bahamians compete at NCAAs in Austin
A total of five Bahamian collegiate athletes took part in the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships that took place at the University of Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, over the weekend.
Samson Colebrooke, a junior for the Purdue University Boilermakers, his teammate sophomore Tamar Greene, Denzel Pratt, a junior for the Liberty University Flames, Jyles Etienne, a sophomore for Indiana University Bloomington Hoosiers, and the lone female, Doneisha Anderson, a freshman for the University of Florida Gators, all represented their schools and their country.
Colebrooke and Greene were in action on Wednesday afternoon, taking part in the men’s 4×100 meters (m) relay preliminaries for the Boilermakers. They ran in heat three and finished third in a time of 38.94 seconds. Green and Colebrook were on the first and second legs respectively. Justin Becker and Waseem Williams ran the other two legs for the Boilermakers.
Despite not finishing in the top two of their heat, the Boilermakers advanced to the final because they had the fastest time outside of the top two finishers from the three heats.
The Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers won that heat in a time of 38.37 seconds, and the University of Arkansas Razorbacks came in second with a time of 38.90 seconds.
In the final, the Boilermakers ran a season’s best time of 38.92 seconds to finish seventh.
The Gators were the winners in 37.97 seconds, setting a meet record and a college best time. It was the Florida State University (FSU) Seminoles that came in second after posting a time of 38.08 seconds. The Texas Tech University Red Raiders won the bronze, finishing in 38.45 seconds. All three teams ran season best times.
After the 4x100m prelims on Wednesday, Colebrooke ran out of lane three in the 200m prelims. Colebrooke finished fourth in his heat in 20.49 seconds. That time was not good enough for him to advance to the final. He finished 15th overall.
Winning that heat was the University of Tennessee Volunteers’ Mustaqeem Williams. His time was 20.38 seconds. The Gators’ Hakim Sani Brown ran 20.44 seconds to advance to the final with Williams.
In the field, Pratt was in action on Wednesday afternoon in the javelin. He was the 11th thrower in the second flight.
Pratt threw 67.41m (222’ 1”) to finish 14th overall out of 24 athletes. His first throw was his best throw. He scratched his second throw and on his third throw, he recorded a distance of 63.53m (208’ 5”).
The Mississippi State University Bulldogs carted off the top three spots in that event. Anderson Peters was first after recording a personal best and a meet record throw of 86.62m (282’ 2”). Second place went to Curtis Thompson with a throw of 78.43m (257’ 3”), and filling out the third position was Tyriq Horsford with a throw of 75.59m (248’).
In the men’s triple jump on Friday, Greene had a best jump of 15.64m (51’ 3-3/4”) to finish 19th overall. Temple Christian University (TCU) sophomore Chengetayi Mapaya won that event with a personal best leap of 17.13m (56’ 2-1/2”). Jordan Scott, a junior at Virginia, finished second with a leap of 17.01m (55’ 9-3/4”), and Florida State senior Armani Wallace rounded out the top three with a personal best leap of 16.99m (55’ 9”).
Also on Friday, Etienne competed in the men’s high jump event, and was unable to improve on his season’s best leap of 2.20m (7’ 2-1/2”). He cleared 2.15m (7’ 0-1/2”) to finish 17th out of 24 jumpers. The sophomore hit the bar down three times at 2.18m (7’ 1-3/4”).
The Tigers’ JuVaughn Harrison won with a jump of 2.27m (7’ 5-1/4”). Finishing second place was the Kansas State Wildcats’ Tejaswin Shankar who also cleared 2.27m, but was pushed down to second based on number of knockdowns. Clearing 2.24m (7’ 4-1/4”) to secure the bronze medal was the University of Alabama’s Shelby McEwen.
Anderson and her Gators teammates of Taylor Manson, Nikki Stephens and Sharrika Barnett were on the track competing in the women’s 4x400m prelims on Thursday night.
The team automatically qualified for the final on Saturday after placing second in their heat. They ran a time of 3:29.32. They finished behind the University of South California (USC) Trojans who won that heat in a time of 3:28.31.
The Gators’ time was the third-fastest heading into the final on Saturday night.
Saturday night’s final was a pivotal race for the Trojans and the Razorbacks as they were tied at 57 points at the top of the women’s division heading into this race.
Anderson gave her Gators a good start, running out of lane seven. They ran a season’s best time of 3:27.02 to finish fourth.
The race was won by the Texas A&M Aggies in 3:25.57. The Razorback clocked 3:25.89 to finish second. Finishing third was the University of South Carolina Gamecocks with a time of 3:26.90.
It was a very fast race as seven of the teams ran season’s best times. The only team that didn’t run a season’s best time was the Trojans. They dropped the baton and finished eighth.
That second-place finish helped the Razorbacks to claim the women’s title at 2019 edition of the championships. They ended the meet with 64 points. The Trojans finished second with 57 points and LSU was third with 43 points.
On the men’s side, the Red Raiders came out on top with 60 points. Finishing 10 points behind them was the Gators with 50 points. The Houston Cougars rounded out the top three spots with 40 points.
All five Bahamians should have an opportunity to return to the NCAAs next year as they are not yet seniors.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism