Makeba makes the World Championships mark!

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Makeba makes the World Championships mark!
Makeba Alcide (centre). * Photograph by Walt Beazley
Makeba Alcide (centre). * Photograph by Walt Beazley

Makeba Alcide set three personal records, one meet record, one Saint Lucia record, one Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) record and tied her own school record on Thursday, the opening day of the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The University of Arkansas senior just followed that up by setting another personal record, school record, Saint Lucia and OECS record, winning the SEC title and qualifying for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships, scheduled for next August in Moscow, Russia.

Competing in the seven-event women’s heptathlon, Makeba led with 3,756 points through four events, a school record for a first-day performance. She returned to the Audrey J. Walton Stadium on Friday with Erica Bougard of Mississippi State 201 points behind her.

Among the numbers in play were 5,950 points, the B qualifying standard for World Championships; 5,925 points, Gi-Gi Miller’s 2001 school record; and 5,969 points, the meet record established by  Sharon Jaklofsky way back in 1991. Plus, there was the little matter of beating Bougard.

In the opening event, long jump, Bougard cut into Makeba’s lead significantly, clearing 6.01m whilst the St Joseph’s Convent alumna cleared 5.64, 853 points compared to 741. But Makeba still led with 4,497 points, 89 ahead with just two events left.

Javelin throw is typically one of Makeba’s weaker events, but it’s also a relatively weak event for Bougard. Makeba’s 34.32m (559 points) was just the fifth-best effort on the day, but Bougard’s 32.53 (525) was eighth, and Makeba’s lead ballooned to 123. With six events gone, she was on 5,056 points.

With a fairly comfortable lead going into the final event, Makeba led through the first 400m, before eventually finishing second in 2:13.66, a split-second faster and she would have won the event and matched the SEC record. Still, with 5,968 points, she joins Levern Spencer as the only Saint Lucians to make the standards for Moscow so far. The mark is the fourth best in the world for the year, a new personal record, Saint Lucia, OECS and University of Arkansas record.

Makeba came into the season with a best total of 5,646 from 2011, fifth-best in school history.

The 23-year-old senior will now turn her focus to  Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon where she will try to win her first NCAA title in her final opportunity next month.

For up-to-the-minute updates, follow me on Twitter: @terryfinisterre

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