By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Jah’Kyla Morton, a 2022 Carifta Games U17 Girls High Jump bronze medalist, punched her ticket to the 50th edition of the championships in Nassau, Bahamas, April 8-10, in two events on Saturday, during the 2nd Dag Samuels Development Series meet.
“Today has been an amazing day. I qualified two times in both events I’m training for on the same day,” Morton told Island Sun Sports. “It was not expected, but I’m glad it happened. I was very surprised. I was not expecting to run 15.09 (seconds) in the (100m) Hurdles. I thought I would have run at least 15.20 or something.”
Morton said that leading up to the meet, training has been a ‘real struggle’ trying to get the technique for each event spot on. During the morning session, she cleared 1.59m (5’2½”) to qualify in her pet event, the High Jump and said she didn’t feel pressured when she became the first to qualify for the Carifta Games. “My best is actually 1.60 (5’3”) which I did in Carifta, but I’m passing that this year,” she said. “I’m aiming for first place this year. My goals have gotten bigger. If I don’t get first it’s okay, I’ll deal with second. I’m not dealing with third, not this year.”
Morton’s goal is to become an Olympic High Jumper and said the event is ‘peaceful in a way.’ “It’s the most technical event, but I like it,” she said. “Love that event actually.”
Malik John opened his season with a 49.15 seconds run in the open 400m.
“It was really windy today so the homestretch was kind of hard, I did my best to come off the turn and try to come home; 49.15 wasn’t really the target for today,” he noted. “But, for the season opener, we’ll settle with it, hope for the future and see where it takes us.”
UCF’s Beyonce DeFretias eclipsed Ashely Kelly’s 7-year old 23.69 seconds 200m Indoors National Record, when she stopped the clock at 23.54 to finish 3rd in the Texas Tech Red Raiders Open, after running a personal best, 7.50 seconds in the 60m.
Northern Iowa Area Community College’s Bruce Huggins, lowered his 200m indoors best to 23.61 seconds in the Jack Jannett Invitational and was eight overall. He was 4th in his 60m Heat in 7.40, a mark good for 10th overall.
Washburn’s Kimberly Smith won the Washburn Rust Buster Long Jump with a 5.66m (18’7”) leap to qualify for the NCAA Division 2 Indoor Championships and ran 8.26 seconds in the 60m.
“I didn’t get the mark I wanted to jump or the time I wanted to run, but I got the job done,” Smith said.
It was a 7.14 seconds 60m debut performance for Miles Creque of Iowa Central at the Jim Emmerich Alumni Invitational. “I really enjoyed my first college race,” he said. “It wasn’t the time I wanted to run, but there’s room for improvement and there are more meets coming up so I can improve on those things.”
It was a ‘new experience’ for Northern Michigan’s Jahtivya Williams, who won her 400m Heat at the Lake Michigan Open in 1:02.68, then without full recovery, ran the 55m finals in 7.52 seconds for second place after winning her heat in 7.41. It was Williams’s first 400m indoor race and she learnt where she had to make the break. “Five minutes after I did the four, I had to run the 55 meters finals. That was crazy because I was exhausted,” she reflected. “My head was still spinning and the lactic acid was crazy, but I did what I had to do and got second in the finals. It was an experience I will never forget.”
North Dakota State Heptathlete A’Keela McMaster, made her 400m debut in 58.92 seconds. “I was happy with my time because I put in the work for the 400 and even though it was my first time, I know that I can do better,” she said. “I’m going to work very hard to see that progress.”
Montverde Academy’s sprint sensation Adaejah Hodge, ran 55.70 for second in the RADD Sunshine Girls Showcase 400m, finishing second behind teammate, Michelle Smith of St. Croix, who ran 55.38. Between them, they won five Carifta Game U17 Girls Division gold medals in Jamaica last year.