Tyrell Cuffy went to his first NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Fresno Pacific University in California less than a week ago with only a semester of collegiate competitive experience.
It’s likely that it will not be the last national appearance for the King College Tornado freshman.
The trip from Bristol, Tennessee took twenty-eight hours, but Tyrell did not let the slow cross-country journey affect him.
He enjoyed a tremendous meet-he won every race he started, and set a stadium and King College record in his victory in the 200 meter dash. He also played an essential part as the Tornado 4 x 100 relay squad set a school record in the semifinals and finished third overall in the event.
Additionally, Tyrell ran a leg on the 4 x 400 meter relay in the final, where the foursome set another school record. Tyrell’s split was 47.9.
But it was not all sunshine and roses. Cuffy had the fastest qualifying times for the first two rounds of the 100, including a windy 10.26, but cramped up following the 4 x 100 semis on Friday, and was unable to participate in the 100 final.
This did not appear to bode well for the final day, with the 4 x 100 finals scheduled only a short time before the 200 meter semifinals.
Nevertheless, Tyrell continued his yeoman duties, and the Tornado finished in the third spot.
The Cayman Islands representative then proceeded to win his semifinal heat, and set up a confrontation in the final with Mike Rogers of Oklahoma Baptist.Rogers had the nation’s leading times in the 100 and 200 going into nationals, with Cuffy next on the list in both events.Rogers won the 100 meter championship on Friday in a time of 10.21.
The anticipated battle in the half-lapper could not possibly have provided a more dramatic or satisfying ending for Tyrell.He passed Rogers in the final 20 meters, and crossed the line in 20.94, with Rogers credited with 20.95.Both smashed the stadium record for the event.
To top off the evening, Tyrell turned in his sterling effort in the 1600 meter relay, which again was part of a new Tornado record.
Cayman also had athletes in action at the NCAA Division I Mideast and Midwest Regional Championships.
Carlos Morgan jumped 24′ 1/4″ for an eighth-place finish at the University of Missouri at Columbia.Carlos, who was ranked 10th for long jumpers in Division I throughout the United States going into regionals, will be hoping to receive an at-large bid.
At Drake University, Omar Wright of Rice University cleared 6’9 1/4 to finish 14th in the men’s high jump at the Midwest Regionals.