Hanna repeats as athlete of the week

Bahamian collegiate thrower Tiffany Hanna is off to a powerful start this indoor season, turning in a couple more top-three performances over the weekend, leading to her second straight athlete of the week honor.

The 20-year-old junior at Wagner College finished second in both the weight throw and the shot put at the 2019 Seahawk Shootout at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island, New York, on Friday, leading to her being named the Northeast Conference (NEC) Female Field Athlete of the Week again. She first claimed the honor for a double gold performance at the Fastrack Season Opener on the same field on December 6, and had another impressive performance in both events over the weekend.

On Friday, she had a best throw of 16.79 meters (m) – 55’ 1” – in the weight throw, an event that is still relatively new to her, and finished with a best throw of 12.50m (41’ 0-1/4”) in the women’s shot put. The week before, Hanna had throws of 16.62m (54’ 6-1/2”) and 12.39m (40’ 7-3/4”) respectively.

Back home for the Christmas holidays, Hanna said that she’s just glad that the hard work and determination is paying off.

“I switched it up a lot during training, and that has helped,” said Hanna. “Also, with the nutrition and the other stuff, that has helped me to keep healthy and strong. I worked a lot with technique as well, especially with the weight throw. You have to stay smooth and connected because that is critical. You just have to be slow and connected and push the ball. I’ve just been trying to stay on my heel and with the shot, switching from the glide to the spin has helped a lot. There’s a lot of technical work involved with it and I’m still trying to understand body position and trying to know where my body is at all times. There are still a lot of things that I need to work on. Coach has been telling me that I know the technique and from trying to speed it up in the circle, I tend to lose position and that could cause me a meter or two. A lot of it is mental as well, changing my mindset and becoming more confident. I really wanted to do well in my freshman year, but I found out that I would get nervous and it got into my head. Now I’m relaxed a bit more and allowing myself to have good days and bad days, and that has resulted in good days for me.”

In repeating as NEC Female Field Athlete of the Week, Hanna improved on her season-opening weight throw and shot put marks. The reigning NEC weight throw champion added 17 centimeters to the league-leading distance that she logged at the Fastrack Season Opener and placed her second overall.

Winning that event was Chibuzo Amonu, a junior at Monmouth College, with a massive throw of 17.74m (58’ 2-1/2”). Finishing third behind Amonu and Hanna was Prisca Blamon, another junior at Monmouth. Blamon had a best throw of 14.76m (48’ 5-1/4”). In the shot put, Amonu once again came out on top, finishing with a best throw of 12.61m (41’ 4-1/2”). Monmouth sophomore Alexis Uzauro was third behind Amonu and Hanna with a best throw of 12.38m (40’ 7-1/2”).

Hanna currently sits 15th overall among automatic qualifiers for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships in the weight throw, and has moved up the NEC performance list into the No. 5 spot in the shot put. She currently has personal best throws of 16.94m (55’ 7”) in the weight throw and 13.33m (43’ 8-3/4”) in the shot put.

“I think the event that gives me the best chance of making regionals would be the weight throw,” said Hanna. “I’m only doing two turns right now and my coach wants to get me up to three turns. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to the nationals. I have to give a lot of credit to all my coaches. My current coach, he is very observant. He is very relaxed and understanding. He taught me the weight when I first came here and that is an event that I have gotten progressively better in.”

The head coach for the athletics program for the Wagner College Seahawks is American Joe Stasi, but the coach who is directly associated with Hanna is throws Coach Blerim Pocesta. He has been working with Hanna since her freshman season.

Hanna and the Seahawks will be back in action when they contest the Wagner College Invitational on Friday, January 3, 2020, at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island.

Tiffany is the daughter of Attorney Patrick and Dr. Alvery Hanna.

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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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