Chantel Malone takes off in the Long Jump during Sunday's NACAC Championships PHOTO: Dean "The Sportsman" Greenaway
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica: Long Jumper Chantel Malone of the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Eddie Lovett, won silver and bronze medals respectively, in the 2nd North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Track and Field Championships that wrapped up in San Jose, Costa Rica, last night.
Malone cut the sand with a personal best leap of 6.69m on her opening jump to secure the silver medal behind the USA’s Quansheka Burks, who opened with the same 6.69 mark as Malone, then leapt 6.93m, the ninth best jump in the world this year to secure the gold medal. Malone’s mark was .01cm off qualifying for the IAAF World Championships and improved her 6.65 National Record. The USVI’s Wanetta Kirby placed eight after hitting 5.90 on her last attempt, the same position she finished in the High Jump, competing both simultaneously.
“It’s always good to accomplish something you have been dreaming about,” Malone said. “I wanted the gold and I definitely wanted a qualifier, but, I’m very pleased with my performance today.”
Malone, who hadn’t been jumping well until the Pan Am Games, said the mindset she had when she won the CAC Games gold in November, returned. “I’m happy that it did,” she stated. “For example, in the Pan Am Games, I had two fouls going in to the last jump before the final and normally, I would have freaked out. But, in my mind, I said it only takes one jump to get into the final. I kept positive and that’s what I did today too.”
Lovett broke his USVI 110m national record in the process of claiming a bronze medal despite a bad landing off the 10th hurdle, finishing in 13.31 seconds to lower his 2-year old best of 13.39, narrowly missing the silver medal by .01, taken by Cuba’s Jhoanis Portilla in 13.30.
“The race felt great, the only thing I wish I would have done better, which I believe cost me a second or first place medal, was coming off the last hurdle,” Lovett explained, noting he’s seeing difference from using a seven step approach to the first barrier. “I’m able to use my speed, but the end of the race is something I’ve been trying to fix, since the beginning of my career. The more I push the envelope, the more I’ll be able to stand tall and finish with the rest of them.”
Lovett dedicated the race to his sister who was killed last month and his father and said he felt them in the race. “They pushed me to be able to do what I had to do today and I hope I made them proud,” he said. “I know I have the support of my agent, the Virgin Islands community, my family, everybody involved and I thank everybody for their prayers.”
The BVI’s Tahesia Harrigan-Scott just missed the 100m podium by .06 seconds when she placed fourth in 11.28 seconds. USVI’s Laverne Jones-Ferrette was seventh in 11.53.
“I felt really good and I think I ran a really good race unfortunately, I didn’t end up on the medal podium, but that’s life, so now my focus turns to Worlds,” Harrigan-Scott said. “I loved my start and I loved my transition, my ending, I felt it was still good in my opinion. There are some things I need to work on in the last 10 meters, but I’ll fix it.”
Jones said besides not getting a good start in the 100m, she thought she executed well, then had a season’s best of 23.51 seconds in the 200m on Sunday. “I’m glad to come out healthy,” she said. “It wasn’t a doubt that I would have made the 200 final. I’m in shape, but it’s mostly race sharpness I needed.”
USVI Long Jumper Leon Hunt was seventh with a leap of 7.48m while teammate Muhammid Halim was next with 7.36.
“I had two legal jumps in the prelims and no legal jumps in the finals and all the good jumps happened in the finals,” Hunt said. “I have to work on that. The same thing has been happening the whole season.”
Eldred Henry of the BVI was fifth in the Shot Put with a heave of 18.49m on Sunday.