By Renaldo Dorsett
Tribune Sports Reporter
BAHAMIAN athletes produced a series of impressive performances to conclude their seasons at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Samson Colebrooke and Tamar Greene, of the Purdue Boilermakers, along with Doniesha Anderson of the Florida Gators, were members of first team All-American relay teams while Denzel Pratt, of the Liberty Flames, received All-American Honourable Mention at the four-day meet in Austin, Texas.
Colebrooke and Green led their Boilermaker teammates to a first team All-America nod in the 4x100m. They finished seventh in the final in 38.92 seconds, the second-fastest time in Purdue history.
The quartet (which also includes Wassem Williams and Justin Becker) now holds all three fastest times, and each was set in the final three races of the season (NCAA East Regional, NCAA Championship semifinals and final).
Individually, Greene also received an All-American Honourable Mention in the triple jump. He finished 19th in the final with a mark of 15.64m. In the 200m, Colebrooke was fourth in heat two of the semi-finals in 20.49. His time was just three one-hundredths of a second shy of his personal-record as he finished 15th overall. He was also a member of the 4x400m team which finished sixth in heat three of the semi-finals in a time of 3:07.65. It marked the sixth fastest time in school history.
Fellow Bahamian and head coach of the Purdue Boilermakers, Norbert Elliot, applauded the effort of his 4x100m squad in particular and his entire Boilermaker team that set several milestones this season.
“Those guys are poised. It was a really tense atmosphere and they did the best they could out of lane two and I am just so proud of them. They listened and they executed well,” Elliot said. “We are returning just about everybody from this group [at nationals] and I can’t wait for next year. We’re going to have a really special group and I think we’ll continue the rise that we are on.”
Elliot led Purdue to a memorable season after qualifying for the NCAA championships in seven events.
Pratt made his second consecutive NCAA national outdoor championships appearance a memorable one with his second team All-America nod in the javelin. Pratt threw 67.36m (221’ 1”) on his first attempt and finished 14th place in the field. It was the best-ever finish by a Liberty men’s javelin thrower at the meet. Pratt also became the Flames’ first NCAA Division I All-American in the event in programme history.
Anderson and her Gator teammates just missed the medal podium with a fourth place finish in the women’s 4x400m. They finished in 3:27.02 - the second-fastest time in Gators history and an All-American first team selection.
Jyles Etienne, of the Indiana Hoosiers, finished the men’s high jump tied at No.17 overall with a clearance of 2.15m.
The East Regional was hosted at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, while the West Regional was hosted by Sacramento State University in Sacramento, California. In order to advance to the final round, athletes had to finish among the top-12 (per region) in their respective events.
Both Colebrooke and Greene were members of the record-setting 4x100m team that won the East Regional quarter-final.
Their time of 38.75 was the fastest time in Purdue history, a facility record and was the fifth-fastest time by any team in the NCAA this year.
Individually, Colebrooke also qualified in the 200m and finished ninth overall after he ran an NCAA qualifying time of 20.46 in the quarter-final. His new personal best time also made him the second-fastest Boilermaker in programme history. He was also a member of the 4x400-metre relay team that advanced to nationals with a time of 3:05.43.
Following the 4x100m, Greene also qualified individually in the triple jump.
Green leaped 16m (52 feet, six inches) to finish fourth overall.
Pratt qualified for Austin on his very first attempt, 67.49m (221 feet, five inches). His final throw of 68.43m (224 feet, six inches) produced a fifth-place finish at the East Regional. This season, he has won four of his six javelin competitions and won the ASUN title most recently.
Anderson, who was named an SEC All-Freshman honouree for the individual 400m, was a member of the Gators’ 4x400m that finished No.10 at the East Regional in 3:33:49.
Etienne finished 10th in the high jump field with a height of 2.19m (7 feet 2.25 inches). He recorded his season best height at the Big Ten Championships where he cleared a height of 2.20m (7’ 2.5”).