It was a good weekend for Nigerian athletes competing in the collegiate circuit, with Divine Oduduru, Aniekeme Alphonsus and Mercy Abire winning various titles, and Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) duo of Isaac Odugbesan and Abike Egbeniyi were not left out of the GOLD rush as they won the Shot put and 800m titles at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships over the weekend.
The 2017 Nigerian U-20 Champion was the man to beat at the meet which took place at Rice University in Houston, Texas, from May 10 to 13, dominating with a mark of 18.56m, which he secured in his final throw.
He had earlier registered throws of 17.02m, 17.08m, 18.44m, 16.85m and 17.63m respectively, before digging deep to record his best throw at the championship. It will be recalled that Odugbesan set a Personal Best (PB) and School Record of 18.72m about three weeks ago while competing at the War Eagle Invitational.
Egbeniyi on the other hand, stormed to a Championship Record (CR) in the women’s 800m where she clocked a time of 2:04.91 to finish ahead of Lilian Koech of UTEP and Louisiana Tech’s Elia Nero.
Meanwhile Cecilia Francis who is also a freshman at MTSU, finished 2nd in the women’s 100m in a Season’s Best (SB) of 11.58s as Hannah Jackson of Rice University won the race in 11.51s. Edidiong Odiong was 5th in 11.66s but went on to win the 200m in a time of 23.14s. Loveth Odia clocked 54.09s to finish 4th in the women’s 400m.
The quartet of Mirlege Castor, Odia, Francis and Odiong raced to GOLD in the women’s 4x100m where they clocked a time of 44.80s, while Egbeniyi then anchored MTSU’s women’s 4x400m team to victory in 3:37.22 to claim her second GOLD medal of the day.
Another Nigerian who competed during the weekend was Emerald Egwim. The 22-year old who represented Nigeria at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, was in action for University of Minnesota at the 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Championships where she raced to a PB of 51.82s to finish with the overall fastest time in heats of the women’s 400m.
However, having given a lot during her preliminary race, she had to settle for 6th place in the final with a time of 52.00s, which is just 0.01s shy of her previous lifetime best set exactly a year ago.
She then anchored Minnesota’s women’s 4x100m team to Silver in a time of 44.22s, and ran the first leg in the 4x400m where the team finished 10th.