Sixteen-year-old Tina Clayton produced the most outstanding performance over the weekend (9-11) as her team Jamaica dominated the NACAC U23 and U18 Championships, the first of the area’s regional events in 17 months.

Clayton improved her 100m personal best from 11.25 to 11.17 to claim gold in the U18 category. Despite her impressive time, the best by world ranking standards, the mark was not among the 17 championship records broken at Costa Rica’s National Stadium. Her countrywoman and 2018 world U20 champion Briana Williams kept her 11.11 time clocked at the previous edition in Mexico in 2019.

A world leader among U18 athletes, Clayton’s 11.17 places her third-fastest among U20 athletes in 2021, behind fellow Jamaicans Williams (10.97) and Ackera Nugent (11.09).

Two other 16-year-old Jamaicans also left their mark in San Jose. Alana Reid ran 23.78 for 200m gold and became the first U18 woman to break 24 seconds at the championships. Reid also anchored her team to the 4x100m title in 45.49. She was joined by 100m silver medallist Serena Cole, Clayton and Kerrica Hill.

World leader Jaydon Hibbert broke the 16-metre barrier with a 16.02m leap in the triple jump, a 34cm improvement on his previous best.

The world’s fastest U20 sprint hurdler and fourth-fastest ever, Nugent, returned to the regional event where she placed second in the U18 category and to the same stadium where she claimed silver at the Pan American U20 Championships in 1999. The 2021 NCAA bronze medallist easily dominated the 100m hurdles in 13.64, despite a strong headwind of -2.2m/s.

Sprint hurdler Orlando Bennett (13.65), 400m specialist Charokee Young (52.06) and long jumper Shakwon Coke (7.88m into a -2.6m/s wind) also shone for Jamaica, all in the U23 category. Alicke Cranston also impressed with his 10.42 winning time in the 100m.

Alexander Ogando, member of the bronze medal-winning team for the Dominican Republic at the 2021 World Athletics Relays in Poland, impressed on the final day by winning the 200m in 20.59, just 0.05 shy of his personal best. Ogando, who has run 45.01 for 400m, will be a key piece in his country’s mixed relay at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

With the CARIFTA Games suspended two consecutive years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the regional championships opened an elusive competitive opportunity for U20 athletes in the region. Eighteen-year-old Bahamian Camille Rutherford took the sprint double in 11.36 and 23.42, a personal best at the longer distance.

National record-holder and Tokyo-bound Jonathan Jones won one of the five gold medals for Barbados by covering the one-lap race in 46.20, in a close battle with Jamaica’s 2018 world U20 silver medallist Christopher Taylor, who was second with 46.58. Taylor is also qualified for the Summer Games.

Shiann Salmon, Taylor, 100m silver medallist Odaine Mcpherson and Young joined their efforts to set a new standard of 3:20.71 in the mixed relay, contested for the first time at the championships. Their Jamaican teammates Kishay Rowe, Roshawn Clarke, Oneika Brissett and Delano Kennedy set the new time of 3:25.27 in the U18 category.

 Juan Diego Castro led the home team with a victory in the 800m in 1:48.82. Fourth at the 2017 World U18 Championships, he has improved his national record in both the 800m and 1500m. His 17-year-old compatriot Sharon Lisseth Herrera set a meeting record in the 5000m race walk with 23:18.14.

In the same event, Guatemala’s Yasury Betzayda Palacios rewrote the record books with a 22:31.13 effort in the U23 category. In total 13 records were broken, plus the two mixed relays.

With 61 athletes, Jamaica dominated the medal tally with 67 medals (39 gold, 18 silver and 10 bronze), ahead of the host nation (19-20-23=62) and Bahamas (17-18-7=42). All 19 participating nations won at least one medal. Due to Covid restrictions, some regional powerhouses did not attend, including the United States, Canada, Cuba and Mexico.

Texas A&M’s Charokee Young plans to arrive at Jamaica’s national championships next week refreshed and ready to secure a spot on Jamaica’s team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Jamaica’s Olympic hopefuls Charokee Young and Chrisann Gordon-Powell won their respective 400m races in contrasting fashion at the 2021 LSU Alumni Gold meet at the Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday.

Texas A&M’s Charokee Young will miss out on the SEC Championships that began on Thursday because she has been exposed to someone infected by Covid-19.

 Charokee Young believes improving her running form and having a better understanding of what she does has led to better performances so far this season.

The 20-year-old rising star also revealed that she has dropped the 800m because of her love for the 400m and that she is definitely aiming to make Jamaica’s Olympic team to Tokyo this summer.

“I think the Olympics are within my reach. I am pretty close to the times (required to qualify) and I am definitely going to try out for the Olympics. Once I am healthy I am definitely going to try to make the Olympic team,” she said.

Just over a week ago, Young, the former Hydel High School standout, split 51.12 that helped Texas A&M an all-time collegiate-best of 3:26.27 at the Tyson Invitational, the ninth-fastest time ever. It was also a season-best time, a meet record and facility record.

It was a performance that saw the team named the U.S. Track & Field National Athlete of the Week.

Young told Sportsmax.TV that they went into the race intent on breaking the record.

“Our aim was to break the record and I did my best,” she said. “I wasn’t focused on how fast I was going to run, was just focused on doing my best for that day.”

Prior to enrolling at Texas A&M, Young had personal bests of 2:06.02 and 52.48 in the 800m and 400m, respectively. In her freshman year, she ran 2:05.80 indoors in March 2020, before the pandemic shut down the collegiate season.

So far this season, she has picked up from where she left off, running ran a personal best 51.93 indoors, which along with the 51.12 relay split last week, has demonstrated her steady improvement.

“I have been working on my running form. My form has gotten much better. I also have more knowledge about what I am doing, I am learning more about my body and I am more mature now,” she said while explaining that she anticipates running even faster as she transitions to outdoors later this year.”

“I am getting better each time I touch the track so if I hit personal bests I will be happy. My health is pretty good and the more correct your form is the less you run the risk of getting hurt.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydel track coach Corey Bennett has expressed pride in being involved in the development of an ambitious and "hard-working” Charokee Young.

The former Jamaican high-school star was a key member of Texas A&M’s record-breaking 4x400m relay team that set new standards at the Tyson Invitational in Arkansas last Saturday.

The 20-year-old Young ran a third-leg split of 51.12 as Texas A&M set an all-time collegiate record of 3:26.27.

The incredible time makes them the fourth-fastest women’s 4x400m relay team and is the ninth-fastest in history.

In addition to being a season-best run, the time broke the meet record of 3:27.94 set by Texas in 2016 as well as the facility record of 3:27.66 set by Texas in 2003.

Texas was more than six-seconds behind in second place with their season-best time of 3:32.64. Florida State University also ran a season-best of 3:34.02 for third.

The team of Young, Athing Mu, the U20 indoor 400m world record holder; Syaira Richardson and Jania Martin, will now go down in history as one of the greatest ever in school history. Only Mu’s split of 50.27 was faster than Young’s as Martin opened with 53.04. Richardson, who handed over to the Jamaican, split 51.86 on the second leg.

“3.26 indoor is such a special run, even outdoors, it’s a great run and to have the second-fastest split of 51.1 on such a special team. It’s really a blessing to see that you had something to do with her development,’ said Bennett.

“She is in an excellent programme at Texas A&M and I am so happy that we actually chose that school for her.”

Bennett believes her experience at Hydel has prepared Young for what she has been accomplishing since she enrolled at Texas A&M.

“She is going well. She is improving every weekend. She was also part of several record-breaking Hydel teams at the Penn Relays so she is used to being on several good 4x400m teams,” he said.

Young has thrived at Texas A&M ever since she arrived there two seasons ago after winning the finals of the 800m at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in Kingston in March 2019.

The then Hydel star clocked 2:06.02 to win gold ahead of the talented duo of Shaquena Foote and Abigail Schaaffe, who were second and third, respectively.

In her first season at A&M, she ran 2:05.80 over 800m indoors. She subsequently dropped down to the 400m and so far this season has run a personal best 51.93 on February 6.

Bennett said while he was disappointed that she has dropped the 800m he sees where it has been beneficial to Young’s development.

“It’s paying off and I am sure that her coaches and her handlers right now are preparing her looking at getting her ready for trials this year. She will do well at trials as long as she remains healthy,” Bennett said while revealing Young’s ultimate ambition.

“Charokee will achieve through hard work and she is not afraid to work hard to achieve what she wants. She wants to make an Olympic team or World Champs team and she will stop at nothing (to achieve her goal).

 

 

 

St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Jamaica’s Damion Thomas produced record-breaking continued to build on their impressive collegiate legacies on Saturday delivering record-breaking performances at the Charlie Thomas Invitational at Bryan College-Station in Texas on Saturday.

Natoya Goule picked up another win on the indoor circuit this season when she sped to victory on the 800m at the Clemson Bob Pollock Invitational on Saturday.

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