by RENALDO DORSETT
Six Bahamian student-athletes earned berths to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with their performances at respective regional preliminaries this weekend.
It was a round that produced an NCAA leading performance for Latario Collie-Minns in the West and new school records for Devynne Charlton and Carmiesha Cox in relays in the East.
The National Championships take place June 10-13, hosted by the University of Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The West Preliminary was hosted by the University of Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The Texas A and M Aggies with their second ranked men’s team featured both seniors Collie-Minns and Shavez Hart.
Collie-Minns finished as the region’s number one overall seed in the triple jumper with a leap of 16.55m (54′ 3 3/4″), ahead of the remainder of the field by just over two feet.
Hart will head to Eugene with qualifications in both short sprints.
In the 100m, he placed third in his heat with a wind-aided time of 10.15s (2.4 wind) to advance.
Hart also advanced in the 200m when he won his heat in 20.63s, the fourth fastest time in the region.
In the 4x100m Hart teamed with Elijah Morrow, Devin Jenkins and Deon Lendore to win their heat in 39.05s and qualify for nationals.
“My main focus was to get through the rounds and finish in the top three. I worked on my execution and my push. I had a good reaction, but my drive phase wasn’t as good. I’m learning to stay patient and not get too hyped with others in the same race as me,” Hart told the Aggies athletic websitewww.12thman.com, “I wanted to build up a rhythm going into Eugene and this was a nice prep race for nationals.”
The Aggies qualified 28 athletes for nationals including 15 men and 13 women.
Also in the West, redshirt junior sprinter Tynia Gaither qualified individually in the 100m and as a member of the 4x100m relay team.
Redshirt junior Tynia Gaither finished third in the final heat of the quarterfinals in a wind aided 11.32s (+2.5 wind).
Her time ranked eighth overall in the region.
In the 4x100m, Gaither overcame an ailing hamstring to finish strong and led her team to a winning time of 44.50s in their heat.
Slowed by the hamstring down the stretch, Gaither delivered a valiant effort when limped her way to the finish and the fifth fastest time in the region.
The Trojans earned 25 individual spots at the NCAA Championships, and an additional three relay teams.
The East Preliminary was hosted by the University of North Florida and the City of Jacksonville at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville Florida.
Charlton and Cox both qualified for the Purdue Boilermakers.
Charlton qualified individually in the 100m hurdles and finished second in her heat with a time of 13.21s
Her time was the 10th fastest of the quarterfinals.
She was also a member of the 4x100m alongside Cox, Savannah Carson and Brionna Thomas.
They broke the school record with a time of 43.97s and advanced to the Nationals with the second-fastest of the heat.
Cox and the women’s 4x400m relay team, which included Aaron Jones, Symone Black and Thomas also set a new school record and advanced to Eugene in a time of 3:31.70s.
Also in the East region, Teray Smith of Auburn University qualified individually in the 200m and as a member of the 4x100m team.
He was one of seven members of the Tigers team to advance.
The sophomore sprinter ran a personal best of 20.60s to finish tenth overall.
In the 4x100m relay, Smith and his team qualified in a time of 39.66s.
There were several other Bahamian student athletes who competed at the regional prelims but were unable to advance.
In the West, Trevor Mackey of Texas Tech came up short in the 100m, 37th overall in 10.47s and 200m,35th overall in 21.33s.
In the East, Henri Delauze of Miami finished 36th overall in 47.49s while
Ashley Riley of Southeastern Louisiana was 38th overall in 47.48s.
Danielle Gibson of Penn State was 44th in the long jump at 5.55m (18′ 2 1/2″) and 31st in the triple jump at 12.31m (40′ 4 3/4″).
Kinard Rolle of Purdue and his 4x400m team finished 19th with a time of 3:08.74s and missed qualifying by just over two seconds.
To qualify for these preliminary rounds, individuals had to be among the top 48 in their event, while relay teams had to be top among the top 24.
For the Nationals, the top competitors from each individual event and twelve teams from each relay event advanced.