As the coronavirus pandemic continues to interrupt sporting seasons around the globe, we want to reflect on the performances of Cayman’s college athletes and provide updates on what they’re doing now.
Jamal Walton: Freshman, Texas A&M, men’s track and field
Walton got off on the right track at the start of the track-and-field year, being named Freshman of the Week in the Southeastern Conference following a record-breaking performance at the Texas Tech University Indoor Invitational. He went on to set several other indoor records for his school, including one in the 4×400-metre relay with a time of 3:02.77, which is the fastest college time in the US for 2020.
Walton said he is taking this time to recover.
“I’ve just been resting throughout the coronavirus,” he said. “There isn’t much to do but eat, play the game, and sleep. I do have schooling every day and they changed our classes to online. It’s kind of tough but it’s college. But I’ve just been OK. I was really looking forward to being at the Olympics this year to represent, but until next year.”
Lacee Barnes: Junior, Texas-San Antonio, women’s track and field
Barnes’ pre-season start was exceptional. She was included in the university’s ‘Who’s Who’
ceremony, one of the highest individual awards given at UTSA. Barnes, a discus and shot put thrower, was honoured based on her academic achievement, leadership and membership in co-curricular activities.
She placed fifth in the shot put at the Conference USA indoor championships and in February had bested her own national record in the event, with a throw of 14.51 metres.
“This pandemic has been a real difficult time for athletes,” said Barnes. “My collegiate season has been cancelled, the Olympics has been postponed. I’ve been doing more mental training, trying to keep my stress down, trying to stay mentally strong, knowing that I still have a goal that needs to be accomplished.”
With facilities shut down, she said she continues to use her equipment to train on her own.
Louis Gordon: Freshman, University of Albany, men’s track and field
In February, Gordon was named Most Outstanding Men’s Rookie at the America East Indoor Men’s Track and Field Championships, following a personal best high jump of 2.19 metres, for a first-place finish in that event at the conference meet.
“My outdoor track season has been postponed due to this coronavirus pandemic,” said Gordon. “I returned home and was under quarantine, not allowing me to do much. Following my success during the indoors, as of right now, I’m just resting and waiting for this to all be over before I fully get back at it.”
Pearl Morgan: Senior, Central Methodist University, women’s track and field
COVID-19 has delayed Morgan’s final season of college eligibility. Morgan and her
teammates set a school record earlier this year in the 200-metre relay.
“Since my season was cut short due to the virus, I have an extra semester left of eligibility to compete for track,” said Morgan. “As of right now, I’m resting but still trying to remain active, doing at-home workouts, trying to lift weights every now and then, and also go jogging whenever I have the opportunity to do so. In addition, I’m also using this time to focus on school work and my future plans in pursuing my master’s degree.”
Rasheem Brown: Sophomore, Milligan College, men’s track and field
Brown won gold in every 60-metre hurdle race he competed in since the start of the year
and was named track athlete of the week for his conference several times.
“It’s important for us to take the precautions to put a stop this virus. 2020 Olympics is postponed until next year but I’m still determined on making my first Olympic team and, most importantly, remaining humble. My end goal still remains the same, no matter what.”
Sarah Jackson: Freshman, University of Northern Colorado, women’s swimming
After competing in several meets and tournaments, Jackson swam once at the Western Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships before that meet was called off due to a waterline malfunction.
Jackson said staying optimistic is key in a time when everyone is experiencing the same obstacles.
“I didn’t plan on being home,” said Jackson. “So, taking this as a break would be really easy for me, but I’m in that mindset of wanting to get better [and] that’s been a great motivator so far. Knowing that everyone is in this same situation means if I take advantage of being able to grind, I will come out of this in a better place.”