Former schoolboy stars making their marks
Former schoolboy stars Nathon Allen and Akeem Bloomfield are the latest Jamaicans to go under 45 seconds in the 400 metres this season.
The two finished second and third, respectively, in the one-lap event on yesterday's final day of competition of the Southeastern Conference Championships on the campus of the University of South Carolina, Colombia.
Allen, a former St Jago High athlete, clocked a personal best 44.52 while Bloomfield, formerly of Kingston College, lowered his best to 44.81. Both competed for Auburn University. The event was won by American Fred Kerley of Texas A&M University in 44.30.
Allen is now at the number-three spot on the IAAF World list while Bloomfield is at number six. Kerley is at the top following the 44.09 he clocked in the preliminary round on Friday. Jamaica has three runners in the top 10. Demish Gaye who clocked a career best 44.85 a week ago at the JAAA All Comers meet inside the National Stadium, is at number eight.
FASTEST THIS SEASON
Former Munro College athlete Kemar Mowatt was a winner at the meet on yesterday's final day. A junior at the University of Arkansas, Mowatt stopped the clock at 48.79 seconds to capture the men's 400m hurdles and become the fastest Jamaican so far this season in the event. He is at number seven on the IAAF World list. Eric Futch of Florida was second in 48.82 with third going to Robert Grant of Texas A&M University in 49.15s.
Clayton Brown, a former Jamaica College student, also had a top-three finish at the meet. Competing for the University of Florida, Brown was second in the men's high jump after clearing the bar at 2.19 metres. Keenan Laine of the University of Georgia won with 2.25 metres.
BACK ON TRACK
Former Wolmer's Girl's star Joniel Smith and Sashel Brown, a former Convent of Mercy athlete, had top-two finishes. Smith, who had been plagued by injuries in the past, appears to be back on track this season as she finished a close second in the women's 100m final in 11.13 behind winner Aleia Hobbs of Louisiana State University, who won in 11.12.
Following her second place recently at the Penn Relays in the college women's 400m hurdles, Brown, who, like Smith, competed for the University of Auburn, finished second in the women's Intermediate hurdle final in 56.86 seconds. Tyler Brockinghton, competing at home for the University of South Carolina, won in 55.97.
Earlier on yesterday's final day, both Brown and Smith teamed up with former St Jago High sprinter Nataliah Whyte for Auburn to place third in the women's 4x100 metres in 43.35 seconds behind winners, Louisiana State University (42.56) and Texas A&M University, 43.31.