Source: VINOAt the National Junior College Athletic Association Indoor Championships held at Pittsburg State University in Kansas on Saturday March 4, 2017, Nelda Huggins, a freshman at Iowa Central College, became the first female athlete from the [British] Virgin Islands to win an individual title at any collegiate level in the USA ((Chantel Malone had achieved the distinction as a member of the University of Texas’ 3x400m relay team at the NCAA Division I championships).
Huggins, who had gone into the Championships as one of the medal favourites in the 60 metre dash following an outstanding first indoor season, won her heat in 7.32 seconds and returned to win the final in 7.31 seconds, a time bettered only by Tahesia G. Harrigan-Scott, a former World Indoor bronze medalist, in the event.
Huggins did not stop there as she finished second to Tobagonian Zakiya Denoon of Monroe College, a former Carifta Games rival in the 200 metre dash in a time of 23.79 seconds.
“All I had to do was to execute, I did everything that my coach taught me to do,” explained Nelda. “I reflected that I had come all the way from a small country to the United States to take the 60m National Junior College Athletic Association Indoor 60m Championships. I felt great about the win!”
Nelda added “I want to thank my local coach Winston Potter, and Coach Omar Jones for motivating me, my friends and my fan base.”
Huggins first caught the public’s eye when she won the 100m at the C.U.T. Championships held in Road Town in 2008, the only medal won by the home team. In 2011, as a 14-year-old, she won her first Carifta Games medal with silver in the 100m.
In the ensuing years, up to and including 2014 she never failed to win a medal at Carifta or the C.X.C. Junior Championships and on the global level she reached the 200m semi-finals at both the World Youth and World Junior Championships.
A finalist in the 200m at the Youth Olympics in 2014, she also ran the 200m leg for the national Youth team that won silver in the medley relay in 2013, alongside Taylor Hill(100m), Jonel Lacey(300m) and Tarika W. Moses(400m). Lakeisha Warner played a part in the preliminaries.
Huggins holds the national junior records in the 100 and 200 metres as well as the sprint relay. She has been one of the heaviest point scores in the history of the Elmore Stoutt High School and in the 2015-16 academic year, which she spent at St Jago High School in Jamaica. She finished second in the 100m in what many consider to be the world’s toughest high school competition.