She is one of the fastest women in the world in the 100m hurdles but Ackera Nugent, the second-fastest Jamaican woman on the planet this year, is not considering turning professional just yet. According to the reigning World U20 champion, getting an education is among her goals and she still has unfinished business as a collegiate athlete.

Nugent, 20, who completed her sophomore year at Baylor University in May, ran a personal best of 12.45 at the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock, Texas on May 15.

The time, which she shares with Jamaican champion Britany Anderson, is the sixth-fastest in the world this year. Only Texas Tech’s Demisha Roswell’, who ran 12.44 to beat Nugent at the Big 12 Championships has run faster.

Notwithstanding, what is a significant accomplishment, Nugent is focused on completing her education at Baylor where she is majoring in Psychology.

“Basically, having an education with track is very important, so if I decide to go pro, I’d still be going to school but I have only ran 12.4 once and I haven’t run healthy, so I have decided that I should come back to college and focus on trying to get an outdoor NCAA title,” said the 2021 NCAA National Indoor champion.

Two years of college, she said, have been a great learning experience for her.

“It has taught me a lot. That I need to expect the unexpected, that you will have your highs and lows but you have to get up and do what you have to do, especially not having your family around you, your support system and when you have to put your trust in a coaching staff, a medical team,” she explained.

“It has helped me grow so much. I am more mature and Baylor is helping me grow into the amazing athlete that I think I am today.”

Nugent shut down her season in June after tearing her plantar fascia in regionals earlier this year. The decision saw her miss the NCAA Division I nationals in Oregon and also the Jamaica National Championships at the end of June.

 

 

 

Expect the unexpected!

That’s the word from 2021 World U20 champion Ackera Nugent, who was responding to a question about who she thinks will emerge victorious in the 100m hurdles at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships that get underway at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday, June 23.

Nugent, who turned 20 in April, will miss the championships because of injury but is already on the mend as she targets a triumphant return to the track for her junior year at Baylor University. As the second fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year, Nugent will be missed but the field that will assemble is stacked.

Among the women contending for the top three spots will be Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Megan Tapper, 2015 World Championships gold medalist Danielle Williams, who is also the 2019 bronze medallist, 2022 Big 12 Conference Champion Demisha Roswell, Britany Anderson, Crystal Morrison, and Trishauna Hemmings among others.

However, Nugent perhaps one of the most talented hurdlers in her country’s history, was not willing to put her neck on the block given how keenly contested Sunday’s final is expected to be.

“Well, the hurdles is an event that you can’t really have expectations on it because anything can happen in those 12-13-seconds of the race,” she reasoned.

“So it’s a thing where you have to expect the unexpected.”

She does expect to be back better and stronger than ever for the coming 2022/2023 NCAA season.

Mere days after running a personal best 12.45 to finish second to Roswell at the Big 12 Championships, Nugent, citing injury, shut down her season in early June. It was a decision that meant that she would miss the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Oregon as well as Jamaica’s National Championships where she was expected to be among the athletes making the team to the World Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, where the NCAA Championships were also held.

She revealed the circumstances that led to her decision.

“I had been having ankle problems this season more than normal but I was able to compete but at regionals, running the 4x100m I tore my plantar fascia (the thick tendon that connects the heel and the toes) and it was really bad,” she recalled.

Despite the injury, she said, she soldiered on, which made things worse.

“Knowing me as somebody that’s like ‘I have a next race to go do, let’s knock it out the way. I took some pain killers and I wrapped my leg up and went out there to compete and when I realized in the race it was getting really bad I slowed up and was still able to make nationals and then I looked and saw how swollen my foot was and I was like ‘I don’t think I have enough time to recover and make it for nationals’ so I decided to close my season down.”

As it stands, she is now able to walk and can run a little but thinks it best to give herself time to heal ahead of next season. “I don’t think it’s a smart decision to run so now I will be focusing on recovering, rehabbing and getting stronger. I have enough time to get better, to get stronger so I will be ready for next year,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

Ackera Nugent will miss the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships set for June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon and Jamaica’s National Championships in Kingston from June 23-26, because of an ongoing ankle injury.

Nugent, the reigning World U20 champion, is the second fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year after running a personal best of 12.45 at the Big 12 Championships at Lubbock, Texas on May 15. Only fellow Jamaican, Demisha Roswell of Texas Tech, who ran 12.44 to beat Nugent at the Big 12 Conference Championships, has run faster this season.

The 20-year-old Nugent, a sophomore at Baylor University revealed on social media Thursday that the severity of the injury makes it impossible for her to carry on this season.

“With my ankle, this year has been a roller coaster but that has never stopped me from going out there and giving it my all,” she posted on Instagram.

“As a fighter, you have to know when to stop fighting and let go and I just wanted to let you know my season is over. I will not be competing in the NCAA Championship not will I be competing in the national senior trials this year.

“However, God has helped me along the way to have accomplished my main goal this year and I am at peace.”

Nugent’s absence will take away from the much-anticipated clashes at the NCAA Championships against the likes of the LSU pair of Alia Armstrong and Tonea Marshall as well as Roswell.

At the Jamaica National Senior Championships, she would have faced Roswell as well as 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Megan Tapper.

 

St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred ran a wind-aided 10.80 to win her heat at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Round in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Saturday, to be the fastest qualifier to the Women’s 100m at the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, from June 8-11.

Jamaica’s Kemba Nelson of Oregon and Alfred’s Texas teammate Kevona Davis also qualified for Eugene with times of 10.85 and 11.04, both also wind-aided, respectively.

Davis will also contest the 200m in Eugene after running 22.49 to qualify second fastest in the West Region behind teammate Kynnedy Flannel (22.40).

Jamaicans Stacey Ann Williams of Texas (50.66) and Charokee Young of Texas A&M (50.80) were the fastest qualifiers in the Women’s 400m.

Barbados' Jonathan Jones of Texas and Jamaica's Jevaughn Powell of UTEP ran 44.85 and 44.87, respectively, to be the top two qualifiers in the Men's equivalent. 44.87 is a new personal best for Powell, the former Edwin Allen and Kingston College standout.

Another Bajan, Rivaldo Leacock of New Mexico, ran a new personal best 49.63 to advance in the Men's 400m hurdles.

Texas Tech's Demisha Roswell was the second fastest qualifier in the Women's 100m hurdles with 12.78 while Baylor’s Ackera Nugent ran 12.93 to also advance.

Former Hydel High and current Texas A&M star Lamara Distin and Texas' Trinidadian Olympian Tyra Gittens both cleared 1.81m to progress in the Women's high jump while Gittens also produced 6.40 to advance in the long jump. Former Herbert Morrison athlete Daniella Anglin, now a freshman at South Dakota, also cleared 1.81m to advance in the high jump. 

 Bahamian Kansas State senior Kyle Alcine achieved a personal best 2.15m to advance in the Men's high jump.

Demisha Roswell shocked everyone, herself included when she won the 100m hurdles at the Big 12 Outdoor Conference Championships at Fuller Field in Lubbock, Texas on Sunday. The Texas Tech senior edged her more heralded compatriot Ackera Nugent, the 2021 World U20 champion and a talented field, clocking 12.44, the second fastest time in the world this season and the fastest in the NCAA.

Only the 12.39 from Tokyo Olympic champion, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, has been faster this year. Nugent’s time for second place, 12.45, is the third fastest time in the world in 2022.

The victory was a bit of a surprise for the 24-year-old Vere Technical and New Mexico Junior College alum, who went into the final having run 12.78 in her preliminary round heat. “No, I didn’t expect the time. I was more excited about the win, to be honest. I’m still in shock!”, she said.

From the gun, Roswell found herself matching strides with Nugent but was never intimidated and had no intention to yield as they raced towards the finish line.

“That’s the crazy part of the race because I told myself I want to win I have to win. I was like “Oh no,  you’re not getting away today,” she said laughing while admitting that she felt something special would happen.

“From the moment I wasn’t nervous I knew I was going to do something great. Ackera is an amazing competitor and the both of us know we got to show out and fight and that’s what I did because I wanted to win.”

Roswell credits her faith in her coaches and continuous hard work in improving her technique for getting her to this point where she is the fastest Jamaican sprint hurdler in the world this year, a significant achievement given her country’s stock in hurdling talent that includes Olympic medallist Megan Tapper, 2015 World Champion and national record holder Danielle Williams, World U20 record holder Brittany Anderson and, of course, Baylor's Nugent.

“The main factors are time, patience and faith,” she said. “Every day I have to keep improving because my hurdling is not perfect but thanks to my coaches for always trying with me to improve my hurdling.

“I don’t have the best hurdles technique because I wasn’t cut out for hurdling. I was just a 200m and a 100m runner when suddenly my coach from back home, John Mair, told me, ‘ Roswell, I think you should do hurdles. I said to him ‘Huh, me? I can’t do hurdles coach. He then said, ‘Listen, to me you’re going to do it so I went for it.”

She said when she moved to the United States to attend New Mexico Junior College, her coaches Keith Blackwill and Tabarie Henry helped her improve her technique even though it still wasn’t perfect. Still, it was good enough to win her the NJCAA Indoor 60mh title and 100mh Outdoor title in 2019 and the 60mh title in 2020.

At Texas Tech, the work to perfect her technique continues.

“Coach (Zach) Glavash got me here and Coach (Calvin) Robinson started work on me. My technique has gotten better from last year until now. I thank God for these coaches every day for working with me even though there is still room for improvement,” she said.

With the sweet taste of victory still lingering, Roswell has an eye on even bigger scalps this summer. She reveals that she plans to earn a spot on Jamaica’s team to the World Championships in Oregon this summer.

 “Most definitely that’s the aim, trying my best to make this national team,” she said.

“(I am) just looking to stay healthy and be ready because hurdling is unpredictable, anything can happen but I won’t be travelling across the ocean and not make the team. So on that day, the time will tell. I put everything in God's hands.”

Julien Alfred, Demisha Roswell and Johnathan Jones pulled off impressive victories as the Big 12 Conference Championships concluded in Lubbock, Texas on Sunday.

Trinidadian Olympian Tyra Gittens was a winner in the high jump at the LSU Invitational where some Caribbean athletes had podium finishes on Saturday.

Baylor’s Ackera Nugent set a facility record to claim the 60m hurdles title at the Big 12 Championships at the Harry Hoak Track in Iowa on Saturday but it was the Texas Longhorns who stole the show winning their fifth consecutive women’s title and second straight men’s crown.

Nugent, a Sophomore at Baylor clocked a fast 7.91, a facility record, to take the sprint hurdles title ahead of Texas Longhorn Milan Young (8.08). Nugent’s Jamaican compatriot Demisha Roswell, a Junior at Texas Tech claimed the bronze medal in 8.20.

Roswell’s Texas Tech freshman teammate, Vashaun Vascianna, won the men’s title in 7.75. The former St Jago and Kingston College hurdler won his preliminary round heat in 7.70 on Friday.

For the Texas Longhorns, Julien Alfred, Tyra Gittens and Stacey-Ann Williams were all on the podium during the two-day championships.

The Longhorns swept the 400m dash, with Kennedy Simon's diving effort of 51.54 seconds to win her first 400m conference title. Jamaica’s Stacey Ann Williams finished just behind in second at 51.60 seconds, while sophomore Rhasidat Adeleke completed the sweep in third with a time of 52.33.

Texas also enjoyed another sweep in the 200m where St Lucia’s star sprinter Julien Alfred took the title with a time of 22.89 seconds. Kynnedy Flannel was second in 23.02 seconds, while Jamaica’s Kevona Davis finished third in 23.30 seconds.

Alfred was a second-place finisher in the 60m dash, clocking 7.17 seconds, losing by 0.02 to Texas Tech Sophomore Rosemary Chukwuma. Flannel added a third-place finish at 7.30 while Davis added a fifth-place finish at 7.33 seconds.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyra Gittens won the silver in the high jump, clearing 1.84m. She was fourth in the long jump competition.

Meanwhile, Baylor’s Women that featured Jamaica’s Kavia Francis would take the 4x400m title in 3:32.77 ahead of Texas Tech (3:35.06) and Oklahoma State (3:36.22).

Britney Anderson has been on a tear this indoor season with three lifetime best times in her last three races.

World U20 sprint hurdles champion, Ackera Nugent, was in record-breaking form on Saturday’s second day of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the Recreation Building in Iowa City, Iowa.

Nugent, 19, set a new meet record of 8.11 for the 60m hurdles in the preliminary round and smashed it in the final, running a personal best of 7.90. The winning time was also a new track record, facility record and meet record.

The time moves Nugent to the 11th spot all-time in collegiate indoor track competition and the best-ever U20 time. Her teammate, Kennedy Bailey finished in second place with a time of 8.3 seconds.

For her efforts, Nugent was one of four MVPs at the meet alongside teammates Johnny Brackins who won the triple jump and Tuesdi Tidwell, who triumphed in the pole vault.

Meanwhile, Nugent’s compatriot Kavia Francis and teammates Mariah Ayers, Aaliyah Miller and Gontse Morake finished with a silver medal and a time of 3:40.87 in the 4x400m relay.

Jamaica’s Ackera Nugent put in a dominant performance to claim the women’s 100m hurdles title at the World Athletics U20 Championships, in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday.

The event itself was filled with on-track carnage as Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji, who was stride for stride with Nugent early on, clipped the fourth hurdle before crashing into the fifth.

The accident put off Poland’s Weronika Barcz who was also out of the race after hitting the fifth hurdle and perhaps also Slovakia’s Viktória Forster who failed to navigate the seventh obstacle.

Nugent, however, held her nerve to finish comfortably ahead of the field, stopping the clock at 12.95.  Estonia’s Anna Millend was second in 13.45 with Hungary's Anna Tóth third in 13.58.

In the men’s equivalent, Vashaun Vascianna hit the second to last hurdle but still managed to make his way onto the medal podium after finishing second behind France’s Sasha Zhoya.  The Frenchman clocked a world U-20 record 12.72 over the distance, with the Jamaican trailing behind in a personal best 13.25.  Poland’s Jakub Szymański also clocked a personal best, 13.43, to secure the bronze medal.

In the women’s 200m the Jamaicans missed out on the medal spots after Briana Lyston, who crossed the line fourth, was disqualified.  The other Jamaican in the event, Aalliyah Francis finished 7th in 23.96.  The event was won by Namibia’s Christine Mboma, in a championship record 21.84, with her compatriot Beatrice Masilingi second in 22.18, Nigeria’s Favour Ofili was third in 22.23.

 

Kavian Kerr won Jamaica’s second medal at the WorldU20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya today when he claimed the bronze medal in the long jump competition.

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.

Baylor University’s Ackera Nugent continued her impressive freshman season on Saturday with a pair of wins at the Aggie Invitational at Bryan-College Station in Texas.

Ackera Nugent showed her class on Saturday night, winning the 2021 NCAA Indoor 60-metre hurdles title for Baylor University title on Saturday night.

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