A trio of Bahamians enjoyed top three finishes at division two championships
While some Bahamian collegiate athletes were looking to make the national championships in division one track and field over the weekend, a trio competed in the division two championships which wrapped up on Saturday at the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Track & Field Stadium in Allendale, Michigan, USA.
In individual events, Bahamian athletes secured a gold, silver and bronze, along with relay gold, at the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Men and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
It was a busy weekend for Denisha Cartwright as she competed in three events along with the women’s 4×100 meters (m) relay.
Cartwright, a sophomore for the Minnesota State University at Mankato Mavericks, struck gold in the women’s 100m hurdles, winning comfortably in a new personal best time of 13.35 seconds, earning 10 points for her school. She ran 13.40 seconds in the heats. Shanette Allison, a sophomore for the Lincoln University Blue Tigers, was a distant second in 13.68 seconds, and Marie-Jeanne Ourega, a freshman with the Academy of Art Urban Knights, finished third in 13.79 seconds.
This is the second time in her collegiate career that Cartwright has earned All-American First Team honors in the 100m hurdles. She finished third at the 2021 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. This is also the first time a Mavericks athlete has captured a national title in that event in program history.
In the women’s 200m, Cartwright just missed out on a medal, settling for fourth in a personal best time of 23.55 seconds, and earning five points for her school. She ran 23.56 seconds in the heats. Winning the national title was Leah Belfield, a sophomore at West Texas A&M, in 23.30 seconds, finishing second was Selena Arjona-Alcazar, a junior at the Academy of Art, in 23.42 seconds, and rounding out the top three was Ayana Fields, a sophomore at Cal Poly Pomona, in 23.54 seconds.
Cartwright earned another All-American First Team honor in the women’s 100m. She finished seventh in that final in 11.94 seconds after running a personal best time of 11.46 seconds in the heats.
In the women’s 4x100m relay, the Mavericks’ team of Cartwright, Ja’Cey Simmons, Rose Cramer and Makayla Jackson, in that order, won the title in 44.29 seconds, earning 10 points for their school. West Texas A&M was second in 44.31 seconds, and the Academy of Art finished third in 45.02 seconds. The Mavericks ran 44.47 seconds in the heats.
The Mavericks women’s 4x100m relay squad became the first relay team to claim that title in school history. All four of the athletes earned All-American First Team honors for their efforts in capturing the national championship.
The Mavericks women finished third overall with 57 team points – the best team finish in program history, surpassing a seventh-place finish in 2010. West Texas A&M won with 77 points and host school Grand Valley State finished second with 64 points.
Among the men, Bahamian Jahmaal Wilson, a sophomore for the West Texas A&M Buffaloes, finished second in the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.80 seconds after running 13.89 seconds in the heats. The NCAA Division II record holder in that event could not duplicate the blazing 13.35 seconds that he ran two weeks earlier at the West Texas Last Chance Meet in Canyon, Texas, and had to settle for second in the two-section final.
Louis Rollins, a senior at Pittsburg State University, won in 13.65 seconds; Wilson had to settle for second, and TJ Caldwell, a freshman at Pittsburg State, finished third in 13.89 seconds.
Over in the men’s triple jump, Bahamian Shyrone Kemp, a junior for the Minnesota State University at Moorhead Dragons, finished third with a best leap of 15.75m (51’ 8-1/4”), matching his personal best and tying the school record he set earlier in the season at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, California. He entered the competition ranked fourth in that event.
Mathieu Tshani, a junior for the Academy of Art, won the gold with a leap of 16.19m (53’ 1-1/2”), Henry Kiner, a junior at Pittsburg State, finished second with a leap of 15.85m (52’), and Kemp rounded out the top three. With the third place finish, Kemp earned All-American First Team
honors for a third time in his collegiate career including a national runner-up finish indoors in March.
He was the only athlete from the school to earn first team honors at the division two outdoor nationals this year. Kemp has five Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) titles in the men’s triple jump and holds school records indoors and outdoors.
Wilson and the Buffaloes finished second in the men’s team standings with 61 points while Kemp and the Dragons finished in a three-way tie for 36th with the six points that he earned in the men’s triple jump competition. Pittsburg State won the title with 70 points, the Buffaloes were second, and host school Grand Valley State University rounded out the top three with 56 points.
As for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, that meet is set for June 8-11 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.