Bahamian representation at Purdue

The Bahamas is well represented on the track and field team at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, as the Purdue Boilermakers look to get better this upcoming 2020-2021 season.

The Bahamians on the track for the Purdue Boilermakers are seniors Samson Colebrooke and Tamar Greene; and redshirt freshman Vinajah Adderley. On the sidelines giving out instructions is the Bahamian head coach of Purdue Athletics Norbert Elliott.

“Nothing but pride and joy comes to mind,” Elliott said. “One thing I can say about Bahamian athletes is that they come to the United States, they do well, they graduate and move on to try and make an impact back home. I have done it for years and I will continue to do it. I have been helped by a lot of people. I am very thankful and humble. I am trying to help others who need the help.”

Last season, Sampson qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) Indoor Championships that was set for March. That meet got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was set to run in the 200 meters (m), having secured the 11th fastest time in the nation of 20.80 seconds. That time is also the third-fastest time in program history.

He was named an All-American for his efforts in the 200m.

“Sampson is returning for his senior year. He should have graduated but because we didn’t compete outdoors he only has an outdoor season remaining. We are expecting great things from Sampson. He is a leader on the team. He is a motivator, looked up [to] and is an elder spokesman. Unfortunately, we only have him for outdoors. He is expected to do well for us,” Elliott said.

Greene is entering his senior season for the Boilermakers. His specialty is the triple jump. He was ranked at number 21 in the NCAA DI indoors national rankings with a distance of 15.95m (52’ 4”).

“He is a seasoned triple jumper. Look at what he has always done – being a big points getter for us in the triple jump. I expect him to do the same thing again – win at the conference level and qualify for the national championships. He is doing well. He is healthy and strong,” Elliott said.

Adderley redshirted indoors in her freshman year. According to Elliott, she was slated to participate in the outdoor portion but that was canceled.

“She returns with a full slate of eligibility – four indoors and four outdoors. She is back in training. We redshirted her just to get her a little stronger and more fit. She is very talented and I expect her, Sampson and Tamar to make a significant point score for us and make a very big impact on the team. They are all well-liked and are working hard,” said Elliott.

The Boilermakers compete in a very competitive Big Ten Conference in the NCAA DI. The Bahamian coach is entering his ninth year at Purdue but his third year as head coach.

This is not the first time Elliott has had Bahamian athletes on his team. He had Devynne Charlton, who he said is probably the most decorated female athlete ever at Purdue. He also coached Bahamians Carmeisha Cox, Kinard Rolle and Keanu Pennerman at Purdue.

Collegiately, he also coached Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Antonio Saunders and Tonique Williams.

His collegiate coaching career includes stints at the University of Georgia, Murray State University, Campbell University, the University of Tennessee and the University of Texas – El Paso.

Elliott said he is grateful to the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) for selecting him as a coach on various teams and giving him the exposure. Elliott helped coached Team Bahamas at two Summer Olympics Games, one world championships and several junior international meets.

Apart from coaching, he has also represented The Bahamas as a triple jumper. People who were instrumental to getting him to this point include Martin Lundy, Keith Parker and Frank “Pancho” Rahming, among others, he said.

Elliott is just one of several Bahamian track and field coaches at the collegiate level in the United States of America. The others include but are not limited to Rolando “Lonnie” Greene and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (University of Kentucky); Chris “Fireman” Brown (Clayton State University); Nyles Stuart and Dominic Demeritte (Life University); Leevan Sands (University of North Colorado); and Trevor Barry (University of Minnesota – Moorhead).

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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