Taylor breaks record as Bahamians continue to shine

Charisma Taylor continued her dominance this season, breaking her own school record in the triple jump outdoors with a leap of 13.48 meters (m) – 44’ 2-3/4” – to win that event at the Fresno State University West Coast Relays at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Fresno, California, on Friday.

Taylor was one of several Bahamians who performed at a high level on the collegiate stage this past weekend.

In addition to breaking the school record, the Washington State University (WSU) Cougars sophomore also broke the meet and stadium records. The previous meet record was 13.46m (44’ 2”), done by Sheila Hudson back in 1988. The stadium record was held by Ja’la Henderson – a mark of 13.37m (43’ 10-1/2”), done in 2018.

Taylor now has the eighth best mark in the triple jump this season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. She now has the fifth-best mark in the NCAA Division I West Region. The former Queen’s College athlete has the best mark in the Pac-12 Conference this season.

The Cougars athlete was able to make that leap on her first attempt of the day. Her next three attempts were over 13 meters (42’ 8-3/4”), passing on the final two.

Finishing behind Taylor by at least a meter were two Fresno State Bulldogs athletes – Breanna Covington and Tijana Antic. Covington was second after recording a jump of 12.48m (40’ 11-1/2”). Antic jumped 12.14m (39’ 10”) to come away with the bronze medal.

Taylor was not finished putting on a show at the meet. She went on to cross the finish first in the women’s 100m hurdles. She comfortably won that event with a personal best time of 13.36 seconds which was the second-fastest time in program history. Finishing second was California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) Mustangs’ Molly Ross. She ran 13.55 seconds to finish ahead of third-place finisher Eriana Henderson who clocked 13.56 seconds. Henderson ran for the University of Colorado Buffaloes.

Also inking her name in the record books was Wagner College Seahawks’ Tiffany Hanna, who finished with a program record in the hammer throw. The senior launched the hammer 51.65m (169 5”) to finish second at the Northeast Conference (NEC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Bryant Track in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

That distance broke a 21-year program record. The record-breaking throw came on her fifth throw to break Angelica Iannone’s record of 48.83m (160’ 2-1/2”) in that event. Hanna qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships set for May 15-16.

Winning that event was Sacred Heart University Pioneers’ Madelyn Bradway who posted a throw of 51.82m (170’). Finishing third was Mount St. Mary’s University Mountaineers’ Emily Eckard with a throw of 50.25m (164’ 10”).

In the women’s discus, Hanna had a massive throw of 47.74m (156’ 7”) to win the gold medal. In the process, she again set a new discus record for Wagner College, breaking her own school record of 46.15m (151’ 5”) which was set two months ago. Bradway finished second with a throw of 41.16m (135’) and Eckard won the bronze medal with a throw of 39.42m (129’ 4”).

In the shot put, Hanna finished fourth with a throw of 12.25m (40’ 2-1/4”). Sherene Williams, a freshman for the Long Island University (LIU) Sharks won that event with a throw of 12.78m (41’ 11-1/4”). Bryant University Bulldogs’ sophomore Kasey Thomas finished second with a throw of 12.51m (41’ 0-1/2”), and Sacred Heart’s junior Samantha Curran won the bronze medal with a heave of 12.29m (40’ 3-3/4”).

“I couldn’t have imagined it being any better,” said Hanna. “If you had told me four to five months ago that i would be in this position right now, I probably would have laughed at you. COVID-19 really took its toll on me. I just continued to work and continued to progress. I’m very happy. I want to thank my parents, the rest of the family, my coaches and most of all God. He really pulled me through all of this. I’m very grateful.”

Hanna was named as the Most Outstanding Female Field Performer of the meet.

Over at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, it was Florida International University (FIU) Panthers Rhema Otabor who won her fourth javelin throw event of the season. She threw 53.47m (175’ 5”) at the University of North Florida Invitational on Friday afternoon. The freshman made that throw on her second throw of the day and all three of her recorded throws were over 53 meters (173’ 10”).

Finishing behind the Bahamian was Villanova University Wildcats Taryn Ashby who posted a throw of 50.69m (166’ 3”). The bronze medal was won by Florida State Seminoles’ Sara Zabarino who recorded a throw of 49.41m (162’ 1”).

The Panthers will now focus on the Conference-USA Championships set for May 13-16 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Shakeem Smith placed second in the 400m hurdles for his team, the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) Miners, on Saturday. The senior powered his way around the track in 50.65 seconds at the Desert Heat Classic at the Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.

He was unable to finish ahead of Oklahoma University Sooners Isaiah Levingston who ran 49.42 seconds. Finishing in third place was the University of Oregon Ducks Will Mundy who posted a time of 51.76 seconds.

Also picking up a silver medal was Purdue University Boilermakers’ Samson Colebrooke in the 200m. The senior clocked a wind-aided 20.73 seconds, losing in a photo finish to Ohio State Buckeyes’ senior Eric Harrison who posted the same time. Those performances came at the Jesse Owens Track Classic at the Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. A closer look revealed that Samson ran 20.728 seconds while Harrison clocked 20.723 seconds.

Harrison’s teammate Donnie James crossed the finish line in 20.83 seconds to win the bronze. Another Bahamian, Adrian Curry, was in that race. Curry, who runs for the Buckeyes, clocked 21.88 seconds to finish 12th overall.

Megan Moss had a busy weekend, running for the University of Kentucky (UK) Wildcats at the Kentucky Invitational at the UK Track and Field Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. The freshman ran the 200m, 400m and the 4x100m relay.

Moss came third in the 400m as she was unable to hold off two unattached runners. The Bahamian finished in a time of 52.41 seconds. Winning that event was Maggie Barrie who ran unattached and clocked 51.83 seconds. Finishing second was Naasha Robinson who ran a time of 52.19 seconds.

In the 200m, Moss ran a wind-aided 23.60 seconds to finish sixth. Winning that event was the University of Cincinnati Bearcats’ Caisja Chandler with a time of 22.97 seconds. A quartet of professional runners finished second through fifth in times ranging from 23.20 to 23.54 seconds.

Moss anchored their 4x100m relay team to a win in a time of 45.15 seconds. The team consisted of Shadajah Ballard, Dajour Miles, Faith Ross and Moss. They finished ahead of the Murray State University Racers who ran 45.42 seconds. The Bearcats finished third after posting a time of 45.68 seconds.

Also at that meet was Bahamian female hurdler Devynne Charlton. She ran the 100m hurdles and clocked 12.91 seconds to finish first. Charlton was the only competitor to run under 13 seconds. The Wildcats’ Darci Khan and Masai Russell finished second and third, respectively. Kahn posted a time of 13.27 seconds and Russell ran 13.48 seconds.

Serena Brown and her University of Iowa Hawkeyes teammate snagged the top two positions in the discus at the Billy Hayes Invite at the Billy Hayes Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Indiana. Brown posted a throw of 57.04m (187’ 1-3/4”) to win the silver medal. Her teammate Laulauga Tausaga finished first with a throw of 58.22m (191’ 0-1/4”). Finishing third was Indiana University Hoosiers Khayla Dawson who recorded a throw of 54.25m (177’ 11-3/4”).

Also participating in that same meet was Jyles Etienne. The Hoosiers jumper finished second in the high jump after clearing 2.13m (6’ 11-3/4”). Winning that event was the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers Mayson Conner who cleared 2.22m (7’ 3-1/2”). Conner’s teammate Michael Hoffer cleared 2.09m (6’ 10-1-4”) for third.

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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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