Tyra Gittens was in the hunt for the women's high jump title at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA, late yesterday. The Trinidad and Tobago athlete cleared the bar at 1.84 metres on her first attempt to take the lead. At press time, she was waiting for the bar to be raised to 1.87.
Also at press time, last night, Gittens was on the verge of grabbing women's heptathlon gold. By the time she stepped onto the Hayward Field track for the 800 metres, the seventh and final hep discipline, the Texas A&M University student was in full control with 5,578 points. She enjoyed a 297-point cushion on her nearest rival.
Gittens, who secured silver in the individual long jump on Thursday, produced a big 6.64 metres leap in yesterday's heptathlon long jump to score 1,053 points. She followed up with a personal best 41.24 metres for 691 points in the javelin.
Late on Friday, Gittens threw 13.31m in the shot put and stopped the clock at 23.79 seconds in the 200m to close off her day one heptathlon campaign with 3,834 points. Earlier in the day, she clocked 13.46 seconds in the 100m hurdles and cleared the bar at 1.84m in the high jump.
Also on Friday, Akanni Hislop was golden in the men's 4x100m relay, the T&T sprinter running the third leg for champions Louisiana State University (LSU). Hislop teamed up with Americans Dylan Peebles, Noah Williams and anchorman Terrance Laird for victory in 38.48 seconds.
T&T's Dwight St Hillaire finished short of the podium in the men's 400m. Coming off the final turn, St Hillaire trailed the frontrunners. The University of Kentucky quartermiler produced a strong home straight run, but the gap was too large to close and he was forced to settle for fifth spot in 45.20 seconds.
North Carolina A&T State University's Randolph Ross clocked a jaw-dropping 43.85 seconds to strike gold. Ross headed an American podium sweep, Texas A&M's Bryce Deadmon and LSU's Williams finishing second and third, respectively, in 44.44 and 44.93.
St Hillaire was impressive in the 4x4 relay, the 23-year-old splitting 44.92 seconds on the third leg. The effort, though, could not propel his school into medal contention, Kentucky finishing eighth in three minutes, 03.63 seconds. North Carolina A&T grabbed gold in 3:00.92. Stephen F. Austin State University clocked 3:01.52 to pick up silver, with bronze going to Texas A&M in 3:01.64.
LSU accumulated 84 points to capture the men's team title. University of Oregon (53) and North Carolina A&T (35) were second and third, respectively.
Joshua Jacob St Clair's University of Alabama finished 13th with 18 points. Kentucky and Tyriq Horsford's Mississippi State University were joint-15th with 17 points each. And Eric Harrison's Ohio State University earned two points for 57th spot.