A strong group of Virgin Islands National Track and Field Team members are competing in the indoor season, and they include college student/athletes and professionals. The professionals are gearing up for the outdoor season while earning needed funds.
The student/athletes are helping their teams to score points and are gearing up for post-season championships. The professionals are led by Eddie Lovett, hurdler; Laverne Jones-Ferrette, sprinter; Jordon Sartor-Francis, sprinter; and Leon Hunt, long jumper, among others.
Eddie Lovett (professional) In what many consider the most technically challenging of all sprint events, V.I. National Team member Eddie Lovett found his way to the number five ranking on the IAAF World 60- meter hurdles list with his first-place performance at the Penn State National two weeks ago in State College, Pennsylvania. He took third place at the prestigious Milrose Games in New York City over the weekend with a time of 7.57, his season best and one of his three all-time best. Lovett is in his second year as a professional after multiple All-America and NCAA Division I individual and team championships at the University of Florida. He is right on his fourth-place IAAF World Indoor Championships finish of last year and his number one world ranking in the 110m back in the spring, the best sprint hurdle performances in V.I. history. His 7.65 improved on his 7.77 on the same track this winter and is his fifth fastest time ever. He holds both national records in the 60m and 110m hurdles.
Jordon Sartor-Francis (professional) graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy last year and after a strong career in the 100m and 200m has moved up to the 400m. He is on active duty and competing as well with an eye on qualifying for the IAAF World Championships this summer. He took first place in the 400m on Dec. 30 at Armory Sprint Night in N.Y.C. in 48.62; on Jan. 21, he took first in the 200m and 300m at the Terrapin Invite in 22.04 and 34.59; on Jan. 28, he ran 48.2 at the John Thomas invite. On this past weekend, he ran 47.44 at The David Hemery Valentine Invitational.
Laverne Jones-Ferrette (professional) St. Croix’s Laverne Jones-Ferrette won the 60-meter dash in 7.55 seconds at the Howie Ryan Invitational in Houston. While well off her national record 6.57, she too is using the indoor season to prepare to qualify for the IAAF World Championships. Jones-Ferrette is no stranger to indoor competition. An All-American at Barton Country Community College followed by an outstanding career at the University of Oklahoma and a graduate of the St. Croix Educational Complex High School, she has competed six times in the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Brian Slator (professional) is running the 400m to get in shape for the 200m, his specialty. He competed in two meets at the Armory in New York City. He is an assistant coach at Union College in Kentucky and will compete this weekend at in Anderson, Indiana.
Alexshandro Rodriquez, a Fairleigh Dickinson University senior has had a strong indoor season with performances 400m and up. Looking to break the 1:50 barrier in the 800m, he ran 1:51.05 for seventh place at the John Thomas Invitational; he ran 49.67 at the NYC Gotham Cup. At the Fastrack Invitational, he finished sixth in the 800m, 1:53.12; in the Mets Indoor Conference Championship 500, he ran a personal best of 1:04.92. He also helped to score points on his team’s distance medley relay for seventh place.
Nia Jack, a Alabama State University freshman, continues her strong performance on her first indoor season with sprints at the Clemson Orange and Purple Indoor, the UAB Blazer Invitational and the KMS Invitational from 60m to 300m. She has a personal best of 7.54 in the 60m. Nia Jack competed at the University of South Alabama Invitational.
Quashira McIntosh, a University of Nebraska sophomore, is well into the indoor season and steadily improving. She ran a personal best in the 60m at the Mark Colligan Memorial with a personal best time of 7.67. She also mixed it up with goes at 400m, 200m and relays. She was fourth in the Iowa State Classic 60-meter dash in a personal best of 7.62 seconds. She was first in the heat in 7.67 seconds, and she was also fourth overall in the 200 meters after winning the heat in 24.39 seconds. She helped earn points on a leg on the 4×4 relay team for third place.
Rodney Griffin, a University Arkansas Pine-Bluff freshman, joins his St. Croix Track Club and St. Croix Educational Complex High School friend, Malique Smith. In his first indoor competition, he competed in four meets including: the Edward Temple Classic, the Sooner Opener, the Gladstein Invitational and the ASU Invitational. He competed in the 200m (22.96), 400m (51.29) and relays. He ran in the Don da Noon Invite 4x400m relay for third in 3:24.67; he posted 51.14 in the 400m; at the Dunamis Sports Group College Classic II, he ran the 400m in 50.36 and the 200m in 22.74.
Malique Smith, a University Arkansas Pine-Bluff sophomore, is recovering from a leg injury associated with an auto accident and missed the cross-country season. He is having a strong indoor season with performances in 400m (49.71, 800m (1:54.34), 600y (1:12.04) and relays. He ran the 800 meters with a time of 1 minute, 57.23 seconds at the Dunamis Sports Group College Classic II in Frisco, Texas. He joined teammate Rodney Griffin on the 4x400m relay for first place in 3:17.04. and third at Dunamis 4x400m relay in 3:13.37.
Fred Dorsey, a University of Kentucky junior, has had a very busy indoor season and has competed in at least eight meets, the most recent being the Tyson Invitation at which he ran 22.01 in the 200m and ran a leg on the 4x400m relay. His specialties are the long jump and the 100m; he took fifth place in the NACAC under 23 long jump championships for the Virgin Islands.
Myia Dorsey, a Purdue University freshman, is building on her stellar high school career and membership on the V.I. National Junior IAAF World Championships team. She is competing in the 200m (24.72), 300 (33.30), 400m (46.20) relays. It so happens that she competed in the same meet for the first time with her brother.
Barthelemy Peter, a Indiana Tech University freshman, running indoors for the first time. is having impressive performances. The younger brother to one of the V.I.’s all-time great sprinters, Allison Peter, he has competed in five meets indoors in the 200m (22.27), 400m (48.98) and relays.
Yashira Rhymer-Stuart, a Bellarmine University sophomore, had a personal best in the high jump at the Indianapolis Season Opener with a 1.72 mark. The runner-up in the Ohio High School State Championships and the top jumper at Bellarmine, Rhymer-Stuart joins others including Karen Dascent, Aile Browne and Kala King, who are sophomores at Vitebo University and who are looking to make standards for V.I. National Teams and post-season college championships.
Athletes and coaches are urged to complete their 2017 registration with VITFF to establish their eligibility and good standing as they seek to qualify for V.I. National Track and Field teams.