UB honors athletes at awards banquetMen’s soccer team finished the year unbeaten; other disciplines made tremendous progress
Led by its men’s soccer team which completed its first undefeated season, the University of The Bahamas (UB) Athletics Department had a transformative year across the board in sports, which is vital in its application process for provisional membership into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the United States. According to Athletics Director Kimberley Rolle, that remains a work in progress, with some type of feedback expected to come during the 2018-2019 season.
As for the breakthrough achievements this year, they were recognized on Saturday night as the UB Athletics Department staged its first awards banquet at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.
The UB Mingoes men’s soccer team, which defeated the Bears FC team on Sunday to win the Bahamas Football Association’s (BFA) league title, was named as the team of the year. Other awards went to: Quanisha Marshall (track and field) – Freshman Female Athlete of the Year; Donovan Dean (men’s basketball) – Freshman Male Athlete of the Year; Aikia Rose (women’s volleyball/softball) – Female Student Athlete of the Year; Ken Mullings (track and field) – Male Student Athlete of the Year; Duchely Richard (men’s soccer) – Academic Student Athlete of the Year; Dion Godet (men’s soccer) – Coach of the Year; and Donovan Ingraham (team nutritionist) – Athletic Director’s Award. Ingraham is an alumnus of the school.
“When you look at what we did across the board, I would say that we had a very successful year and it is something for us to build on for next year,” said Rolle. “At this point, we’re trying to lock in recruits for August so that we could add to what we have now. This year, we had a significant jump over the last three years. Three years ago, the soccer team was winless and now they’re undefeated. They’ve made significant strides. Kudos to Coach Dion Godet and Coach Harvey Mullings. They’ve done a magnificent job. Also, soccer is our highest GPA (grade point average) team and that also impacted them getting the award. We wanted to ensure that the awards were not just athletic based. These guys are student-athletes, so the criteria for the awards had something to do with academics as well as athletics.”
The Mingoes men’s soccer team finished with a 9-0-1 win/loss/draw record, and won the BFA title for the first time in school history. The men’s basketball team made the semifinals of the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) playoffs before losing to the Rockets and won the majority of their international games. All of the games against foreign opponents were very competitive. The men and women’s judo teams performed very well in their first intercollegiate competition against top programs in the United States. A number of personal best times and school records, and even one national record, was established in men and women’s track and field. Additionally, women’s volleyball and softball made tremendous strides.
In men’s soccer, the team’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) was Julio Jemison. In men’s basketball that award went to Kemsy Sylvestre, and Quanisha Marshall won that award for men and women’s track and field. Taryn Butler was the MVP for men and women’s judo, Aikia Rose captured that award for women’s softball, and in women’s volleyball that award went to Seanta Johnson.
The seniors recognized were Marlon Miller in men’s soccer, Justin Munroe in men’s basketball, Leonardo Romer in men’s track and field and Aikia Rose in women’s volleyball and softball.
“Overall, it was a wonderful night and it was enjoyable by all. The student-athletes are ambassadors for the institution and it’s important that we recognize them at the end of the year for their contributions during the year,” said Rolle. “We had a very successful year, and we thought it was important to say thank you. A lot of times we take for granted them getting up at 5 a.m., doing their sports and going to class, and also having to manage their personal lives, so we just thought it was important to pause, and say thank you.”
As far as associate membership into the NAIA is concerned, Rolle said that they are working assiduously to bring all of their programs up to the required standard.
“Volleyball and softball are not competing internationally right now, but we’re working to build those teams and ensure that they have a good foundation for the future. We’re very pleased with men’s basketball, men and women’s judo, men and women’s track and field and men’s soccer. All of those teams performed exceptionally well abroad,” said Rolle. “The university has hired a consultant who is working very closely with us. We expect to advance our application (for associate membership into the NAIA) during the 2018-2019 academic year and see what happens. Currently, there are two levels – associate membership and full membership. We’re likely to be at the associate membership level in the near future, once they determine that the programs are progressing.”
Building on the success of its athletes this year, the university is sending a team to the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That prestigious relay carnival is underway and will run through the weekend at historic Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.