Sports

Bahamian athletes earn All-America honors

A total of five Bahamian collegiate track and field athletes are being honored for their performances during the 2020 indoor season as they were named to the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Indoor All-America Honors List on Tuesday.

The five Bahamians are Doneisha Anderson, Charisma Taylor, Devine Parker, Megan Moss and Samson Colebrooke.

Considering the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) Indoor Championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USTFCCCA adopted a provision criteria. The criteria stated that for individual events, athletes must have been listed on the start lists for their respective events at the NCAAs. In the relay events, the four runners who produced the declared time for the championships would be approved for the All-America list. The alternates were left off.

Anderson, one of the up-and-coming female quarter-milers in The Bahamas, notched three All-America certificates for her efforts on the track, running the 400 meters (m), 4x400m relay and the distance medley relay. She was one of 14 athletes, and 10 women, to receive three All-America certificates.

The sophomore at the University of Florida was spectacular for her school in a very competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC). She finished with a ranking of number three in the NCAA DI with a personal best time of 52.06 seconds – a time she clocked on Valentine’s Day at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina, to win that event.

Anderson and her Gators 4x400m teammates – Taylor Manson, Nikki Stephens and Semira Killebrew – clocked 3:32.87 at the SEC Championships in late February. That time put them at number 13 in the nation. In the distance medley relay, Anderson helped her school to a number 12 ranking in the nation, when they clocked 11:04. They set that time at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in January.

In addition to those three events, she posted times of 23.68 seconds in the 200m and 37.17 seconds in the 300m this past indoor season.

The Gators had 22 athletes named to the list.

Anderson heads into her junior season looking to move up the rankings, as she continues to improve.

Taylor is a sophomore who jumps and runs for the Washington State University (WSU) Cougars in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. She made the list for her tenacity in the pit in the women’s triple jump. Her season’s best distance of 13.48m (44’ 2-1/4”) ranked her at number six in the nation and erased her own school record set. She recorded that huge personal best distance at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in February.

“It’s an awesome feeling knowing that I was rewarded for my hard work,” Taylor said. “I always watched indoor and outdoor nationals when I was younger and I could see myself in that position, so for it to actually happen is like a dream come true. I missed out on making nationals due to injury two years in a row, so to make nationals and become an All-American injury-free is a great accomplishment. I have to give all the glory to God.”

Taylor is also the Washington State indoor record holder in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.19 seconds. She is ranked 25th in the nation in that event. Taylor said she was not surprised as her coach had a plan heading into the season.

“My hurdles coach and WSU’s head coach, Wayne Phipps, had a plan from early on to prevent injury. The plan was to work me harder in the off season, so that my body would be able to be used to the rigorous season ahead. The plan worked perfectly. I believe that I was in the best shape of my life and that showed throughout the season,” Taylor said. She added that she is even more motivated as she heads into her junior year. Taylor is hoping to make the 2021 Summer Olympic Games team for The Bahamas.

Moss, a freshman at the University of Kentucky, could not have asked for a better start to her collegiate career. She earned two All-America certificates in the 400m and the 4x400m relay.

At the same meet where Anderson achieved a number three national ranking in the 400m, Moss ran a time of 52.58 seconds to book her place in the top 20 in the nation. She finished seventh at that meet and ended the indoor season at number 16in the nation.

On that same meet, Moss and her 4x400m teammates – Abby Steiner, Dajour Miles and Chloe Abbott – were unstoppable as they won that event with an NCAA-leading time at that time, running 3:29.74. A fortnight later, Alabama claimed the top spot in the nation when they clocked 3:29.36.

Back in January, Moss qualified for the now canceled 2020 CARIFTA Games in the 400m.

Moss was one of 20 Kentucky Wildcats student-athletes to be named to the All-America list.

Colebrooke is the only male in the Bahamian quintet. The Purdue University Boilermakers senior burst onto the All-America list for his speed in the 200m.

He clocked a time of 20.80 seconds to finish 12th overall in the NCAA DI rankings. He set that time at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio, in February. That time was also the third-fastest time in program history.

Colebrooke was able to post a personal best time of 6.79 seconds in the 60m in January of this year.

At the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association) Under-23 (U23) Championships in Queretaro, Mexico, last year, Colebrooke won the 200m with a time of 20.58 seconds and ran a personal best time of 10.01 seconds in the 100m to finish second in that event.

Also competing in the Big Ten Conference and making the All-America list is Ohio State University (OSU) Buckeyes sophomore Devine Parker. The speedster had an off-year in her freshman year but bounced back to form to earn her first All-America nod.

She made the list for her performance in the 200m. Parker cracked the top 15 in the nation when she clocked 23.24 seconds at the Big Ten Championships in February. She won the silver medal at that meet. Also at those championships, Parker ran 7.36 seconds in the 60m, picking up another silver medal.

A total of 671 All-America honors were handed out to athletes from 119 different institutions by the UTFCCCA.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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