Tahesia Harrigan-Scott kicked off her 2018 season by winning Saturday’s Ocean Breeze Grand Prix Elite Women 60m dash in New York City.
In the twilight of her career, the veteran sprinter reflected on her 2017 season, shed light on stepping away from the sport and gave advice to upcoming athletes.
Harrigan-Scott has been a mark of consistency and has run 7.35 seconds or faster in 14 of the last 15 indoors seasons. On Saturday, she cut the tape in 7.43 seconds, during her season opener.
“Wanted to run in the 7.3s or better, but one meet at a time,” said Harrigan-Scott, who ran 7.28 or faster in eight of the last 15 years. “This is a better opener than last year’s 7.49.”
The BVI’s double sprint record holder said 2017 was a rough season for her, especially coming off 2016 when she qualified for the Rio Olympic Games and ran the 100m in 11.26 seconds. It was also the first time since 2005 she did not meet the International Association of Athletics Federations 100m qualifying standard.
“Last season, I couldn’t put a 100m race together to save my life, even though I would run a really great 4x100m relay leg,” reflected Harrigan-Scott whose season’s best was 11.46 seconds. “Training was on target, but, it just wouldn’t transfer to my main event. This resulted in me not qualifying for the IAAF World Championships. I came to the conclusion that my body needed and deserved the rest.”
Harrigan-Scott, a 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships 60m bronze medalist and a 2010 finalist where she placed sixth, is also eyeing the next event in Birmingham, England in March.
She said the consistency that has seen her running 7.35 seconds or faster for 14 of the last 15 years, has come from having great coaches and a great support team.
“I’m naturally a pocket rocket out the blocks so the 60m has always been my baby,” she noted. “For most of my career, running under 7.30 was something I could do with my eyes closed. I am thankful and blessed that I’ve been able to continue my career this long and be able to hit those marks.”
As she winds down her career, she said she’ll continue to listen to her body and make the retirement decision when the time comes, which is sooner rather than later.
“I know for a fact I’m not shooting for the 2020 Olympics,” she said. “However, if they need an alternate leg for support, count on me.”
With an illustrious international career that began with the 2002 Commonwealth Games and an IAAF World Championships semifinals berth, two Central American and Caribbean Games titles and two Central American and Caribbean Championships crowns, Harrigan-Scott said she’s extremely proud to see what the upcoming athletes are doing.
In 2017, 400m Hurdler Kyron McMaster, ended the season ranked No 2 in the world while Chantel Malone, who became the first IAAF World Championships finalist and placed seventh, was ranked No 10 globally, in her event.
“They are dong and exceptional job locally, regionally and internationally,” she said, while offering a bit of advice. “Always believe in yourself, no matter the results. With everything, track and field has its ups and downs, so our upcoming athletes always have to stay focused on their ultimate goal and have short term goals to help track their progression.”
She added: “Trust the process and your coach. Train your mental just as hard or even harder than you train your body. Track and Field is 90% mental. When you face and obstacle, reevaluate what when wrong and what you need to do to avoid that same outcome. Continue building from there. Being successful is a journey and learn from the obstacles. There’s a lot of talent in the Virgin Islands and I can’t wait to witness our upcoming athletes continue to move up the charts.”
Meanwhile, Ashley Kelly and Chantel Malone made their 2018 debuts in the Clemson Invitational, the home track of Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner.
Kelly recorded a 400m time of 55.93 seconds, while Warner, a Clemson Sophomore finished in 56.13 seconds. Kelly ran 7.66 seconds in her 60m prelim but skipped the final.
Malone opened her season with a fourth place finish in the Long Jump after leaping 6.37m (21’10¾”).
Elsewhere, Iowa Central Sophomore Nelda Huggins won the Jim Emmerich Invite 60m in Bookings, South Dakota in 7.50 seconds on Saturday. Coming off a 7.50 seconds victory in the Iowa Hawkeyes Classic a week earlier, she turned in a season’s best 7.49 to win her prelim, before stopping the clock at 7.50 seconds for the win.
Teammate Akeem Bradshaw also of the BVI, ran 6.94 seconds in his 60m heat but did not advance to the final
In Indiana, after a third place in the 60m dash at the Indiana Gladsten Invite in a personal best of 6.78 seconds after advancing with 6.82 in the prelims, the BVI’s Rikkoi Brathwaite won the 200m in 22.17 seconds.
Barton College freshman and BVI native Adriano Gumbs, recorded a 400m indoor personal best of 49.25 seconds as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational in New Mexico.
At the Emory Riddle Challenge in Florida, Xiomara “Gia” Malone was fifth overall in the 60m Hurdles in 9.45 seconds, after winning her heat.
Competing at the Liberty Invitational in Virginia, High Schooler, the BVI’s Trent Herbert, ran a personal best of 37.59 seconds in the 300m to tie for third place in his heat and 6.84 seconds in the 55m dash. He also had a distance of 19 feet two inches for second in the Long Jump.