By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Lurking in third place with her fourth round effort after three subpar performances, British Virgin Islands native and Findlay Jr. Tynelle Gumbs, unleashed a fifth round throw that propelled her to her goal of winning the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships Weight Throw on Thursday, in Birmingham, Alabama. Then on Saturday, the BVI’s Khari Herbert finished second in the 400m.
Gumbs vaulted past Winona State Jr. Kaitlin Long who led from her opening heave of 21.22m (69’7½”) inches and to the top of the pile, when she twirled the 20-pound ball out to 21.41m (70’3”) inches to snatch the victory. Twin sister Trevia placed ninth with a toss of 18.80m (61’8¼”).
In earning All American honors, Gumbs who threw over 70 feet twice for the first time in competition, became just the second Findlay Oilers women’s NCAA Division II Indoor champion in program history and the BVI’s first. She’s coming off winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference title with a school record throw of 21.45m (70’4½”).
“I am extremely very happy with my performance even though I didn’t get a personal best, being national champion is a big deal to me, because that’s what I’ve been working towards for the whole season,” Gumbs explained. “I knew the competition would be really intense because of the simple fact that the top three marks were so close. My first three throws were subpar, but I threw over 20m which got me into the final.”
Gumbs explained that ahead of the final, her coach Blaine Magg changed her technique from a bump to a sling to get more momentum because she wasn’t getting any aggression nor pushing the ball or using the ring as she should have. She said that she did two warm up throws before the final which completely changed her mind set and she felt more aggressive and she would throw further than her opening throw of 20.08m (65’10½”).
“My fourth throw was my first 21.00m (70’0”) throw of the competition so I was really happy about that, but, I was still in third place,” she reflected. “I was getting nervous because the competition was getting intense and I said its ‘now or never.’ On the fifth throw, I got into the ring, took a big breath, I did my turns and felt that it was a good throw and it was 21.41m, (70’3”) so I was excited, but at the same time I was nervous because there were two girls after me and I would have to wait and see if they threw better than me.”
Gumbs’ last round effort was 20.90m (68’7”), but still had to wait.
“They didn’t pass me so I was happy,” she said. “It felt really good winning because I beat the record holder and that was amazing for me, it was crazy. I’m just really excited about how I did.
Gumbs’ victory comes a week after Nelda Huggins won the National Jr. Colleges Athletics Association Indoor Championships 60m dash. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott’s second place in the 60m, in 2002, is the best NCAA Division I finish.
Meanwhile, Herbert, a St. Augustine Sr., won his 400m final heat in a personal best of 46.97 seconds to finish second overall, after running 47.43 seconds in the prelims.
“I came into nationals ranked sixth with a personal best of 47.48 seconds and I knew what I was capable of doing and my mindset was coming in positive and trying to win,” Herbert said. “I wasn’t paying any attention to times that anyone ran to get here, it’s what you do when you get to nationals. I did okay in the prelims and it was my first time running in a while and I felt winded, but I knew I’d be okay coming into the finals. So I went after it and got the personal best I wanted to get and I’m just thankful.”
Herbert anchored the 4x400m relay to victory in 3 minutes, 08.72 seconds with a 46.20 split, earning his second Division II All American honors, along with the 400m.
Meanwhile, running at the Jack Albani Invitational in Modesto California, Tarika “Tinker Bell” Moses ran unchallenged and won the 800m with a time of 2 minutes 18.12 seconds.