Jamaicans set to shine at MEAC indoor meet
Published: Friday | February 13, 2009
JAMAICAN athletes will be out in large numbers this weekend at the first track and field indoor collegiate championships, the Mid Eastern Athletics Conference (MEAC), in Landover, Maryland.
The three-day meet which started yesterday has attracted 11 teams with defending female champions, Hampton University, seeking their eighth successive and ninth overall championships.
Last year, they failed to win the title outright as they tied for top spot with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), coached by Jamaican Ernest Barrett.
Last year, UMES were led to that position by four Jamaicans - Merrecia James, Celia Whyte, Tamika Thomas and Tanisha Wisdom - who all played major roles.
It will be tougher this time around as although Whyte, Thomas and James are expected to dominate the middle and long-distance events, they will surely miss the services of Wisdom who graduated last summer.
Wisdom won the 200 and 400 metres last year and played crucial roles on the winning 4x400 and distance-medley relay teams.
Hampton have been strengthened this year by the inclusion of Jamaicans Claudia Calder, Petrice Richards and Kristal McGregor.
Calder, formerly of Alpha Academy, is ranked number one in the high jump and at two in the pentathlon. Richards, the former GC Foster College athlete, is ranked number one in the 60 metres with 7.44 seconds and fourth in the 200 metres with 24.46 seconds.
McGregor, formerly of St Andrew High, is the top-ranked athlete in the conference in throwing events.
Hampton is also expected to get points from Jamaican-born Racquel Vassell, who is ranked number one in the 60 metres hurdles (8.34) , 200 metres( 23.91) and long jump (5.93m).
They also have the fastest athlete over 400 metres, as Francena McCrory ran a world indoor leading time of 52.06 seconds in New York last weekend.
North Carolina A&T, with former Morant Bay High athlete Kimona Smith in the triple and long jumps; former Alpha Academy student Jerene Foster in the shot put and discus; Khadine Isaacs in the high jump; and former St Andrew High athlete Katherine Forrester in both the shot put and discus, are expected to score many points for their team.
UMES will be hoping to unseat defending champions Norfolk University in the male section with Olympian Allodin Fothergill set to lead the way. Fothergill, formerly of GC Foster College, is the defending champion in the 200 and 400 metres.
Coppin State will be hoping that their Jamaicans will play pivotal roles in their victory bid.
Former GC Foster College standout Carlington Morgan in the 400 and 800 metres, along with Teo Bennett in the 200 and 400 metres, and former Vere Technical 800m runner Kayon Thomas, are expected to score heavily in the 800 and 1500 metres.