Two countries dominated the second day of the third NACAC Championships as USA’s Kenny Harrison, Ajee Wilson and Jenna Prandini all set championship records, while Jamaican athletes collected four gold medals at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium on Saturday (11).
USA’s world record holder Kendra Harrison ran a clean race in the women’s 100m hurdles to cross the finish line first in 12.55, bettering the championship record of 12.66 she had set in the semifinals on Friday.
Jamaica’s 2015 world champion Danielle Williams (12.67) followed her home ahead of Costa Rica’s CAC Games champion Andrea Vargas (12.91), who pipped USA’s 2015 Pan American Games champion Queen Harrison (12.93) for bronze.
“I came here to represent my country and I got the victory,” said Harrison, the world indoor champion. “That’s all I can ask for. I am really blessed to come out here, be healthy and have fun with it.”
Billed as one of the most anticipated finals of the day, USA’s Jenna Prandini found an extra gear in the last 40 metres to win the women’s 100m in a championship record and season’s best of 10.96. Jamaica’s CAC Games champion Jonielle Smith equalled her personal best of 11.07 to take silver, while Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel improved her personal best to 11.11 to clinch bronze.
“It was a great competition and good people in the field so to be able to come out, execute a good race and come out with the win, I am really happy with that,” said Prandini.
After leading for the first 60 metres, Fraser-Pryce was relegated to fifth in 11.18.
“Today was a huge blessing,” said the Jamaican, who gave birth last year. “I do not know what went wrong in the race. I am thankful that I finished healthy. I was competitive but I just didn’t know what happened. The year had been good to me so far so I really can’t complain. I am making strides and progress. I have a few more meets before the end of the season. My main focus is to try to get the 100m together. Times will come, but it is about getting that execution.”
Also on the track, world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson held off the challenge of Jamaica’s Natoya Goule to win the 800m in a championship record of 1:57.52, followed by Goule (1:57.95) and Cuba’s CAC champion Rosemary Almanza (2:00.15).
World and Olympic medallist Hansle Parchment paved the way for Jamaica with his win in the 110m hurdles, followed by Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Damish Gaye in the one-lap sprint and Tyquendo Tracey in the 100m.
Parchment led the 110m hurdles final in 13.28, ahead of USA’s Aleec Harris (13.49) and Barbados’s CAC Games champion Shane Brathwaite (13.52). The fastest in the semifinals, USA’s 2016 Olympic finalist Devon Allen, hit a hurdle in the latter stages and was left out of contention for the medals.
“It was a good run,” said Parchment. “I have been consistent so far, not necessarily where I want to be but I am thankful and injury-free. That’s the best thing. I executed a good start. Throughout the race I didn’t think I kept my technique as smooth and clean as I should have liked but I am still happy with the win.”
Jamaica continued the winning streak in the 400m. McPherson started out fast and was never challenged in the women’s race as she won comfortably in 51.15.
Gaye timed his sprint in the final 50 metres to overtake early leader Barlon Taplin of Grenada and Costa Rica’s 2012 world indoor champion Nery Brenes for the gold in 45.47, two tenths of a second ahead of Brenes, who repeated his silver medal performance from three years ago. 2016 4x400m relay Olympic silver medallist Fitzroy Dunkley rounded out the podium in third with 45.76.
Jamaica’s fourth title came in the men’s 100m as Tracey stormed to the front in the second half of the race to win in a championships record of 10.03, ahead of USA’s 2014 world U20 champion Kendal Williams (10.11) and Cameron Burrell (10.12) of the USA.
“I am very pleased,” said Tracey. “I came to win and I did just that, representing my country well. I just came out to do my job.”
The women’s pole vault was also full of drama with the three top favourites left in competition after clearing 4.60m. USA’s national indoor champion Katie Nageotte was successful on her second attempt over 4.75m, a height unattainable for Cuba’s 2015 world champion Yarisley Silva (4.70m) and USA’s world indoor champion Sandi Morris (4.65m).
Four more records fell on Saturday, thanks to Costa Rica’s Roberto Sawyers in the hammer (72.94m), Grenada’s Anderson Peters in the javelin (79.65m) and USA’s Jeron Robinson in the high jump (2.28m) and Marielle Hall (33:27.19) in the 10,000m, an event contested for the first time at the NACAC Championships.
A total of 18 championship records have now been set or improved during the first two days of competition.
Local fans enjoyed the win by Canadian record-holder Brandon McBride in the 800m, leading his compatriot Marco Arop to silver. Their medals were presented by IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
Seventeen finals will be contested on Sunday, the final day of competition. Events include the 200m, 1500m and 400m hurdles for men and women as well as four relay races.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF