Deya Erickson, left, Turabo University; Kyron McMaster, Central Arizona College and Taylor Hill, South Plains College PHOTO: Dean "The Sportsman" Greenaway
With three athletes enrolling in schools in Puerto Rico and the United States this fall, to begin another chapter of their respective careers after recording personal bests and National Jr. Records this season, the territory will have its most athletes in college at one time in its history with seven, dating back to 1976 when it all began.
Deya Erickson, a 100m Hurdler, has enrolled in Turabo University in Puerto Rico, while Taylor Hill will attend South Plains College in Texas and Kyron McMaster, Central Arizona College, where he joins twin sisters Trevia and Tynelle Gumbs. Eldred Henry who was at Central is now at Tennessee. Khari Herbert is a student at St. Augustine University.
Erickson is coming off running a personal best and national record of 14.09 seconds this season. While at a meet in Puerto Rico, Erickson fielded enquiries about competing for Turabo from recruiters but wasn't sure. After competing, the head coach approached her and kept trying. "I didn't let the opportunity pass," she said. "I though it was one of the best I had so I took it."
After qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, Erickson looked forward to this year's Carifta Games, but lost her focus during her warm up run and fell. When the race began, in between hurdles, she lost her focus again, tripped and fell she recalled. "I was disappointed because I was ready," she reflected. "I knew I could have medaled."
She's looking to a strong 2016 season, running in the 13 seconds and concentrating on her major in architecture.
As the only female 100m hurdler, training alone Erickson said was not always easy as some days it was a challenge, but hurdling for her is fun. "I always had a passion for hurdling," she said. "There isn't anything that can stop me from loving the hurdles. Every time I run them, I'm excited--no matter if I have a bad race--it doesn't stop me from loving them."
Hill, who ran personal bests of 11.83 and 23.84 seconds in the 100 and 200m this season, enrolled in South Plains College in Texas. "It's awesome I actually like it honestly the people here are positive and encouraging hard workers," said hill, who's currently doing general studies. "When I go to a University, either Texas A&M or Alabama, my goal is to study marketing."
Hill, who ran for the Houston based Elite Performance Track Club during the spring, said she had known about South Plains for a long time. "I have known of the performance and good things about it, so I accepted," she stated. "Plus Division I Schools recruit from here so I kind of wanted to start off small first then work my way up, so I can get the hang of certain things and the way college is and how they work so that when I go to a University I would know how they do things."
Hill said she's looking forward to a good 2016 season and getting an opportunity to represent the BVI at the highest levels.
McMaster who took down the 19-year old 400m Intermediate Hurdles National Record when he ran 50.16 seconds during the Pan Am Jr. Championships, said he made contact with Central Arizona after graduating last year. "I waited on an opportunity to attend and I got a scholarship," said McMaster who's doing General Studied. "I don't think I have any other ideal goal than to move forward."
Penn eight in Commonwealth Youth Long Jump
Kala Penn placed eight in the Commonwealth Youth Games Long Jump on Tuesday in the competition being held in Apia, Samoa. She had a best measurement of 5.58m. Penn ran 12.53 seconds do advance to the 100m semifinals but did not reach the final after running 12.69. K'Cei Moses had a personal best of 11.12 seconds in the 100m and 22.58 in the 200m, but did not reach the semis in either event.