Southeastern Conference Has Long Been a Good Fit for VITFF Stars

Flora Hyacinth…The first woman to jump 45’ in the triple jump in 1987 (photo by Wallace Williams)

With a population of only around 100,000, the U.S. Virgin islands has had a relatively successful history of track and field. Founded in 1963, as one of the founding members of the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee, the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation (VITFF) has seen many of its young stars leave the territory because there were no modern facilities and limited opportunity for international competition and travel to United States high schools and colleges to blossom.

The young athletes have worn the jerseys of prep schools, tech schools, NJCA junior colleges, NAIA small colleges and NCAA Division I, II and III universities as well as the jerseys of running clubs, track and field clubs, and the U.S. Military.

Indeed, they have also excelled in achieving All-American status, national championship titles and regional titles for their respective institutions/organizations — as in the case of Flora Hyacinth, who on May 17, 1987, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., became the first woman in the world history to triple jump 45 feet!

Of all the colleges/universities at which V.I. National Track and Field Team members have made their presence known, a close look should be given at the Southeastern Conference of the NCAA, which, over the years, appears to have been a perfect fit for these athletes.

SEC Alums and Student/Athletes
Valma Bass Louisiana State University….sprints
Billy Bohlke Louisiana State University….middle distance
Fred Dorsey University of Kentucky…sprints, long jump
Adrian Durant University of South Carolina…sprints
Allison Peter University of Texas…sprints
Eduardo Garcia University of Florida…middle distance, distance
Tabarie Henry Texas A&M…sprints
Flora Hyacinth Alabama…long jump, triple jump, sprints, hurdles
Lawrence Lockhart Louisiana State Univ. …middle distance
Eddie Lovett University of Florida…hurdles
Brion Moressette University of Mississippi…pole vaulting
Edison Walters University of Alabama…middle distance

1] For Olympic sports and IAAF, VITFF sanctioned sports, the team is addressed as “The Virgin Islands” with the assigned code (ISV) for the Virgin Islands, USA
2] The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is addressed as “The British Virgin Islands”
3] For sports these are two separate countries as recognized by national, regional, international and Olympic sports governing bodies. Other than geographic, the countries have no relationship to each other as relates to sports. The Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation ( ) [email protected] governs the sport of track and field in the Virgin Islands USA and The British Virgin Islands Athletics Association ( ) ([email protected]) governs the sport in the British Virgin Islands.
4] this year given the lack of available local competition do to closure of tracks, athletes travel to venues outside the territory to compete and have their performances evaluated. When funding is available, VITFF assists the clubs with getting potential qualifiers to these competitions.