Tyra Gittens was on fire in Arkansas, USA, on Friday night, the Texas A&M University student striking gold in the women’s high jump and long jump events at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Indoor Championships.
Gittens topped the high jump field with a 1.89 metres clearance. She then equalled her own Trinidad and Tobago indoor long jump record, disturbing the sand at 6.62m for an impressive victory.
On Thursday, Gittens finished sixth in the pentathlon with 3,818 points. The 22-year-old was among the favourites in the five-discipline event. However, she could only manage a 4.11m leap in the long jump, and finished off the podium. On Friday, Gittens bounced back in fine style.
“Today (Friday) was about beating myself,” said the talented T&T athlete, “because yesterday I let the negative Tyra, the bad Tyra that we don’t like to see, I let her overtake and I let her win yesterday. Today I relaxed, I let go and everything that I wanted to do was executed and I cannot be happier, I’m so proud of myself.”
On Saturday, Cherisse Murray threw a personal best 17.13m to secure SEC Championship women’s shot put silver. The University of Alabama senior bettered 17 metres for the first time in her career in round five, the 17.13 effort highlighting an impressive series that also included 16.94, 16.73 and 16.69 throws.
Dwight St Hillaire just missed out on the podium in the men’s 400m, the University of Kentucky senior finishing second in section two and fourth overall in the finals in 45.67 seconds. St Hillaire was fifth fastest in the qualifying round in 46.05. Another T&T quartermiler, Alabama senior Joshua Jacob St Clair was 14th in 47.65. The top eight progressed to the finals.
At the T-Bird Indoor Qualifier in New Mexico, last Tuesday, New Mexico Junior College sprinters Tyrell Edwards, Onil Mitchell and Aaron Brewster finished one-two-three in the men’s 60m dash. Edwards clocked 6.73 seconds, Mitchell 6.87 and Brewster 6.96. Their New Mexico teammate, Timothy Frederick was seventh fastest in 7.17.
There was another T&T/New Mexico sweep in the men’s 200m. Edwards won in 20.98 seconds, finishing ahead of Jalen Purcell (21.05) and Brewster (21.62). Ayla Stanisclaus dominated the women’s 60m dash, the New Mexico sophomore winning in 7.38.
At the Big Ten Championships, in Ohio, University of Minnesota sophomore Akilah Lewis bagged bronze in the women’s 60m in a personal best 7.39 seconds.
Kion Benjamin finished fifth in the men’s 60m final in 6.77. Benjamin was faster in the qualifying round, clocking 6.76 to advance fourth fastest. His Minnesota teammate, Jaydon Antoine was 16th in a personal best 6.97. The top nine progressed to the final.
Benjamin finished 11th overall in the 200m, the sophomore clocking 21.56 seconds on the oversized track. University of Illinois quartermiler Kashief King was 11th in the men’s 400m in 48.34.
Ianna Roach threw the iron ball an indoor best 14.51m for 15th spot in the women’s shot put. The University of Iowa student was 18th in the weight throw with a 16.37m effort.
At the Championships at the Peak meet, in Colorado, Tamia Badal finished seventh in the women’s 60m hurdles final in 8.65 seconds. The University of Colorado student was faster in the preliminaries, getting to the line in 8.62 for second spot in heat one.
Rae-Anne Serville won her women’s 400m heat, the 18-year-old University of Southern California (USC) student getting to the line in 54.18 seconds—a new T&T junior (under-20) record. Serville was fourth overall in the preliminary round, but opted out of the finals.