Another national record for Nyanka

By Terry Finisterre, Sports Correspondent

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The University of Connecticut Huskies women’s track and field team wrapped up four days of competition at the American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship on Sunday.

The team picked up a second-place finish at the George J Sherman Family-Sports Complex on the Storrs campus. The Huskies finished the four-day stretch with 125 team points, trailing on the meet-winner SMU (131).

One of the highlights for the Huskies was the brilliant performance of Saint Lucia’s Nyanka Joseph. Born in Mon Repos, Nyanka went to high school in New York City. Now, less than a month shy of her 22nd birthday, she is a team captain for the UConn track team. And over the weekend, the self-described ‘successaholic’ turned in a true captain’s performance.

Nyanka put together a career-best performance in the 200m dash, taking second overall with a 23.33-second time, behind only J’Nea Bellamy of UCF. The result marked the second-best time in the conference this season and moved the Husky junior into the top-30 on the 2015 National Collegiate Athletics Association qualifying list. But it also marked two other major milestones.

On the one hand, Nyanka broke Jineill Vité’s 11-year-old Saint Lucia national record for the half-lap event. Jineill, who is from Soufriere, and ran for Missouri State, had been clocked at 23.73 seconds in 2004. Jineill still holds the 100m record of 11.44 seconds.

Like Jineill, Nyanka had a 1.3 metre-per-second tailwind for her record run. Nyanka also broke the 200m indoor national record back in February of this year. Five of the island’s six national records in the 200m races (indoor, outdoor, junior, senior, men and women) have been set in 2015.

But Nyanka also became the eighth Saint Lucian track and field athlete to qualify for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The qualifying mark for that event is 23.64 seconds, making Nyanka the first female track athlete eligible to make the team.

Regarding the national record, Nyanka had this to say: “It is pretty exciting – it’s always nice to be the greatest at something, especially in regards to your country.”

Nyanka (front).

She is looking forward to possibly running for Saint Lucia this summer as well. “It would be nice,” she says, “depending on how the rest of my season goes. The possibility is exciting, and one that I continue to take into serious consideration as I approach the end of the NCAA D1 collegiate season in a month.”

Nyanka missed the podium in the 400m, but ran a personal best of 52.81 seconds. She led off the four-lap relay, and her team of Faith Dismuke, Paris Taft and Deysha Smith-Jenkins took first place in 3:32.76, setting a new school record in the process.

The squad picked up five points in the one-lap relay final when the Husky `A’ team that consisted of Smith-Jenkins, Taylor Anderson, Nyanka and Sarah Bowens nabbed fourth with a 45.01-second result.

“I really wanna thank my coach for giving me everything I need,” said Nyanka. “Even though I complain sometimes, and these next two weeks we have got work to do better and progress to nationals.”

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10 comments

  1. Congrats to our female athlete.However,what would like to see is that,America should not take all the credits for training our athletes into champions.The entire caribbean needs to boost up their reputations in that regard.Jamaica,St.Kitts,Trinidad,Cuba has.I think its more than time for St.lucia to proved their training skills on the international seen.Today or tomorrow America may come out and say that,if wasn't for their coaching our atheletes wouldn't be so successful.You remember what Carl Lewis said about Usain Bolt?On another note,our atheletes especially the females seems to be going for boyfriends too early.For some reason alot of them gets pregnant.Then have to suffer those consequences of being a mother to help nurturing the family while their career has been sacrifice for that purpose of raising a child.They should practice safe sex in order to safeguard themselves and continue to compete on the world.Don't allow someone toi say you've got a great physic then want to go to bed with you.Havn't you realised it's the same thing happening with our queen contestants in St.Lucia?They are getting pregnant then all fall down.

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    • Terry Finisterre

      A lot of things.

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    • Terry Finisterre

      I will leave your latter comments alone, but the first statement betrays a vast degree of ignorance and arrogance.

      St kitts-Nevis's World Champion went to school in the United States. So did many of the top athletes from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

      It is crucial to have a proper, structured and targetted approach to development. Building up 'local' coaches is crucial. Dominica, Barbados, Jamaica and many others have a number of coaches working in the United States collegiate system.

      Which brings me to the other point. An honest assessment of your capabilities is absolutely vital. We do not have the wherewithal, the structures, the programmes to get our athletes to world level on anything like a consistent basis. Nor, certainly, do we have the resources to provide them an education as well.

      As is, we have over a dozen saint Lucian citizens earning degrees at minimal investment, if any, by Government or their federations, and getting high level training in their sport of choice to boot.

      In any case, there are tens of thousands of kids in the US collegiate system. I hardly think the NCAA has time to single out their 'credit' for Saint Lucian athletes.

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  2. Congratulations kizzy keep making Mon repos, Babonneau and St. Lucia proud. We love you

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  3. It's great to see you profiling St Lucian born athletes in other countries. But what about those athletes who are currently in Saint Lucia and performing exceptionally? We need to know who they are and their accomplishments.

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    • Terry Finisterre

      Then you should come out to the meets and playing fields and support them directly. However, this site has plenty of stories about local sport. I look forward to your comments on them all.

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      • I do come out to support them (for your information) but some of us have jobs and other commitments so are not able to meet those athletes.A list of them and their achievements will put them in the public eye as well as generate much needed sponsorship.

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        • Terry Finisterre

          A list. Seriously.

          Here is coverage on the most recent meet, on this site. I'm still looking for your comments beneath it...

          https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/saint-lucia-marks-world-athletics-day/

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  4. Congratulations! Keep working hard. I love seeing my people doing positive things.

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  5. awesome job! keep up the good work

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