St Lucia’s two prolific female high jumpers Levern Spencer and Jeannelle Scheper featured prominently on Saturday while competing at Spec Towns National Team Invitational in Athens, Georgia.
Multi Sportswoman of the Year and two-time Olympian Levern Spencer made it three out of three this year, claiming her third gold medal in as many competitions for the 2013 outdoor season.
On the second day of Spec Towns National Team Invitational, the two top high jumpers from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia were on show. Just two weeks ago in the Bahamas, Jeannelle Scheper broke the 10-year-old CARIFTA record that was previously shared by Levern Spencer, continuing an impressive season for the St Joseph’s Convent alumnus, now a junior at the University of South Carolina. But Spencer, after a lacklustre 2012 campaign, has been looking sharp herself, and she showed as much on Saturday.
The meet was hosted by Levern’s alma mater, the University of Georgia, and she was definitely right at home. The 28-year-old (29 in June) Mizuno athlete started jumping at 1.83m, going over on her first attempt. Scheper needed two tries at that height, as she had done at 1.78m, though at 1.73m she opened with a first-time clearance. Georgia’s Leontia Kallenou and Saniel Grier Atkinson and Alabama’s Krystle Schade, meanwhile, all cleared 1.83m, finishing joint third and leaving just the two Saint Lucians in the competition.
Again, Spencer needed just that one trial at 1.88 m or 6’2”; Scheper, bidding to surpass the Gamecock outdoor school record of 1.83m she set in 2012, used all three tries, but eventually went over cleanly.
With a new Garnet and Black standard, the 18-year-old finished second in the invitational section, but was the top collegian overall. The clearance ties Jeannelle for the lead in the East and for second in the nation. She holds the indoor and outdoor school records, as well as the Caribbean junior record for her event.
Spencer would go on to win the Spec Town event, clearing 1.92m (6’3.5”) on her second go. It’s the second time this season she’s met the B standard for the World Championships in Moscow later this year. On this occasion, she missed her three attempts at the A standard of 1.95 m, which would match her second-best height ever.
Scheper meanwhile, missed three tries at 1.92m, the second time she’s gone at it in competition. Both athletes can go to Moscow if they make
the A standard, or if one makes the A and the other the B standard.
With the outdoor season a few weeks old, Spencer has the second and third best jumps in the world on the IAAF World listing. She could compete in two more meets in the United States, before continuing her professional campaign for 2013 on the European circuit.