Eight Bahamians will be recognized among their former collegiate track and field teammates later this year.
Dickinson State University revealed their 2020 Hall of Fame class this past Thursday, May 14. Bahamians Ramon Miller, John Ingraham, La’Sean Pickstock, Jamal Forbes, Dominic Goodman, Sheldon King, Roosevelt Curry and Michael “Tino” Sands were also members of the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 outdoor track and field teams that were commemorated by the University.
Also, to be inducted are other individual athletes and teams, such as the 2006-2007 baseball team.
The 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 track and field teams both finished as the national runner-up at the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) National track meet, according to the school’s website. The 2007 meet took place in Fresno, CA (California) where the Blue Hawks finished second to Oklahoma Baptist.
The 2008-2009 team nearly claimed another national title finishing second and were edged by three points. The 2007 and 2008 Track and Field teams both dominated the conference (North Star Athletic Association) meet and had over ten All-Americans in the both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
"We are excited to have such an illustrious group of former student athletes and coaches going into the Dickinson State Hall of Fame," stated athletic director Pete Stanton.
Miller was highlighted for his individual performances. The Blue Hawks remembered Miller as one of the most decorated athletes in NAIA track and field history. The eventual Golden Knight won multiple national titles in the 200m and 400m, and he was the NAIA national record holder in the 400m.
Miller also won multiple national (NAIA) titles in 4x400m and 4x100m relay. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Miller anchored the Bahamas’ 4x400m national team that won the gold medal in incredible fashion. In 2009, Ramon was named the NAIA most outstanding track and field athlete.
History and Olympic immortality awaited Miller once he moved on from DSU. Three years removed from his collegiate career, Miller, along with Demetrius Pinder, Chris “The Fireman” Brown and Michael Mathieu shocked the world by defeating the United States in the men’s 4x400m final in London, England.
Miller made the feat memorable as he overtook American Angelo Taylor on the anchor leg and never looked back. The quartet clocked a new national record of 2:56.72. It was also the first Bahamian Olympic Gold medal on the track for men.
For Ingraham, the honour meant a great deal to him. He and Miller were members of the 4x100 and 4x400 meter teams that broke the school’s record in both events and came close to eclipsing the NAIA’s 4x100m record during that time.
Individually, Ingraham ran best times of 21.09 seconds in the 200m and 46.42 in the 400m for the Blue Hawks. He was also an 11-time All-American and four-time national (NAIA) champion and a three-time conference champion.
Ingraham joined the Blue Hawks in 2007, where he red-shirted for a year after he transferred from Lindenwood University. He then began competing for the school in 2008-2009. When The Freeport News spoke with the track and field head coach, he fondly remembered the level of hard work he and his fellow Bahamian teammates had to put in to earn their keep on the team.
“There were so many Bahamians there at the time, you had to compete for your spot. You had to work hard if you wanted to be a part of those 4x100m or 4x400m teams. That was one of the best moments.
“Being one of the top athletes at the time and training next to Ramon Miller, we used to go at it in practices. It was a privilege working with him. We made each other better at the time and it’s an honour to share the moment with him because we worked hard as a team.
“We had each other’s backs and that was the best part of it. Even with La’Sean, it was a good experience. We had good times.”
Two years after graduating from Dickinson State in 2009, Ingraham established Heats Athletics in North Andros in 2011. He later established the track and field club here in Grand Bahama in September 2017.
Since the conclusion of his collegiate career, Ingraham stated that he made it a goal to not only coach high school athletics, but to help other college athletes post-graduation. As an athlete who has experienced the physical toll performing collegiately and on the senior national level, Ingraham expressed his deep desire to help up and coming senior athletes as well.
“After you finish college you become an athlete of your own. Sometimes you come back home and you feel like you’ve come back to a lower standard of training than you became used to in college. I’m trying to erase that mindset, to show athletes abroad that they come back and get the same quality of training from the coaches here in The Bahamas.
“That’s where I want to make a difference. I want to show them that they have coaches here who can take them to the top level and train them the same way they were trained at the collegiate level.”
Ingraham has been training Blake Bartlett since 2019. Bartlett is a Grand Bahamian track athlete who had represented The Bahamas on the national stage on multiple occasions before joining forces with Heats Athletics. Ingraham also feels working with athletes like Bartlett in the future can only make him better as a coach.
“When I first got Blake it was all about trust. People want to see that they could trust you to get better. He saw the way I work with my current kids and even watched Terrence Jones get better. He trusted my system and working with him was easy.
“He’s dedicated. I’ve only had to teach him a few things I felt was holding him back. This can only make me better, coaching athletes of that caliber who have been to the World Relays, making senior national teams.
“This is helping me to learn and as a coach you have to learn every day. I’m not scared to see if I’m doing anything wrong. If I feel I’m doing wrong I make adjustments or talk to someone experienced. I don’t want to seem like I know it all. By coaching it shows me that I want to be able to coach on a professional level. That’s my goal,” Ingraham concluded.