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

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah sped to a world leading 10.89 in the 100m at the USATF Golden Games at the Mt SAC Relays in California on Saturday.

Thompson-Herah ran the time in the heats but didn’t take part in the final later that day.

Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100m relay Briana Williams was also fast in the heats with a time of 10.91 before eventually finishing fifth in the final with 10.97 with an illegal 3.3 m/s tailwind.

The USA’s Twanisha Terry ran 10.77 to win the final ahead of teammates Aleia Hobbs (10.80) and Gabby Thomas (10.86).

In the field, Laquan Nairn of the Bahamas leapt out to a personal best 8.22m to win the Men’s long jump ahead of the USA’s Will Williams (8.18) and Carter Shell (7.91).

Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd threw 18.92m to win the Women’s shot put ahead of Americans Jessica Woodard (18.77) and Jessica Ramsey (18.71).

Trinidad and Tobago’s Tyra Gittens cleared 1.85m for third in the Women’s high jump behind the USA’s Vashti Cunningham’s world leading 1.96m and Rachel McCoy’s 1.85.

 

Charokee Young ran a massive lifetime best and world-leading time to win the 400m over fellow Jamaican Stacey-Ann Williams at the Texas A&M vs Texas Dual Meeting at Bryan-College Station in Texas on Saturday.

Young, who had mixed results running indoors, has been a lot more assured outdoors as a week after running a 48.98 relay split at the Texas Relays, the 21-year-old Texas A&M sophomore stormed to victory in 50.00, obliterating Williams’ meet record of 51.34 set last year. It also moved her closer to Athing Mu’s facility record of 49.68 also set last year.

It was also a significant improvement over her previous best of 50.85 set last year May.

A fast time was clearly on the cards when Young took control mid-race surging past Texas’ Kennedy Simon to take the lead. Williams, the Texas Junior, responded to Young’s move and stormed past her teammate to challenge Young for the lead.

However, the former Hydel High 800m star never looked likely to yield and pulled away to win in the world-leading time.

Williams broke her own meet record clocking 50.56, the second-fastest time in the world for 2022 while Simon was third in a personal-best 50.68.

 Young moves up to number two all-time on the Texas A&M Aggies women’s 400m list and jumped to number five among the collegiate performers on the all-time chart.

Johnathan Jones won the men’s race in a conference-leading and meet record 45.07. The Barbadian quarter-miler broke his own meet record of 45.82 that was set last year.

Texas A&M’s Emmanuel Bamidele finished second in 45.25 with Jones’ teammate Willington Wright taking third in 45.64.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s 100m, St Lucia’s Julien Alfred ran a personal best of 11.07 to take the victory over teammates Kynnedy Flannel 11.34 and Kevona Davis 11.37. Alfred’s time was a new meet record eclipsing Flannel’s record of 11.23 set last year.

Alfred was third in the 200m in 23.10. The race was won by A&M’s Laila Owens in a personal best and conference-leading 22.57. However, she just managed to hold off Texas’ Rhasidat Adeleke, who was second in 22.59.

In one of the more epic clashes of the day, former Texas A&M multi-sport star Tyra Gittens, now a senior at Texas equalled her personal best of 1.95m to win the high jump over former teammate, the in-form Lamara Distin (1.93).

Distin, who defeated Gittens at last month’s NCAA Indoor Nationals, led when she cleared 1.91m but a fired-up Gittens cleared 1.93 at her first attempt, snatching the lead from her former teammate. Distin managed to clear 1.93 on her third attempt.

However, the Trinidadian Olympian cleared 1.95m, a new meet and facility record, to secure victory after Distin failed all three attempts at that height.

Marleen Guerrero was third with her best clearance of 1.80m.

Gittens enjoyed further success on the day as she soared out to 6.58 to be second on the long jump won by Deborah Acquah of A&M with a new personal best, conference-leading and meet record 6.89m.

Ackelia Smith jumped 6.46m for third.

 

 

 

 

World-class cyclist Nicholas Paul and Olympian Tyra Gittens walked away with the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year titles at the 59th edition of the First Citizens Sports Awards in Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday.

T&T’s Olympic 4X400m metre relay team of Machel Cedenio, Jereem Richards, Dwight St. Hillaire and the late Deon Lendore, who won the Lytsra Lewis Award, were also recognized at the ceremony hosted by 2013 400m hurdles World Champion Jehue Gordon and aired on CNC3 Television in the twin-island republic.

Swimmer Nikoli Blackman was crowned the Youth Sportsman of the Year 2021 for the consecutive year while tennis player Jordane Dookie was selected as the Youth Sportswoman of the Year 2021 title. Meanwhile, the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award went to The Tennis Association of Trinidad & Tobago for outstanding administrative work.

Overall, 46 of T&T’s top athletes were honoured during the ceremony for their outstanding achievements over the past year. The country’s Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe praised the awardees for what he described as their “unrelenting spirit, sense of pride and purpose, and the larger than life persona they exude every time they set out to represent the red, white and black.

“You are our true heroes, who serve as a symbol of hope, perseverance, courage and strength, not only to our youth but to our nation,” she said.

Chairman of the First Citizens Sports Foundation, Dr Terry Ali, echoed similar sentiments while adding that the Sports Foundation would continue with its collaborative work with key stakeholders to support the successful restart of sporting events in Trinidad and Tobago.

Karen Darbasie, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Citizens, expressed gratitude at being able to honour the country’s best athletes. “The First Citizens Sports Awards is yet another proud moment, not only for those being honoured but also for us, who have been privileged to uphold that responsibility of bestowing honour,” she said.

Among the youth finalists who received awards were Alan-Safar Ramoutar – Chess; Ryan D’Abreau – Cycling; Shakeem Mc Kay – Track & Field; Zara La Fleur – Chess; Janae De Gannes – Track & Field; and Natassia Baptiste – Volleyball.

Among the senior finalists were Nigel Paul – Boxing; Dylan Carter – Swimming; Andrew Lewis – Sailing; Teniel Campbell – Cycling; Kennya Cordner – Football; Felice Aisha Chow – Rowing, and Samantha Wallace – Netball.

Jamaica and Texas A&M sophomore Lamara Distin claimed the women’s Long Jump title at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday.

Distin, who set the NCAA’s leading mark and national indoor record last month, got the better of Trinidad and Tobago and Texas Longhorns jumper Tyra Gittens.  The Jamaican jumper equalled her best of 1.92 metres to win the event, with Gittens recording a season best of 1.89m to earn the silver medal.  Third place went to South Carolina’s Rachel Glenn who recorded a mark of 1.86m.

Elsewhere, University of South Carolina’s Davonte Burnett claimed the men’s 60m title with a new personal best of 6.50.  The Jamaican finished ahead of Indiana’s Rikkol Brathwaite, who was second in 6.52, with Tennessee’s Favour Ashe third in 6.55.

In other events, Wayne Lawrence of Iowa finished 7th in the men’s 400m, an event won by North Carolina’s Randolph Ross and Texas Tech’s Vashaun Vascianna finished just outside the medal places in the men’s 60 MH, which was won by Florida State’s Trey Cunningham.

 

 

Cyclist Nicholas Paul and track and field athlete Michelle Lee Ahye walked away with the top male and female honours at the Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee 27th Annual Awards Ceremony held on Wednesday evening.

In the event, which was broadcast over video-conferencing platform Zoom, Paul and Ahye were named TTOC’s senior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year respectively for 2021.

TTOC President Brian Lewis addressed the virtual audience before the distribution of awards.

“In 2021, our athletes showed that they faced their fears. They went to Tokyo and gave their best. They did not make excuses and of course, they showed emotional, physical, and mental stamina by facing their disappointments, their failures, their mistakes, and the criticism of those who weren’t in the arena; who didn’t have to overcome economic issues, lack of training issues, doubt issues, death in their families and close circles,” said Lewis.

“As we look forward to 2022, we are encouraged by the example and the discipline and resolve shown by team TTO at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Junior Pan Am Games,” he added.

It was Ahye’s fourth time holding the title after winning from 2016-2018 while Paul received the award for the second time, his first coming back in 2019.

Paul, the current world-record holder in the Men’s flying 200m, earned the top male award based on his silver medal performance in the Men’s one-kilometre time-trial at the UCI Tissot World Track Cycling Championship in Roubaix, France, back in October.

He was also sixth in the Men’s Sprint at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ahye was deemed the top female based on her ninth-place finish in the Women’s 100m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she narrowly missed out on the final.

Swimmer Nikoli Blackman, a member of T&T’s teams at both the Pan Am Junior Games and Swimming World Championships (SC) this year, was named Junior Sportsman of the Year for the second consecutive year, and track and field athlete Rae-Anne Serville, now representing USC, was Junior Sportswoman of the Year.

Olympic long jump finalist and 2021 NCAA Heptathlon Champion at Texas A&M, Tyra Gittens, was named the Sports Personality of the Year and reacted to it on her Instagram page on Wednesday.

“Blessed to receive the Sports Personality award during the TTOC 27th Annual Award Ceremony this evening. I can’t wait to represent TTO again next year,” she said.

West Indies senior women’s vice-captain Anissa Mohammed won the Future is Female award.

 

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin, fresh from her silver medal performance in the high jump at last weekend’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, is targeting the Olympic standard of 1.96m when she competes at the Jamaica National Championships beginning June 26.

Six days after her 23rd birthday, Tyra Gittens gifted herself the heptathlon title on what was for her a bittersweet final day of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

In what she described as the hardest meet of her life, the Texas A&M junior topped the heptathlon high jump (1.84m), long jump (6.64) and 200m (23.79) on the way to her second-best score of 6285 points that was more than enough for victory but 135 points off the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420.

It was, however, 218 more of the University of Miami’s Michelle Atherley. The Miami senior, who was the fastest in the 100m hurdles (13.15), scored 6067 points for the silver medal. University of Texas freshman Kristine Blazevica scored 5984 points for the bronze medal.

Putting it simply, after three days of gruelling competition, Gittens just ran out of gas. She literally fell across the finish line to complete the heptathlon 800m in which she was 19th overall, scoring 707 points for her time of 2:28.88.

Her legs were sapped because after the long jump on Thursday in which she won a silver medal, Gittens then had four events in the heptathlon on Friday before completing the other three on Saturday even while contending for individual honours in the high jump.

She just managed to complete the high jump 10 minutes before competing in the heptathlon 800m, her final event of the meet.

The athlete, who has a season-best of 1.95m was only able to clear 1.87m, good enough for third place behind A&M teammate, Jamaica’s Lamara Distin, who cleared a personal best 1.90m to win the silver medal. The gold medal went to South Carolina freshman, Rachel Glenn, who cleared a personal-best 1.93m.

Gittens just missed out on long-jump gold on Thursday when she soared out to 6.68m, two centimetres shy of the winning mark of 6.70m by Texas sophomore Tara Davis.

 Jasmine Moore of Georgia jumped 6.65m for the bronze medal.

 

 

Strange as it may sound, Tyra Gittens is both happy and disappointed with her record-breaking performance in the heptathlon at the SEC Championships at Bryan College Station in Texas last weekend.

The 22-year-old Trinidadian who attends Texas A&M University scored a personal best 6418 points to win the two-day event. Her score which was just two points off the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420 points is also a championship-leading effort as well as a meet and facility record. 

“I am proud of where I am. I am proud of my accomplishments. I hope the world sees that I have so much potential and I have so much more room to grow. This is just the beginning,” she said.

Along the way, Gittens achieved several personal milestones, including a massive personal lifetime best in the long jump of 6.96, which qualifies her for the Olympics this summer and a personal best and a national record 1.95m for the high jump and a centimetre shy of the Olympic standard.

It was also the first time in history that a woman had jumped 1.95m in the high jump and beyond 6.95m in the long jump in the same heptathlon. Gittens now holds national records for the high jump outdoors and indoors, the long jump outdoors and indoors, the pentathlon and the heptathlon.

However, she wasn’t satisfied and revealed her true ambitions, believing she is capable of so much more.

“I don’t like to talk about my goals publicly because then people take it as ‘Oh, she’s trying to talk smack’ but I want people to hold me accountable when I say this. I want to be the ultimate heptathlete and that means breaking Jackie Joyner’s record and that’s what I’m going for.

 “This is my first time saying that publicly but I have never been at a point in my life when I’ve felt so confident saying that, and after this weekend, even though my heptathlon wasn’t what I wanted, my mentality and how I pushed through one of the hardest weekends but one of the best weekends of my life, I am ready and I know, I really think I can get this world record.”

 It is that lofty goal and it is the accompanying mentality that has her experiencing mixed feelings about her record-breaking weekend. Joyner-Kersee’s heptathlon record, which has stood since 1988, is 7291 points and it explains why Gittens wasn’t so happy with her performance last weekend because she understands that if she is to break that record, she has to be better at all her disciplines, not just two or three.

 “The long jump and the high jump were the highlights of my meet. I rarely surprise myself but I definitely surprised myself in the long jump,” she the Texas A&M senior said.

 “The high jump wasn’t necessarily a surprise. I knew this is where I wanted to be around this time. In the long jump, I didn’t expect to reach 6.90 so soon. I know I could do it, I knew I could be up there but I was thinking later on in my career, like years later.”

However, as good as she was in the long and high jumps, Gitten concedes that her performance in several other disciplines did not meet her expectations and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

 “The shot put definitely hurt me, just because of how inconsistent it was. It was embarrassing for me to come off such a high in the high jump, not to be able to gather myself correctly for the shot put. I thought I did but I still had a lot of adrenalin and excitement from the high jump and it never allowed me to focus on the shot put and it just didn’t click,” she said of her 658-point 11.96m throw that was well short of her 13.58m throw that earned her 807 points in a heptathlon on May 8.

 She was equally devastated by how poor she was in the 800m that she completed in 2:31.97 and which she said came as a shock.

 “The 800 was a surprise. I did not expect to run that slow. I started the race and normally I have someone yelling my 100m splits but this time there were two events going on so my coach wasn’t able to so he put some people to say the times. I didn’t hear them and so I was kind of running blindly and it wasn’t until the last 150 when I saw the finish-line time board and I saw that I was way behind my pace,” she said.

“I honestly started tearing up running down the straightaway because I knew I didn’t set myself up in the other events like the shot put and the hurdles, even though my long jump and high jump were great, the Hep was not very consistent for me.” 

Such is the mentality of the effervescent Trinidadian that she has chosen to focus on the silver lining rather than dwell on the dark clouds.

 “That being said, everything happens for a reason. I was very impressed with myself that my hep was a pretty bad one. The things that saved me, the high jump, my 200 and long jump because everything else was not where I wanted to be at all,” she confessed, “the hurdles, shot put, javelin even though it was PB in the Hep for me, I see myself a little farther along than 40 metres. The 800 definitely broke my heart.”

She was devastated to come so close to the Olympic standard. 

“Being only two points away from the standard is definitely tough to swallow because it was just two points and I knew what I needed to do but at the end of the day, it is what it is. It happened. I came out with an Olympic standard and literally kissing the other standards,” she said. 

“I am on pace. I knew my open events would come before my Hep because it is a lot harder to put together than get one jump. I am not worried. I am not stressing. I am actually above my pace for what I want to do and the next Hep is going to be bigger and better because I am going to come in ready to be more consistent and ready to stay focused. 

“I want to shine. I want to be the ultimate heptathlete, meaning I want to be consistently good, amazing in some (events) and consistently good in others. I would love to be a Jackie Joyner and be amazing at all seven but that’s not my reality, so you have to take advantage of what you’re really good at and then you have to work and stay focused on what you’re not so gifted in.”

 Gittens also finished second in the individual high jump, clearing 1.89m. She was also fourth in the long jump with a 6.56m leap. For her efforts, she was named United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week.

 

Tyra Gittens believes things are falling into place for another great performance in the heptathlon at this weekend’s SEC Championships. Her confidence would have been further buoyed by encouraging performances at the Aggie Invitational at Bryan-College Station in Texas on Saturday.

Texas A&M's Tyra Gittens was super excited about her new personal best in the heptathlon this weekend but acknowledged that there is still room for a lot of improvement. This is especially true if he wants to achieve her goal of competing in the multi-event discipline at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The 22-year-old Trinidadian, the 2021 NCAA pentathlon champion competing in her first heptathlon is more than two years scored an NCAA-leading 6274 points after completing the seven events at the Texas A&M Invitational held at Bryan-College Station in Texas on Friday and Saturday.

She won all four disciplines in windy conditions on Friday. She opened up with a time of 13.14 in the 100m hurdles for 1103 points, cleared 1.82m in the high jump, scoring 1003 points and won the shot put with a throw of 12.85m that earned her 717 points. In the final event of the day, she won the 200m sprint in 23.33, scoring 1046 points.

She returned on Saturday morning winning the long jump with a leap of 6.67m that earned her 1062 points. She only managed 631 points for the javelin and then rounded out the competition with a 2:28.52 run in the 800m for 712 points.

“Mood for a huge personal best, new school record, and an NCAA leading 6274 points in my first heptathlon in forever! Still so much to work on and I can’t wait to recover and get back into training” she posted on Instagram afterwards, very much aware of the work that she needs to get done if she is to book a ticket to Tokyo.

The 6247 points she scored is still 173 shy of the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420 points.

 

Track and Field News on Sunday named Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens Collegiate Athlete of the Year.

She is also on the Bowerman Watch List. The Bowerman is an annual track and field award that is the highest accolade given to the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

She believes the accolades are the fruits of hard work.

“Winning Athlete of the Year and staying on the Bowerman Watch List has been rewarding. It’s been a product of hard work and it's exciting, it’s motivating. It makes me want to continue to work hard. I am very honoured, I’m very grateful and I can’t wait to see what I can produce for the rest of the season,” she said.

The Trinidadian multi-event athlete recorded one of the best performances in collegiate history two weeks ago when she won the NCAA championship in the pentathlon and high jump and was third in the long jump to score 26 points.

The 26-point performance is the third-most all-time at an NCAA Championship meet where she also became the first woman to win national championships in the pentathlon and high jump in the same meet.

Gittens also set a collegiate record in the pentathlon with a winning score of 4,746 setting school records in the pentathlon, high jump (1.93m/6-4) and long jump (6.68m/21-11).

She also scored 23 points at the SEC Championships winning the high jump and long jump titles, while finishing sixth in the pentathlon.

She received the Cliff Harper Award for being the top point scorer.

She said self-belief enabled her turnaround from finishing sixth at the SEC Championships to breaking the collegiate pentathlon record two weeks later.

“I was very proud of myself! I trusted myself, I took a chance, and I had confidence in myself,” she said.

“I was not surprised though. Knowing how my training and my season has been going I knew I was going to have a good meet. I’m happy with how I executed everything I wanted to. I’m happy I was in control of my emotions and I’m happy I trusted myself enough to take a chance. It’s a great way to end the indoor season.”

The USTFCCCA also named Gittens National Field Athlete of the Year.

A day after setting a new collegiate record in the pentathlon at the NCAA Nationals, Tyra Gittens won a silver and a bronze medal and set a new school record along the way Friday.

Gittens, who on Thursday, broke Kendall Williams’ five-year-old pentathlon record, cleared 1.90m to win the high jump, becoming the first woman to sweep the pentathlon and the high jump.

The mark was shy of her personal best 1.93m set the day before during the pentathlon, but it was more than enough to hold off South Carolina freshman Rachel Glenn and Georgia’s Anna Hall, who cleared 1.87m second and third, respectively, the latter losing out on the silver medal on the countback.

Two hours later, Gittens, the SEC Female Field Athlete of the Year, went on the hunt for another gold in the long jump but despite uncorking a personal best 6.68m, a new school record, she had to settle for the bronze medal.

Why? Well, Tara Davis of the University of Texas shattered the record of 6.91m that had been held by Jamaica’s Elva Goulbourne since 2002 when she launched out to 6.93m. It was at the championships since Auburn’s Whitney Gipson equalled Golbourne’s mark in 2015.

In addition to being the championship record, the 6.93m was also a meet record and a facility record for Davis.

The silver medal went to Florida’s Claire Bryant who produced her personal best 6.70m.

The bronze medal means that Gittens has earned 26 points for Texas A&M at the nationals, the third-most all-time at an NCAA meet.

Two weeks ago, following her sixth-place finish at the SEC Indoor Championships, Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens said she was coming for the NCAA pentathlon record.

“These two weeks are going to be very important. I have a lot to work on,” she said. “I am going to use it to train and just get consistent and I am coming for the NCAA record.”

She wasn’t kidding.

On today’s first day of the NCAA National Indoor Championships in Arkansas, Gittens smashed the collegiate, facility and meet records held by Kendell Williams to crown herself NCAA national champion.

 On March 11, 2016, Williams of the University of Georgia set the collegiate and meet records of 4703 points. She also held the facility record of 4678 points set on March 14, 2015. These are no more as the 22-year-old Trinidadian scored a personal best 4746 points to take gold and exact revenge on Georgia’s Anna Hall, who won the SEC title a fortnight ago.

Hall secured the silver with 4401 points while Erin Marsh of Duke scored 4344 points for third.

Gittens, who had set a personal best 4612 points on January 29, started out well-running 8.27s for the 60m hurdles, the second-best time overall behind Marsh’s 8.13s.

The time, though, earned Gittens 1068 points. She would then earn another 1145 points in the long jump after clearing a personal best and school record 1.93m.

Her worst score of the day came in the shot put when a mark of 13.86m earned her 785 points.

By then she had established a lead of 277 points over Hall going into the final two events. At the SEC’s, trouble with the long jump run up saw her struggle, only managing a mark of 4.11m. She had no such trouble today leaping to 6.58m, just four centimetres shy of her personal best of 6.62m.

With only the 800m to come, Gittens needed 673 points to break the collegiate record. Her time of 2:28.22 was the 15th best time of the competitors but it earned 715 points that took her past the previous records.

Texas A&M’s Tyra Gittens wants to wrap up qualification for the Olympic heptathlon as soon as the outdoor season begins, but if she doesn’t, she is confident that there are other ways for her to get to Tokyo.

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