Four teams punch their tickets to the Penn Relays
One of the awards coming from the recently completed Bahamas National High School Track and Field Championships were trips to the 2019 Penn Relays for the top finishers in the under-20 boys and girls 4×100 meters (m) and 4x400m relays, as is custom. The trip is sponsored by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
The 2019 Penn Relays is set for April 25-27 at Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Representing The Bahamas in the 4x100m relay will be St. Augustine’s College (SAC) in the girls division and Tabernacle Baptist Academy in the boys division. Queen’s College (QC) boys and SAC’s girls earned the right to represent their schools and the country in the 4x400m relays.
On Saturday at the high school nationals, the fans in the stadium were in for a treat in both the under-20 4x400m.
The under-20 boys 4x400m was one of the most thrilling races of the meet. The runners on the final leg, particularly the athlete from Tabernacle, had a fantastic showing, almost erasing a 30m gap, but in the end, it was the QC team that held on to punch their ticket to the Penn Relays.
QC was represented by the Bahamas Association Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) record-setting team of Kendrick Major, Shaun Miller Jr., Max Azor and Matthew Thompson. They won in 3:16.86.
On the second leg, Miller flew past Tabernacle’s Tre Buchannon and Moore’s Island’s DeShawn McKinney, and they never relinquished the lead after that.
Miller said: “We wanted it bad and we went out there and did it. Glory be to God.” After passing his competitors, Miller said he just had to dig gown deep to finish the leg ahead of them.
Behind them in a very close second with a time of 3:16.91 was Tabernacle. It was Moore’s Island that rounded out the top three as they stopped the clock at 3:18.30.
On the final leg for QC was Thompson. He had a good lead at the beginning of his leg but Tabernacle’s Terrance Jones made a strong push to try will his team to victory. He was barely out-leaned at the tape.
“I felt him (Jones). He is a fantastic runner and it was a wonderful race. I am glad we got to put on a show. I ran really hard – it was possibly the hardest I ever ran. On the backstretch I tried to maintain form. At the 150m mark, I just kicked and gave it all that I had coming home. I’m glad with the result,” Thompson said after the race.
Major, who ran the first leg, said: “ We spoke about going to Penn Relays from October. We had already calculated the funds. We knew what we wanted to do and all we had to do was execute. I knew that once I gave my team something to work with, they would bring it home.”
In the under-20 girls 4x400m, SAC’s team of Sasha Knowles, Jaida Knowles, Lakelle Kinteh and Megan Moss held off QC to power their way to victory in 3:52.45.
Moss grabbed the baton from Kinteh and chased QC runner Sandra Mitchell onto the backstretch. She took the lead with a little over 200 meters to go in the race, and SAC held onto the lead.
“I definitely wanted to make sure I caught her and make up the difference so that we could go home with the win,” Moss said.
Finishing second was Queen’s College in 3:56.47. Kingsway Academy settled for third as they crossed the finish line in 4:04.09. This is Moss’ final year at SAC, and she’s glad to go out with a win.
“It feels amazing, this being my last year representing St. Augustine’s College. I am so happy that I got to represent my school well,” she said.
Tabernacle’s under-20 boys blazed their way to a meet record in the 4x100m relay. The team of Juwan Rigby, Terrance Jones, Trav’juan Alleyne and Nastario Williams, finished in 41.36 seconds.
Placing second was Queen’s College in a time of 42.33 seconds. SAC captured the bronze in 43.05 seconds.
SAC won the under-20 girls 4x100m. The team of Kinteh, Moss, Vinajah Adderley and Jaida Knowles, finished the race in a time of 46.08 seconds. They finished comfortably over silver medalist Queen’s College.
QC finished the race in a time of 47.97 seconds. C.R. Walker finished the race in 50.35 seconds for third.
When Moss received the baton on the backstretch, SAC began to pull away from QC. Adderley kept SAC out front and Knowles brought her team home in first.
All four teams are looking forward to representing their schools and The Bahamas at the Penn Relays.
The Penn Relays is regarded as the largest relay carnival in the world, and is one of the biggest track meets in the United States. The meet climaxes with the popular USA vs The World relay competitions, in which American teams run against national squads from other countries in the men and women’s 4×100 and 4x400m relays.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism