Only 13 new positive cases of COVID-19 were detected by MLB in its initial round of COVID-19 testing ahead of full-squad spring training, the league announced on Friday. 

The new cases represent 0.3 per cent of the 4,336 intake tests as players and staff reported to team facilities in preparation for spring training games.

Nine of the 13 positive tests were produced by players, while four came from staff members. The 13 positives were spread among 11 teams.

MLB also announced that once players have cleared intake testing they will continue to be tested regularly, and 2,298 additional monitoring tests have been processed without any new positives. 

Pitchers and catchers for all teams had already reported to team facilities in Arizona or Florida. Most clubs plan to start full-squad workouts on Monday, with the first spring training games scheduled for Sunday, February 28.

The 2021 MLB regular season will begin April 1 under a number of coronavirus safety and testing guidelines.

Olympic and World 400m champion Kirani James has revealed that while his Grave’s Disease is under control he is not yet certain when he will open his season despite the fact the Olympics are only six months away.

A disappointed but not disheartened Terry Fenwick, coach of Trinidad and Tobago said the team failed to stick to the game plan which resulted in the 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the United States on Sunday night.

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.

Odean Skeen intends to open his campaign towards this summer’s Olympic Games with a 60m dash in the second American Track League meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend.

World U18 100m hurdles record holder set a new personal best while winning the 60m hurdles at the Aggie Invitational in Bryan-College Station in Texas on Saturday.

Justin McMaster and Javain Brown were selected by Minnesota United and the Vancouver Whitecaps, respectively, in the MLS Super Draft earlier today.

Emerging sprinter Kiara Grant of Norfolk State University and Ackera Nugent of Baylor were among several Jamaicans who produced top NCAA performances between Friday and Saturday as the collegiate indoor circuit unfolded in earnest in the United States.

Reggae Girlz goalkeeper Sydney Schneider says she feels blessed to have made history once again and is eager to begin training with the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Romario Gill has signed with the Utah Jazz after not being selected in the 2020/21 NBA Draft.

Jamaica’s Nick Richards was the 42nd overall pick in Wednesday’s second round of the NBA Draft.

Richards, a former Kentucky Wildcat, was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans but was then traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

The former Jamaica College athlete went into the draft on the back of his best season ever at Kentucky, averaging 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game plus 10 double doubles while shooting at  a conference high .644 field-goal percentage, pundits expected him to go undrafted.

However, Kentucky head coach John Calipari, always had faith in the 6-11 centre.

“What Nick has been able to do with his body, his mind and mastering his skills, it’s been incredible and rewarding to watch as a coach,” Calipari said. “It’s been a pleasure to see him grow into the player and the young man he has become, and he’s done it all because of his hard work and his dedication. It has all paid off.”

Richards led the Wildcats with 66 blocks, including 18 games with multiple rejections. He closed his college career with ranked third all-time in field-goal percentage of .628 with a minimum of 50 attempts. He also ranks 10th all-time with 146 career blocks, and his 528 rebounds rank 46th.

 

Giovanni Reyna was one of three United States players to score their maiden international goals in Monday's 6-2 friendly victory over Panama.

USA played out a goalless draw with Wales in their first game for nine months last Thursday but had no trouble converting their chances at Stadion Wiener Neustadt.

Fielding their second-youngest starting XI ever at 22 years and 154 days old on average, made up entirely of European-based players, Gregg Berhalter's charges got off to a slow start as Jose Fajardo glanced in the opener from Panama's only on-target attempt of the first half.

Reyna, making his second appearance just three days after his 18th birthday, levelled up with what was also his side's first direct free-kick goal since Jozy Altidore netted against Jamaica in the 2017 Gold Cup.

Nicholas Gioacchini was next to get off the mark for USA on his full debut with a tap-in after Ulysses Llanez's shot was parried into his path.

He had his second of the game four minutes later with a header inside the six-yard box, making him the fifth different USA player to score multiple goals in their past seven matches. 

Gioacchini squandered a chance to complete his hat-trick when his spot-kick was saved by Orlando Mosquera and Fajardo then appeared to set up a nervy finale when powering a shot past Zack Steffen 11 minutes from time.

Sebastian Soto killed off any hopes of a comeback with a goal five minutes and 46 seconds after being introduced for his debut and he doubled his personal tally in added time, scoring his brace either side of Sebastian Lletget's strike.

Wales were held to a home stalemate by the United States on Thursday in the absence of head coach Ryan Giggs.

Giggs agreed to step aside for Wales' three November fixtures after his recent arrest following an assault allegation, which he denies, and stand-in boss Robert Page oversaw a 0-0 draw.

A youthful USA were the brighter of the sides in the first half without managing to test Danny Ward, before Wales - without Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale in their squad - improved in the second period but could find no way through in a low-key friendly at the Liberty Stadium.

Tom Lawrence was among nine changes to Wales' starting line-up following last month's late win in Bulgaria and he tested Zack Steffen with the first shot 32 minutes in.

However, Barcelona teenager Konrad de la Fuente, one of USA's three debutants, wasted the only notable chance of the first half when pouncing on Dylan Levitt's backpass and blazing over.

Both sides used the second half to introduce more debutants and Brennan Johnson nearly marked his maiden cap in style, only denied a goal by Zack Steffen's low save just 37 seconds after coming on.

While Wales have made a habit of scoring late goals in recent game, the best of the remaining openings in Swansea fell the way of USA substitute Ulysses Llanez, who had a low shot pushed around the post by Ward.

If this is to be the final season of Clemson University’s men’s track and field and cross-country, then Head Coach Mark Elliott intends to make it one for the ages as he launches the seemingly improbable task of making the school change its mind.

Elliott, who joined Clemson in 2013 after 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University, was caught off guard when the Division I school announced the unthinkable late last week.

Athletics Director Dan Radakovich delivered the devastating news last Thursday, November 5. In a letter posted on the university’s website, he wrote:

“After consultation and communication with President Clements and the Board of Trustees, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue sponsorship of the men’s track and field program effective June 2021. The program includes indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country.

After a long period of deliberative discussion and analysis we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field program is in the best long-term interests of Clemson Athletics. While this decision comes during the significant financial challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, those challenges are just one of many factors that led to this decision. We will continue to honor all student-athlete scholarships and provide them with support as they work towards earning their degrees. “

He said the school would also honour the contracts of the six coaches employed by the school, which basically means until the end of the 20/21 season.

The athletic director said several factors contributed to the decision including, but not limited to: competitive balance, gender equity and Title IX compliance, financial positioning, impact on diversity among student-athletes and staff, and local and national  interest and participation in the sport.

“The annual $2-million plus in savings will be reinvested into other athletic department initiatives, including our remaining Olympic sports and will help to provide additional financial stability moving forward. The Department of Athletics has already undertaken several significant measures to address a projected resource shortfall of $25 million this fiscal year,” he rationalized.

Elliott told Sportsmax.TV he was stunned by the news.

“It came as a big surprise. I had no knowledge. I found out about an hour and a half after the student-athletes were told by the athletic director,” he said. “They (student-athletes) were caught off guard and they’re still trying to process it, just like we are.”

Jamaica currently has about five or six male athletes on scholarship at Clemson among them Fabian Hewitt, LaFrenz Campbell, Rayon Holmes, Zico Campbell and Rojae Stona. Of the five, three – Hewitt, Campbell and Holmes - are due to graduate this academic year but they will still have college eligibility.

What this means is that if any of them were planning to continue to pursue further college competition and eventually transition to the professional ranks, they will likely consider transfers to other schools. Elliott reveals that if that turns out to be the case, then he will do everything to help them find new schools.

“They would have to seek alternatives and I and the coaches would help them along that path,” Elliott said.

Besides the athletes, at least 50 per cent of the athletics coaching staff that includes Lennox Graham, are likely to lose their jobs as under NCAA rules, the number coaches a school can employ depends on whether the number of programmes they have.

“It affects everyone, three of us or six of us could be gone,” Elliott said while explaining why for him the situation is so regrettable.

“Track and field is what got me to where I am today. My parents could not afford to send me to college so I got a scholarship just like these young men,” he said.

“It hurts on many levels. This is my livelihood too but I don’t view it as that alone. It is an opportunity to give opportunity to those like myself. It does hurt.”

It is why he say wants this coming season to be one of Clemson’s best ever.

“The focus is on the student-athletes to be able to be competitive. That is where the focus is right now. Life offers you challenges. How you respond is what makes the difference. We will try to get them to reconsider," he said. 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican coaches Mark Elliott and Lennox Graham are in limbo after Clemson University announced today that it will discontinue its men’s track and field and cross country program at the conclusion of the 2020-21 athletic season.

Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich made the announcement this afternoon saying that the programmes to be discontinued include indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Radakovich said the university will honour the contracts of the coaches through to their full term, which means that the coaches will be paid up until June 2021.

Clemson Athletics will also honour the scholarships of all impacted student-athletes through their undergraduate years at the level of financial aid that they are presently receiving, the statement said.

The NCAA-maximum number of allowable scholarships for men’s track is 12. Clemson’s 12 scholarships are presently split among 26 student-athletes, 15 of whom are scheduled to graduate by August 2021.

Clemson also supports an additional 25 walk-on student-athletes in the program.

“This difficult decision is a result of an exhaustive examination of our athletics department over the past several  months,” said Radakovich. “After careful analysis, we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field  program is in the best long-term interest of Clemson Athletics. This decision impacts incredible student-athletes,  and we know how hard they work and the effort and pride they take in representing Clemson University.”

Head Coach Mark Elliott’s phone went unanswered when Sportsmax.TV called today. He took the Clemson head coaching position in 2013 after spending 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University.

Notably, Jamaican Olympian and 800m national record holder, Natoya Goule, who won an NCAA title under Elliott’s watch, followed him to Clemson that year.

Assistant Coach Lennox Graham (hurdles and long sprints) joined the coaching staff in 2017 after spending a decade at Johnson C Smith University where he enjoyed tremendous success guiding 27 athletes to NCAA Division II championships titles, both indoors and outdoors.

In a brief comment to Sportsmax.TV, he said he just heard the news prior to being called and that he was still processing it.

Graham’s professional club, TRS, currently trains at Clemson. Danielle Williams, the 2015 World 100m champion, Kyron McMaster, the Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion and World Championship 400m hurdles finalist Leah Nugent are all members of the club.

Men’s track and field has been sponsored at Clemson since 1953, claiming 23 combined ACC Team Championships, 16 individual NCAA champions, 22 Olympians and four Olympic Gold Medalists.

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