March 04, 2014
This past Sunday, Southern Illinois' senior Kenya Culmer became the first Bahamian female to clear six feet in the women's high jump.
The 21-year-old talented athlete broke her own national indoor record, soaring 1.83 meters (m) - six feet flat - at the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Indoor Track & Field Championships, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The two-day conference meet was held at the University of Northern Iowa's campus, inside the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.
Not only was the clearance good enough for the gold medal, but it also shattered Culmer's own school and Bahamian national records. It was the first time that a Bahamian female had ever soared that high. Her previous best indoors was 1.78m (5' 10").
Culmer, who won an outdoor conference title in 2012, now has an indoor title to add to her already impressive resume, and her indoor season isn't even done yet. She is expected to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships, at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from March 14-15. With that clearance, Culmer is now in a six-way tie for ninth nationally, but is expected to be one of the top-14 to qualify once the ties are broken, breaking the top-16 national qualifying barrier. This would be her first trip to the NCAA finals, in either the indoor or outdoor season.
In The Bahamas, she is No. 1 though.
The Bahamian high flyer was unavailable for comment yesterday, but according to reports, she was thrilled to accomplish the momentous feat. Her father, Kirk Culmer said that the family was ecstatic when it got the news on Sunday.
"It feels real great. This is something that we were looking forward to for a while - for her to be able to jump six feet," said Kirk Culmer last night. "This was a while coming, since she broke the record for the first time two years ago, but she continued to work hard and it paid off. We are looking for great things in the future from her. God spare life, hopefully she'll qualify for the Olympics and represent her country well."
If successful, Culmer would be the first Bahamian female to qualify for the Olympics in the high jump event. She still has a long way to go though. The 'B' qualifying standard for the women's high jump event at the last Olympics was 1.92m (6' 3-1/2").
"Well, we know that anything is possible," he said. "We will continue to be in her corner and cheer her on. If she puts in the work, we are certain that great things are in store for her."
Wichita State's sophomore Ashley Petersen was second in that high jump competition on Sunday, with a clearance of 1.77m (5' 9-1/2"), and her teammate, freshman Breanne Borman, won the bronze medal with a height of 1.71m (5' 7-1/4").
Culmer is also the holder of The Bahamas' outdoor record, at 1.81m (5' 11-1/4").
In addition to her exploits in the high jump, she also took part in the triple jump this past weekend, and leapt 12.18m (39' 11-1/2") to finish fifth in that event. Her performances helped the Southern Illinois Salukis finish third in the conference meet, 24 points out of second place with 92.50 total meet points. Indiana State won the title, followed by Wichita State.
The indoor conference title by Culmer was The Bahamas' second this past weekend. Grand Bahamian Raymond Higgs, a senior at Arkansas, soared 7.83m (25' 8-1/4") to win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title in the men's long jump, in College Station, Texas. It would be the final collegiate indoor title for both athletes, as both are in their senior seasons at their respective schools.
Also, at the MVC Championships this past weekend, Illinois State's junior Printassia Johnson was 19th overall in the women's 200m, in 25.65 seconds. She was disqualified in the 60m.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian