By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
TORONTO, Canada—Kyron McMaster struck 400m Hurdles gold for a third time during a major championship this season, while Eldred Henry and Deya Erickson established national records in the Shot Put and 100m Hurdles respectively, during the 3rd North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Championships at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, in Toronto, Canada.
McMaster who won dropped the fastest semifinal time of 49.16 seconds on Friday while establishing a stadium record in the process, collared Jamaica’s Annsert Whyte at the 10th barrier in the final, to win the 400m Hurdles in a championships record time of 48.18 seconds on Sunday.
McMaster powered away from Whyte who controlled much of the race in the last 40m to distance himself from his Jamaican rival who ran 48.91 seconds, as McMaster claimed one of the 32 championships records established.
McMaster who will next see action in the IAAF Diamond League final on Aug 30 in Zurich, Switzerland, said he has been working on some different things during the championships.
“Today we tried a different formula, but I don’t think I executed it as I wanted to,” he said. “There was a lot of wind on the back stretch and from the little knowledge I have of hurdling, running on the backstretch instead of running against the wind, I just ran through the motion with the wind and executed when I felt it was off.”
The way White attacked the race, it left McMaster spent at the end after chasing him down for the victory.
“He kept moving on the backstretch when the wind was attacking so I was like, let me stay calm and not react to anything he may try because I knew once I could execute my curve and the home stretch, I knew it could be a win in my favor and it turned out that way,” he explained. “It feels good to win another gold medal for the British Virgin Islands and I’m just happy that I could deliver, especially with the tough conditions I had to deal with today.”
The with the way the race developed, the battle for the gold McMaster said, came down to who had the best technique over the hurdles.
“Once I saw his technique started to fail at the ninth hurdle, I just attacked and I knew it would have failed again at the 10th hurdle so I attacked again at the 10th hurdle,” he pointed out, nothing that he wasn’t happy with the time. “These days, boys running 46, so you want to keep abreast of the time.”
On Friday, Henry improved his own BVI Shot Put record from the 20.18m effort to win CAC Games bronze, with a heave of 20.63m, to finish fifth.
“I opened with about 19.22, the had 19.80 and on the third one, I really went for it and that’s when I hit my personal best of 20.63, the fourth one was 20.56, then I got a little excited,” Henry said of his series. “I wasn’t surprised. That’s what I’ve been working in practice for the last couple of months. I knew it was there, but it was a matter of putting everything together and getting it in a meet.”
Henry was injured last year and he said the time off made him heal properly and began working in January.
“Everything I’ve been doing is off January’s work,” he noted. “I didn’t really have an off season so I’m kind of surprised with my performances.”
Erickson lowered her 100m Hurdles personal best from 13.98 seconds to 13.80, to place a non-advancing sixth in her heat.
“Running 13.80 is not what I expected to run, I expected to run way faster than that, but I had a lot of hiccups in my race,” Erickson noted. “Hopefully, by next year I can correct all the mistakes and reach the goal I was pushing for this year.”
Erickson’s success is even more remarkable as she returned from a severe 2016 knee injury and Doctors told her she wouldn’t even be running again, but began jogging in October, following Hurricane Irma.
She said her journey has been a simple one—work hard and stay focused, never give up and have faith in your abilities.
“I did rehab for me knee and strengthened areas in my knee that we don’t focus on, areas in him hips, my calves, my quads and my hamstring that we don’t usually focus on,” Erickson noted. “I put a lot of focus on areas that will keep my knee from relapsing and not getting reinjured.”
Tynelle Gumbs was fourth in the Hammer Throw with a measurement of 58.78m her second best mark in a season of limited competition.
“It wasn’t the best that I could have done and I think my technique was a little off today,” she noted. “It wasn’t the worst I’ve had and I did better than as the CAC Games, but it still could have been better.”
Meanwhile, veteran sprinter Tahesia Harrigan-Scott was seventh in the Women’s 100m dash on Saturday, with a time of 11.61 seconds, after turning in 11.62 as one of the fastest losers advancing from the semifinals.
“Making a final is always a good thing, that was my goal, to make it by taking each round at a time,” she said. “I tried to correct the mistakes I made in the semis. It felt better and like I was more aggressive most of the race but just lost it a little at the end, but overall, I was excited to be in the final.”
Long jumper Chantel Malone finished fifth in her pet event and Kala Penn was eight.
“This was probably the worst meet of the season,” said Malone who had a best leap of 6.19 meters while Penn’s best measurement was 6.04m. “I was having trouble gauging the wind today and I just felt kinda flat going into the board, so as a result, I didn’t get the kind of pop I wanted. But overall, I’m not content. I’m hungry for what’s to come in 2019.”
Penn said she wanted to get a personal best but with the current injuries, she was limited and pulled out of the Triple Jump.
“I was happy with my end of the season,” said Penn, who’s heading to the University of Florida on a scholarship later this month.
Shaquoy Stevens had a non-advancing time of 10.52 seconds in the 100m semis but did not advance to the final. He won his semifinal heat in 10.67 seconds.
“It was a pretty ok race, I stayed to relaxed in the drive phase and I paid for it in the end,” Stephens said. “But, I’m satisfied with the performance.”
Trevia Gumbs fouled out of the Shot Put on Sunday afternoon.
“This was a challenging competition for me. I think the nerves got the better of me,” she revealed. “I fouled out in the Shot Put but my Discus was better than in CAC Games. I was really disappointed in how I ended my season but I’m excited to see where 2019 takes me. I see where I have to change. I’ve had a consistent series of mistakes in the past couple competitions, so I know what I have to train for and do in the off season.”
Tarika “Tinkerbell” Moses limped home with a left foot injury in the 400m and was timed in 57.94 seconds.