Allen heads J'cans in NCAA East Championships
More than 30 Jamaicans, led by the University of Auburn's Nathon Allen, will be hoping to advance to next month's NCAA Division One Championships when the three-day East and West preliminary Championships get under way today.
The East Championships will be held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, while California State University in Sacramento will host the West.
The top 12 individual athletes from both meets, along with relay teams, will move forward to the National Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 6-9.
Following his impressive showing two weeks ago at the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Championships where he clocked a personal-best 44.28 seconds for the 400m to emerge the leading collegiate male athlete in the event, Allen will be hoping to maintain that impressive form when the East competition begins today.
Allen's teammate, Akeem Bloomfield, will also be in the event. Bloomfield, the Indoor 400m champion, was pulled from the SEC finals due to a minor injury in his hip. He has a season's best of 45.06.
Both Auburn's Raheem Chambers and Waheem Williams of Purdue University will be looking to advance in the 100m. They both have personal best times of 10.10 set at their recent Conference championships.
Other Jamaican males down to compete in the East are Damion Thomas in the 110m hurdles for Louisiana State University; University of Florida's Clayton Brown; Demar Robinson, who will do the high jump for the University of Louisville; and Jordan Scott, who will compete in the triple jump for the University of Virginia.
Sharika Barnett, who is ranked number four in the 400m with 50.69 seconds, will lead the way in the East for the females for the University of Florida. The women's 100m will include Natalliah Whyte and Jonielle Smith out of Auburn, while Smith's former teammate at Wolmer's Girls, Shauna Helps, is down for both the 100m and 200m for Florida State University.
Kemar Mowatt and Rushelle Burton will be the top Jamaicans in the West. Mowatt, who will compete for the University of Arkansas, is the second seed in the men's 400m hurdles with 49.32 seconds. Burton is the second seed in the women's 100m hurdles with a best of 12.65 seconds.