Nelda Huggins Lands Jr. Colleges 60m Crown

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Virgin Islands athletes at the March 3-4, National Jr. Colleges Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas. L-R: Keshema Fleming, USVI, of Allen College, Nelda Huggins, Iowa Central, Tarique Moses, Central Arizona College, Taylor Hill, South Plains College and Judine Lacey, Iowa Central

Virgin Islands athletes at the March 3-4, National Jr. Colleges Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas. L-R: Keshema Fleming, USVI, of Allen College, Nelda Huggins, Iowa Central, Tarique Moses, Central Arizona College, Taylor Hill, South Plains College and Judine Lacey, Iowa Central

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Iowa Central Freshman Nelda Huggins extended the territory’s individual National Jr. Colleges Athletics Association Indoor Championships titles to three in the last two years, when she sprinted to the 60m crown on Saturday in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Huggins who turned 20 last month ran the fastest time by a BVI athlete indoors this season when she broke the tape in 7.31 seconds, a personal best and a time that makes her the territory’s second fastest behind record holder Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, who has run 7.09 seconds. She became the BVI’s third successive Jr. Colleges individual indoor champion, joining the Central Arizona pair of Kyron McMaster and Tynelle Gumbs who won the 400m and Weight Throw titles respectively in 2016 and including outdoors, the territory has had an individual champ every year since 2014.

Huggins who became the first to win a sprint title, made her intentions known that she would be contending for the title, when she ran 7.32 seconds in the prelims to win her heat with the meet’s fastest time, slicing her previous best of 7.45 seconds. That time eclipsed Harrigan-Scott’s 7.33 mark, that was the best by a BVI athlete in 2017. Harrigan-Scott has run 7.35 or faster for 14 of the last 15 years.

Huggins returned later in the meet to finish second in the 200m in a personal best of 23.79 seconds, for her second Jr. College All American honors and the No. 3 indoor mark on the BVI’s All Time List. She won her 200m heat in 24.10 seconds. Huggins ended her first collegiate championships with a second leg carry on the 1600m relay that was seventh in 3 minutes, 47.50 seconds, to help Iowa Central to a second place finish in the competition after amassing 116 points, five behind New Mexico who won the title.

Huggins did not respond to requests for comments on her performances.

Others competing in the Jr. Colleges Championships werre South Plains College sophomore Taylor Hill, who ran a season’s best of 7.58 seconds in the 60m, the 13th best time in the prelims, but did not advance. She also had a non-advancing time of 25.51 seconds in the 200m.

Iowa Central and Huggins’ teammate freshman Judine Lacey, ran her 400m heat in 1:01.18.

Central Arizona freshman Tarique Moses, helped his Distance Medley Relay team to 13th place with a time of 10 minutes 51.08 seconds. He contributed a third leg carry on the 1600 meter relay that placed ninth in 3 minutes, 17.05 seconds.

Competing for Monroe College, sophomore and BVI resident Shaian Vandenburg finished with a time of 7.86 seconds in her 60m heat.

College of the Sequoias freshman Tarika “Tinker Bell” Moses, running on the outdoor circuit, was second in the 100m at the American River Beaver Relays in Sacramento, Calif., with a personal best time of 11.70 seconds.

At the Berkmar High School meet in Georgia, 11 year old Adejah Hodge, was third in the 100m dash in 13.35 seconds and placed second in the 200m with a time of 27.54 seconds.

This weekend, the BVI Athletics Association hosts the National Jr. Championships which serves as the Carifta Games trials, on Friday and Saturday. Competition begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Session II will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday with the final session scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

So far, four athletes have met the qualifying standards.

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