National record for Taylor as NCAA champships comes to a close

Another national indoor record was broken this season when triple jumper Charisma Taylor leaped 13.61 meters (m), 44’ 8”, at the 2021 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday.

It was a personal best for the Washington State University (WSU) Cougars junior who made the mark twice that evening – on her opening jump and then again on her third jump. In the process, she also broke her own school record and finished fifth overall.

The previous national record was held by Tamara Myers – a leap of 13.60m (44’ 7-1/2”) back in February 2018. Winning that event on Saturday, was Texas Tech Red Raiders’ Ruth Usoro who tied the meet record of 14.27m (46’ 10”). Texas A&M Aggies’ Deborah Acquah finished with the same distance, but Acquah had a better second-best jump. Florida State University’s Ruta Lasmane was third with a jump of 14.15m (46 5-1/4”).

Taylor jumped a then-season-best of 13.45m (44’ 1-1/2”) back in February. She took part in three meets before this weekend, and came into the meet ranked at number 11 in the event in the NCAA DI. The jump is a great improvement and accomplishment for Taylor who is looking to jump at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer for The Bahamas.

Taylor earned an NCAA All-American First Team selection.

Also in the triple jump pit at that meet was Purdue University Boilermakers’ Tamar Greene. The Bahamian finished seventh overall when he produced a personal best jump of 16.28m (53’ 5”) on his second jump. It was also the second-best mark in the Boilermakers’ record books.

The senior had a short season but like Taylor, came up with his best jump when he needed it the most. He has his eyes set on Tokyo this summer as well.

The University of Oregon Ducks’ Emmanuel Ihemeje won that event with an NCAA leading distance of 17.26 (56’ 7-1/2”). Finishing second was Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs’ Chengetayi Mapaya who leaped a personal best of 16.95m (55’ 7-1/2”). Carey McLeod from the University of Tennessee Volunteers finished third. He leapt 16.93m (55’ 6-1/2”). Greene also earned All-American First Team honors.

Megan Moss and the University of Kentucky Wildcats 4x400m relay team finished with the fifth-fastest time after running 3:30.28 in section three. Moss’ first leg split was 53.29 seconds. The Wildcats’ sophomore collapsed afterward and had to be admitted to the hospital, suffering from dehydration. After a series of tests, she was reported to be fine and is resting. She was discharged.

The Wildcats are coached by Bahamian Rolando “Lonnie” Greene.

In section two of that event was Bahamian Doneisha Anderson and the University of Florida Gators. They ran a season’s best of 3:30.58 to finish just behind Moss and the Wildcats, in sixth position. The junior ran the last leg, splitting 53.87 seconds.

The Texas A&M Aggies won that event after posting a meet record of 3:26.68. The University of Southern California (USC) Trojans finished second with a season’s best of 3:27.91. The host school, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, also clocked a season’s best, running 3:28.07 to finish third.

Moss was the first Bahamian athlete in action, competing in the women’s 400m semifinals on Friday evening. The sophomore ran out of lane three in heat number four, hoping to improve on her season’s best of 52.32 seconds. She finished third in her heat in a time of 53.31 seconds, failing to qualify for the final, finishing 13th overall. The Gators’ Taylor Manson won that heat in a time of 52.61 seconds. The Trojans’ Nicole Yeargin was second as she recorded a time of 52.81 seconds.

Moss was the only Wildcats athlete in that event. The Aggies’ Athing Mu had the fastest time in the semis, 51.02 seconds, and went on to win the silver in the final in 51.03 seconds. The Trojans’ Kaelin Roberts won the gold in 50.84 seconds.

The Gators women finished sixth overall with a score of 30 points while the Wildcats finished 12th overall with 17 points. Greene and the Boilermakers finished 37th with five points in the men’s division.

The NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships was also held over the weekend, taking place at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Minnesota State University at Mankato Mavericks’ Denisha Cartwright finished second overall in the 60m hurdles final, clocking 8.50 seconds on Saturday evening. She was defeated by Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals’ Cheyenne Williamson who won the gold in a time of 8.41 seconds. Filling up the third position was the Missouri Southern State University Lions’ Claire Luallen who ran 8.62 seconds.

In the final event of the meet, the women’s 4x400m relay, Cartwright and her team were able to come away with the bronze medal after running 3:47.45. The sophomore ran a split of 58.88 seconds.

The Colorado Mesa University Mavericks’ team won that relay with a time of 3:47.09. The Hillsdale College Chargers finished in second position when they clocked 3:47.45.

Cartwright got the ball rolling on Saturday evening when she ran in the women’s 60m dash. The Bahamian went on to clock 7.57 seconds to finish sixth overall. This race was won by Grand Valley State University Lakers’ Angelica Floyd with a time of 7.44 seconds. Finishing second was the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions’ Kayla Zink. She clocked 7.47 seconds. Finishing third was Concordia University, St. Paul Golden Bears’ Toni Canfall, when she posted 7.48 seconds.

In the women’s 200m race, Cartwright ran a time of 24.67 seconds to place seventh overall. The Chargers’ Kajsa Johansson won the competitive race in 24.03 seconds. Emmanuel College Lions’ Jharna Alston powered her way to a second place finish after posting a fast time of 24.35 seconds. The Lakers’ Nicole Sreenan was third overall with a time of 24.37 seconds.

West Texas A&M Buffaloes’ sophomore Jahmaal Wilson ran out of lane eight in the final of the men’s 60m hurdles. He finished seventh in a time of 8.03 seconds – an improvement from his run in the preliminaries. Winning that race was Ashland University Eagles’ Trevor Bassitt with a time of 7.83 seconds. Finishing second was Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions’ Dorian Andrews, after he posted a time of 7.90 seconds. Rounding out the podium spots was Kornelius Klah of Minnesota State in 7.95 seconds.

Wilson’s personal best in that event is 7.93 seconds. In the heats, he finished fourth in a time of 8.08 seconds, running out of the second heat.

Shyrone Kemp was in the men’s triple jump for the Minnesota State University at Moorhead Dragons. He finished with a best jump of 15.18m (49’ 9-3/4”) that was good enough for fifth overall. The Grand Bahamian did that mark on his third attempt after fouling the first two attempts.

Winning that event was the Mountain Lions’ Dakota Abbott. He leapt a distance of 15.69m (51’ 5-3/4”). Finishing second was the Lincoln University Lions’ Kizan David who posted a jump of 15.61m (51’ 2-3/4”). The Buffaloes’ Peniel Richard secured the final podium spot with a jump of 15.56m (51’ 0-3/4”).

Cartwright helped the Mavericks to a second-place overall finish with 40 points in the women’s division. It was their best finish in program history. Wilson and the Buffaloes men’s team finished third overall with 39 points. Kemp and the Dragons was 38th overall with four points.

The short but exciting indoor season has ended. Athletes will now turn their attention to the NCAA outdoor track and field season set to get underway this weekend.

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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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