by RENALDO DORSETT
Several of the Bahamas’ top athletes are on the path to the NCAA Track and Field Championships next month and will compete against the best in Division I this weekend for one of 12 prestigious spots in their respective disciplines.
Regional Preliminaries in both the East and West Regions begin today and concludes May 30 when the final list of qualifiers for the National Championships are ratified.
To qualify for these preliminary rounds, individuals had to among the top 48 in their event, while relay teams had to be top 24.
For the Nationals, the top competitors from each individual event and twelve teams from each relay event advance.
The West Preliminary will feature some of the top rankings Bahamians in the NCAA and is hosted by the University of Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The Texas A and M Aggies and their second ranked men’s team will field both Latario Collie Minns and Shavez Hart.
Collie- Minns comes in as the No. 1 overall seed in the triple jump with an NCAA leading leap of 17.25m.
He is also ranked at No. 6 in the long jump at 7.86m.
Collie-Minns will take flight in the first round of the long jump today at 5pm local time and will contest the triple jump Saturday at 5pm.
Hart, the senior sprinter was also a dual individual qualifier in both the 100m and 200m.
In the the century, he comes in ranked at No.10 with a time of 10.10s and No.3 in the 200m in a time of 20.23s.
The first round of the 100m heats begin at 5:55pm this afternoon and the opening round of the 200m, tomorrow at 7:25pm.
Also competing at both distances alongside Hart will be Trevor Mackey of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, ranked at No.12 among men’s teams.
Mackey earned qualifications in the 100m with his No.19 time of 10.29s and in the 200m, ranked No. 20 with a time of 20.76s.
Also in the West prelims, Tynia Gaither, a redshirt junior for the No.1 ranked women’s team – the University of Southern California Trojans, was a top ten qualifier in both short sprints.
In the 100m, she comes in with the No.9 time in 11.27s and No.8 time in the 200m in 22.97s.
The women’s 100m begins at 5:30pm today and at the 200m at 7pm.
Gaither will also compete in the 4x100m relay.
The East Preliminary is hosted by the University of North Florida and the City of Jacksonville at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville Florida.
The Purdue Boilermakers will include one top Bahamian performers in this region, sprint hurdler Devynne Charlton.
Charlton has the No. 7 time in the 100m hurdles at 13.06s and begins competition tomorrow on the first event of the schedule at 5pm.
She also is part of the 4x400m relay team, which has the 10th-best time in the region alongside Carmeisha Cox.
Cox will also compete in the 4x100m relay.
Penn State’s Danielle Gibson was a dual qualifier in both the long and triple jump.
She is seeded at No.26 in the long jump at 6.15m and will compete tomorrow at 6pm.
In the triple jump, she comes in at No.18 with a leap of 12.89m, set to take place Saturday at 7pm.
On the track, Teray Smith of Auburn University comes in at No.9 in the 200m in 20.54s.
The opening round of the event takes place tomorrow at 8:25pm.
On the women’s side of the event, Tayla Carter of Western Carolina will compete tomorrow at 8pm and she comes in ranked at No.34 with a time of 23.60s.
A pair of quatermilers will compete in the opening round of the 400m tonight at 7:45pm.
The National Championships take place June 10-13 at hosted by the University of Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.