By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
It was a relatively good start to the outdoor track and field campaign for Bahamian female sprinter TyNia Gaither as she finished in the top three in the female double sprints in the Prairie View Relays at the Memorial Stadium.
Elsewhere over the weekend, high jumper Jyles Etienne pulled off a victory in Tempe, Arizona, while Donovan Storr posted a win in Hammond, Louisiana, where RK Athletics also competed.
Gaither, competing for Adidas, easily took the women’s 100 metre title in 11.19 seconds as she outdistanced Kendall Baisden, who was second in 11.65. American Ebony Morrison, the winner of heat two, was third overall in 11.74.
Gaither returned for the 200m where she won the second of three heats in 23.67. The performance placed her third overall behind American Jaide Stepter, (23.38) and Candace Hill (23.45) of Asics, who won and placed second respectively in heat one.
Although she was pleased with her time in the century, Gaither said she hopes that she can push her half-lap race under the rug because she wasn’t prepared mentally or physically for it.
“My one hundred, one thing I can say about my new coach is that he has gotten me to run my start immaculately,” said Gathier, now training in Houston, Texas with coach Eric Francis.
“My start has come a long way. That was something that had set me back a long way in the past. I still have some technical work to do in my 100 race, but that is going to come over time. My two hundred, I’ve been feeling very strong in practice and I know what I’m capable of. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it in competition.”
Just before the start of the 200m, Gaither said she was informed that she had to run in a slower heat and that got to her, something she should have shown some more maturity with and “just showed up and run. “So I was disappointed in that. Even though I won the race by a lot, I still felt I should have gone out there and put down a decent time, but I didn’t do that. Those are opportunities that you shouldn’t waste and I felt that was what I did.”
Gaither, who just turned 26 on March 16, has her sights set on representing the Bahamas at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, May 11-12 and eventually at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, September 28 to October 6.
“We were supposed to run a 4 x 100m relay at Florida Relays this weekend, but they (BAAA) told me that we won’t be doing that anymore because they want to see where we are at individually so we won’t run together until the Penn Relays,” said Gaither, who has no idea who will likely be on the team.
“It would have been great if the World Relays was still in the Bahamas. I was really looking forward to that. I guess we have to make Japan do.”
As for the World Championships, Gaither said her lofty goal is to go to Doha and win a medal. “My faith is strong, I’m in a great place physically and mentally and so it’s just a matter of me going out there and executing my race,” she stressed. “So I don’t see why I can’t bring home a medal for the Bahamas.”
As a finalist in the 200m at the last World Championships in London, England in 2017, Gaither said if she runs anywhere in the vicinity of 22-low in the 200m and 10-point in the 100m, she should make the podium.
Heading into her third year as a professional athlete, the reigning national 200m champion currently has a personal best of 11.08 (not legal) and 11.19 (legal) in the 100m and 22.54 in the 200m, all recorded in Eugene, Oregon in 2016 when she competed for the University of South Carolina.
Etienne soared to victory
Etienne, the lone Bahamian competing at the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Arizona, cleared two metres and .05 inches to win the men’s high jump on Saturday for the University of Indiana.
The sophomore out of Stony Brook School was coming off his U-M Indoor Track Building record-breaking performance at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a height of 2.16m (7-1).
Bahamian Connection at SLU Dual
At the Southeastern Louisiana & Southern University Dual meet at the Lion & Jaguars Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, Louisiana, Donovan Storr represented SE Louisiana, while the RK Athletics added some Bahamian flavour.
Storr, a 6-foot, 3-inch junior out of Andros, won the men’s 200m in 21.16 for a meet record, followed by RK Athletics’ Cliff Resias, who did 21.65.
Resias, by the way, also captured the 100m in 10.64 in a photo finish ahead of SE Louisiana’s Jaysen Robinson.
Storr also ran the second leg of SE Louisiana’s winning 4 x 100m relay team of Devin Daxon, Jebarri Cumberbatch and Robinson that clocked 40.76 for a meet record.
And in the 4 x 400m relay, Storr popped off on the team of Gerald Coleman, Garrett Cook and James Benson that took the tape in 3:13.22 for another meet record.
The remainder of the RK Athletics team opted not to run the 4 x 400m relay. Instead, the trio competed in the 400m where Andre Colebrook led the pack in third place in 48.00 with Ashley Riley fourth in 48.20 and Maverick Bowleg sixth in 48.32.
RK Athletics is coached by Bernard Newbold.