Arkansas Invitational - -Jamaica's Ackera Nugent Takes First Place at Arkansas Invitational
Ackera Nugent is a former World U20 champion and record holder in the 100m hurdles. She is a sophomore at Arkansas and took first place in the women's 60m hurdles at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas on January 28, 2023.

As tradition dictates, this was more than evident in the sprints and hurdles; however, Jamaica was nearly as dominant ( if not more) in the field event jumps at last weekend’s NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Jaydon Hibbert and Romaine Beckford Soar to Victory, Continuing Jamaica’s Field Event Dominance

Coming off both Men and Women’s Long Jump victories, courtesy of Ackelia Smith and Carey McLeod’s, Jamaica ended up winning all three men’s jumps, with Jaydon Hibbert (also competing for Arkansas) continuing his dominance in his signature triple jump and Romaine Beckford narrowly surviving Vernon Turner with a 7 foot 5 .25 or 2.27m high jump to Turner’s 2.27m/ 7 foot 5 and .25 on attempt count backs.

Hibbert, who went undefeated as a triple jumper in 2023, followed his long jumping teammate’s McLeod example and won the competition on his opening mark of 17.56m. “The plan now is to take a break, of course, after a long NCAA season, get ready for the national championships in Jamaica, qualify once more for the world championships, and finish the year strong and healthy,” said Hibbert.

Jamaican Owayne Owens of the University of Virginia was sixth with 16.36m. Jamaica’s presence in the field events was not limited to the jumps. Despite being the National leader in the men’s Discus, Roje Stona finished 2nd at NCAA with a 65.55m. His countryman, Kevin Nedrick, was eighth with a 61.93 m throw on behalf of Liberty University. Like the Long Jump, Jamrock took storming victories in the men’s and women’s straight sprint hurdles.

Ackera Nugent and Philip Lemonious Triumph in Hurdles, Celebrating Surprise Victories

Philip Lemonious and Ackera Nugent overjoyed at their surprising results in the 110m and 100m hurdles, respectively, for Arkansas. The race started pretty evenly; however, Russell would Clip the second hurdle, and Armstrong would taper off by 55m, as Nugent remained steady in her pace and rhythm. By 75m Nugent was in complete control of the race and proceeded to power through the finish. “I don’t know what to say,”

Nugent gratefully cried over her all conditions record of 12.25 (+3.8m/s). “I have been working very hard because last year I was in the stands. I hung on to God, went on a new journey, and trusted the process.” She was triumphant over Kentucky’s Masai Russell, who owns the official collegiate record of 12.36, and Alia Armstrong of LSU, who had the fastest windy conditioned time coming into Saturday of 12.31. “Those are very two fantastic young ladies, we have been battling the whole season. Their competition has definitely pushed me a lot in practice,” said Nugent.

Russell finished 2nd in 12.32, while Armstrong ran 12.49 for 3rd. Lemonious’ race was more thrilling. The Jamaica College product had to out lean the likes of De’Vion Wilson from Houston (13.26), and fellow Jamaican and Syracuse star Jaheem Hayles (13.28) with a personal best of 13.24. This makes him third best hurdler in Jamaica this season, behind Rasheed Broadbell and Hansle Parchment. Lemonious’ win also makes him the first Razorback to win this event since Omar McLeod in 2015.

“I’m just very speechless,” Lemonious confessed. “I train so hard, and last year took a toll on me; coming back this year and battling through injuries, I had to just trust in my coach who told me this is your championship too, and just go get it.”

Julien Alfred and Kevona Davis Lead Texas to Team Title with Impressive Sprint Performances

Although the women’s sprints were dominated by St. Lucian Julien Alfred, the Junior longhorn upped her birthday gift to herself from last year, not only winning both the 100m and 200m, with slightly windy (+2.3/2.5 m/s) 10.72 and 21.73 but of course finally helping Texas to that recently elusive team title with her collaborative efforts in the relay. “It means a lot, winning a team title while defending our home track,” said Alfred in a post-200 m race interview. “Thank God, I’m grateful.”

Her teammate Kevona Davis was behind her every step of the way. Davis finished 5th in 10.98 for the 100m final and 3rd in 22.02 for the 200m. She also anchored their and the NCAA’s second fastest time ever of 41.60 for the 4x100m final, thus powering her Longhorns to a blowout team title. “I trust my teammates, and when they get the stick around, I know I have to get it across the line,” said Davis. It also helped to have the eventual 400m champion on the quartet to run the third leg. Adeleke would upset NCAA record holder American Britton Wilson of Arkansas (49.20-49.64), making her ambitions for the 400m and 400m hurdle double moot.

Third would be Jamaican Nickisha Pryce’s run of 50.23. Florida accumulated enough points in the men’s 4x400m relays to confirm a team title. Their new NCAA record of 2:57.74 was hard-earned, edging Arizona State’s 2:57.78. Kingston College alum, JeVaughn Powell ( who finished 7th (45.32) in the 400m final), ran a solid third leg for the Gators to clinch their 6th outdoor title in 11 years.


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