By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
KEN Mullings led a 14-member team from the University of the Bahamas Mingoes track and field team at the 2018 Fred Wilt Invitational over the weekend at the Lambert Fieldhouse in West Lafayette, Indiana by breaking the men's national heptathlon indoor record.
The meet was hosted by Purdue University where the Boilermakers' track team is headed by Bahamian Rolando Greene assisted by Norbert Elliott and featuring a couple of Bahamians, including sprinters Carmiesha Cox and Keanu Pennerman, both of whom participated.
The Mingoes' track head, headed by Rupert Gardiner and assisted by Ednol Rolle, was invited to compete in the meet for the second consecutive year by the Boilermakers, who gave the team a warm Bahamian welcome and reception.
Mullings, erasing the previous national indoor record that was set by Desmond Major with 4,141 points at the NJCAA Championships on March 8, 2014, inked his name in the history books with his total of 5,059 points as he won four of the seven events contested and finished second twice and third in the other three.
"I'm proud of my accomplishments with the first heptathlon indoor event for UM," Mullings said. "I feel I trained hard and long for it, so I feel like I deserve it. I really want to thank all of the coaches, coach Rolle and coach Gardiner for all the help in finding the meet to achieve this goal.
"I also want to thank Mrs (Kimberley) Rolle for supplying me with the instruments that I need for the event. I also want to thank my mother and sister for supporting me through the hard work during the offseason."
The versatile sophomore opened the competition by placing third in the 60m in 7.19 seconds for 816 points. He bounced back and got second in both the long jump with a leap of 7.00 metres or 22-feet, 11-inches for 814 points and the shot put with a heave of 12.29m (40-04) for 624 points before he went on his winning spree.
In the high jump, Mullings soared 2.10m (6-7) to propel himself to victory with 813 points. That was followed by the 60m hurdles in which he ran 9.42 for 879 points and he cleared 3.64m (11-11 1/4) with 519 points in the pole vault before he closed out the competition by running 3:07.35 in the 1,000m to earn 594 points.
With UB expected to compete in a few more meets during the indoor season, Mullings said he only anticipates that his mark will improve because he should be getting stiffer competition and he will be willing forward to the multi event.
"I feel like I can improve on all of the events because no event us perfect and each event has the space to get more points," he pointed out. "But if there's something I need to work on something in a short period of time, I would chose the pole vault and the throwing events are my weakest events."
Mullings also ran the third leg on UB men's 4 x 400m team of Donya Roberts, Michael Stuart and Brandon Hanna. They combined to clock 3:28.37 to take first place in their section, but sixth overall.
Gabrielle Shannon, Quanisha Marshall, Amber Ford and Josey Romica also teamed up to win their section of the women's 4 x 400m relay for UB in 4:02.92, which was good enough for fifth place overall.
Avery Thompson, now in his senior year, posted a second place finish in the men's 60m hurdles in 8.11 behind Justin Veteto, a senior at Purdue, in 8.05. Thompson advanced to the final by running the second fastest time of 8.18 in the preliminaries.
Yurick Dean, another senior, picked up a fourth place in the men's 60m in 6.97 as Josh Davis, a junior st Alabama State, took the tape in 6.74. Dean was second in his segment of the preliminaries in 6.96 and Keanu Pennerman, a junior at Purdue, was third in his heat in 7.15 for 11th overall.
Dean was also fourth in the 200m in 22.71 with freshman team-mate Javaughn Culmer ran 23.96 for 14th place. Jordan Hollis, a junior at Purdue, won in 22.27.
Michael Stuart, a sophomore, won his section of the men's 400m in 51.81, but placed eighth overall, while Donya Roberts, a junior, was ninth in 51.86. Brandon Hanna, a freshman, also won his second of the 600 in 1:29.39, but had to settle for sixth overall.
Purdue's freshman triple jumper Tamar Greene moved to fifth place in the Big Ten Conference this year as he was the top collegiate finisher with second overall with a mark of 15.21 meters (49-11.00) behind alum Anaguan Peterson, who won with 15.87m (52.01).
Carmiesha Cox, a senior at Purdue, got second in the women's 200m in 24.11 behind her sophomore team-mate Chloe Abbott, who won in 24.05.
UB's Gabrielle Shannon, a sophomore, was 14th in 26.21 and Alexandria Strachan, a junior, trailed in 20th spot in 27.13.
Strachan also contested the 60m where she was fifth in her heat for 15th place overall in 8.02.
Ford, in her junior year and Josey Romica, a freshman, was 11th and 12th respectively in the women's 400m in 1:00.71 and 1:01.31 and Marshall and Geneisha Capron, both in their freshman year, got fifth in 2:23.14 and 11th in 2:35.19 in the 800m.
Albury shines in Philadelphia
At the home meet at the Penn State National Invitational at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Meet at the University Park, Keianna Albury sped to victory in the final of the women's 60m in 7.37. The junior sprinter qualified with the fastest times of 7.41 in the semi-final and 7.47 in the preliminaries.
And Albury doubled up in the 200m invite in crossing the line in the one-lap race in 23.92.
Etienne soars in Indiana
At the Indiana University Relays at the Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Indiana, NCAA No.5 ranked Jyles Etienne placed third in the men's high jump with a leap of 2.04m (6.08 1/4). Matthew Birzer of Notre Dame won with 2.14m (7-0 1/4) and Paul Galas of Indiana University was second with 2.08m (6-9 3/4).
Seymour hurdles in Texas
At the Texas Tech Classic and Multis in Lubbock, Texas, senior transfer Pedrya Seymour got a third place finish in the women's 60m hurdles in 8.22 after she ran 8.18 in the preliminaries. She trailed a pair of pro athletes as Oluwatobiloba Amusan of Adidas won in 7.94 and Queen Harrison of Asics was second in 8.03.
Nairn leads in Arkansas
In the men's long jump at the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Complex at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Arkansas' sophomore Laquan Nairn cleared 7.87m (25-10) for second place. Grant Holloway, a sophomore at Florida, won with 7.97m (26-01 3/4).
Meanwhile, Shaquania Dorsett, a junior at Florida State, was a distant 24th place in the women's 400m in 57.75. Lynna Irby, a freshman of Georgia, won in 51.48.