Kerrica Hill, former Hydel High standout and 2022 World Under-20 100m gold medallist, secured a fifth-place finish in the women’s 100m hurdles final at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday.
Hill clocked a time of 12.86 seconds, just behind her fellow Jamaican competitor Danielle Williams, the Beijing 2015 World champion, who finished fourth with a time of 12.74 seconds.
The race was ultimately won by Nia Ali of the USA, the Doha 2019 World champion, who blazed to an impressive time of 12.53 seconds (1.4m/s) in her season debut.
Ali defeated world record holder Tobi Amusan, who finished second with a time of 12.59 seconds. Devyne Charlton of the Bahamas, Commonwealth Games silver medallist, secured a third-place finish with a time of 12.64 seconds.
Ali had already made her intentions clear in the heats, where she led the qualification round with a time of 12.55 seconds (2.8m/s), ahead of Williams with 12.64 seconds. Hill, the talented 18-year-old, finished third in her professional debut with a time of 12.68 seconds.
Amusan, on the other hand, ran a smooth 12.74 seconds (1.1) to win her heat, with Charlton coming in second at 12.87 seconds.
Ali’s victory over Amusan marks the first defeat for the Nigerian athlete since she made history at the 2022 World Championships in Oregon by winning the world title and setting a new world record of 12.12 seconds.
In the men’s 800m, Jamaicans Rajay Hamilton and national indoor record holder Tarees Rhoden both produced personal best times to finish first and second, respectively.
Hamilton, 27, dipped below 1:46.00 for the first time in his career with a time of 1:45.91 for victory. Rhoden, who set a national indoor record of 1:46.61 earlier this season at the ACC Indoor Championships while representing Clemson, ran a time of 1:46.20 for second place.
American Kameron Jones, running unattached, secured a third-place finish with a time of 1:46.47.
Hamilton’s personal best before this meet was 1:46.16 in June of the previous year, while Rhoden’s was 1:47.43 done in May 2022.
Jamaican Rasheed Broadbell, the 2022 Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion, began his 2023 outdoor season with a time of 13.12, finishing second in the preliminaries of the men’s 110m hurdles.
Broadbell was beaten by American World champion Grant Holloway, who produced a world-leading time of 13.03 seconds for victory. American Robert Dunning secured a third-place finish with a time of 13.40 seconds.
Broadbell did not participate in the final, which was won by Holloway with a time of 13.05 seconds, followed by Dunning with 13.23 seconds, and Brazilian Rafael Pereira with 13.34 seconds.