By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Clemson sophomore Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner, will compete in the 400m hurdles at the June 6-9, NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, after advancing from the East Regional that wrapped up in Tampa, Florida on Saturday.
Warner became the BVI’s eight athlete advancing to the NCAA Championships since 1979, after running 57.52 seconds to grab the last spot from the quarter finals. She ran 57.94, for an automatic place in the quarter final.
“It means a lot, so much so it left me speechless,” said Warner who overcame injuries that knocked her out of indoor competition and she had a bad season opener. “I just took one race at a time. My prelim wasn’t the best because it was a bad technical race, but my goal was to be in the top three. In the quarter final, I just went out there and raced, I wasn’t going out for any specific time, I wanted to make it to nationals.”
Her goal at national is a simple one.
“Make it through the round,” she said. “One race at a time.”
Warner joins other BVI athletes who have qualified for the NCAA Championships in individual events including:
Dean Greenaway, Colorado, 1979 & 1980
Keita Cline, Minnesota, 1993-1995
Tracy Bradshaw, Northern Arizona, 1994
Tahesia Harrigan, Minnesota, 2002; Alabama, 2005 & 2006
Dion Crabbe, Mississippi State, 2002
Chantel Malone, Texas, 2009 & 2010
Ashley Kelly, Illinois, 2011
Ashley Kelly and Chantel Malone were also part of their school’s relay teams as well.
Meanwhile, eight BVI athletes competed at the 3rd Atlanta Georgia Relays in Douglasville, Georgia, and Adajeah Hodge accounted for five of the six medals, with three individual victories and two meet records in the 11-12 Girls Division.
Hodge ran a 400m personal best and a meet record 57.80 seconds, to demolish the 1:01.17 mark established in 2017. Her 200m winning time of 26.46 seconds, shatter the 27.07 meet record established last year. She also won the Long Jump with a leap of 4.68 meters (15’4¼”).
Hodge, on second leg, teamed with 13-14 Girls, Akeela McMaster, Amia Todman and Abriel Magloire, to grab 4×100 meters relay silver in 50.66 seconds, then she anchored them to victory on the 4 x 200m sprint relay, in 1 minute 48.48 seconds.
“It was an awesome feeling because I got to run with my old teammates again,” Hodge reflected after the meet. “I just want to say a big thanks to the BVI coaches and parents for giving me the opportunity to reunite with my friends. It was an awesome weekend.”
In winning the 4 x 200m Relay which she anchored, they avenged a loss to Jamaica’s Wolmer’s School in the 4 x 100m.
“It meant everything to me because they beat us in the 4×100 and we regrouped, came back as a team and gave it our all,” she noted. “So it made my job a little bit easier on the anchor, because we did what was supposed to be done.”
Running a career best 57.80 seconds over 400m came as a definite surprise, Hodge said. “I was aiming within the 58 seconds range and by surprise, ran 57.80,” she said. “It was a surprise for my coaches too. The 400 is now my favorite event because it gives me more time to strategize and I can show my coaches how strong I’m becoming. It also helps my time in the 200m.”
After placing fourth in the shot put with a distance of 7.93 meters (26’0”), Alexia Hodge who took up field events six months ago, secured a bronze medal in the 13-14 Girls discus throw, with a heave of 21.89m (70’11”).
Asia McMaster was third in her 11-12 Girls 100m heat in 14.03 seconds, narrowly missing the final.
Crystal Maximea placed fifth in the 13-14 Girls 100m dash in 12.92 seconds, after advancing with a time of 12.78, in winning her heat. Todman won her heat, but missed the final with the ninth fastest time of 12.98 seconds. Magloire was 12th overall after placing second in her heat in 13.26 seconds.
Akeela McMaster was second in her 200m heat in 26.67 seconds, but missed the final by two places with the 10th best time. Magloire’s 27.52 seconds clocking had her ranked 21st.
Latriel Williams was fourth in the 9-10 Boys 400 meters with a time of one minute 05.60 seconds, after winning his heat in 1:07.94 seconds—the fourth best time of the prelims. He narrowly missed the 200 meters final by .004, with his 29.20 seconds time.