Athletes came out in full force and participated in the first conventional track and field meet of the season this past Saturday, taking part in the 2021 T-Bird Flyers Track and Field Classic at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
Athletes competed from the under-11 category straight up to the open division in orthodox events for the first time since March 2020. The majority of the athletes in action also competed at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Odd Distance Track and Field Meet and the Blue Chip Athletics Throwers Meet in December 2020, opening the season.
Putting on an impressive performance was under-20 boys javelin thrower Keyshawn Strachan from Blue Chip Athletics. Strachan showed why he was the best junior javelin thrower in the region a year ago, tossing a personal best of 66.77 meters (m) – 222’ 4” – on Saturday past, easily winning that event. He surpassed the 2020 CARIFTA qualifying mark of 60.94m (199’ 11-1/4”) again. His first meet of the season was at his club’s throwers meet last month.
“I’m very happy but I know I can do better. By February, I will be throwing better than 66m. I am just glad and grateful that I can come out here and compete,” Strachan said. “I just started hitting the gym, so I probably needed something in me. I did not have access to the gym when I threw 64m, so I feel that if I did hit the gym on time, I would have thrown better than I did the last time around.”
Finishing behind him was his teammate Nathaniel Zervos with a throw of 54.67m (179’ 4-1/4”). Third place was secured by Jlen Cadet from Swift Athletics when he recorded a throw of 45.80m (150’ 3-1/4”).
Strachan, a grade 11 student at St. John’s College, is looking forward to his next meet, expecting to break the 70m (229’ 8”) barrier. At the Blue Chip Athletics Meet, he threw 64.45m (211’ 5-1/4”).
Swift Athletics’ Juan Carlos Brown ran his way to the title in the under-17 boys 100m, unofficially qualifying for the CARIFTA Games when he clocked a blistering 10.75 seconds. The standard is 11.02 seconds. Brown was the lone athlete in that division to run under 11 seconds. His closest competitor was DTSP Wolf Pack’s Jeremiah Adderley who clocked 11.12 seconds to go under the CARIFTA ‘B’ standard of 11.24 seconds. Finishing behind him in third was Matthew Chandler. The Fast Forward Athletics runner ran 11.37 seconds.
Power Athletics’ Wendell Miller was the only runner in the under-20 boys 400m to go under 50 seconds. He finished in 49.57 seconds. The grade 12 student at St. John’s said he accomplished what he wanted to in the race.
“My goal was to come out, pace myself, to do the best that I can and I think I did it. I was happy for my time,” said Miller.
Lamont Moss of the DTSP Wolf Pack finished with the second-fastest time when he stopped the clock in 50.27 seconds. Speed Dynamics’ Antoine Andrews was a close third as he posted a time of 50.52 seconds.
Miller, whose specialty is the 400m hurdles, said he wants to run 47 seconds or lower in the 400m and 52 seconds or lower in the 400m hurdles this season. He is looking forward to the season.
In the under-20 girls 800m, it was Fast Forward Athletics’ Javonya Valcourt running ahead of her competitors as she cruised to victory in 2:30.10. That was the first time she ran that event in a year.
“I felt good but we were waiting for so long. It was cold, so I feel that I did not do my best. I want to qualify for CARIFTA in the 400 and 800m races,” she said. “I just need to work on my final lap and final 200m. They need to be stronger.”
Red-Line Athletics’ Cynae Hall was a distant second when she ran twice around the track in 3:16.36. Rounding out the competitors in that race was Brianna Rolle from Another Level Track Club as she finished in 4:02.97.
As the meet came to a close, there was a very competitive combined 400m hurdles race that included the under-17 girls, the under-20 girls and open women divisions. It featured a sibling rivalry between Power Athletics’ under-17 girls Kaiya Cambridge and under-20 girls Keianna Cambridge. The race got off to a competitive start but the two sisters eventually took over.
Running neck and neck, down the final 100m, it came down to the final hurdle to see if younger sister Kaiya had enough left in her tank to edge out older sister Keianna. However, Kaiya’s left leg hit the final hurdle, which slowed her down, enabling older sister Keianna to record the victory. Keianna clocked 1:10.31 and Kaiya finished in 1:10.72.
Finishing second in the under-17 girls 400m hurdles with a time of 1:16.62 was T-Bird Flyers’ Marquell Newbold. Like the under-20 girls 400m hurdles, there was only one competitor in the open women’s division, the University of The Bahamas’ (UB) Gabrielle Shannon. She recorded a time of 1:11.55.
In the under-11 girls 800m, Boost Athletics’ Symiah Strachan recorded the victory. She took a convincing lead in the first 25m of the race and ran a very strong and focused two laps. She convincingly won in 3:02.37. Her teammate Damali David won the first heat and was second overall in 3:09.96. Finishing third was Beginners Track’s Ariel Thompson who reached the finish line in a time of 3:23.
Olympian Stephen Newbold was also on the track at the meet. The Bahamas Speed Dynamics athlete ran the open men’s 100m and was the only competitor to go sub-11 when he ran 10.99 seconds to win the race. Phoenix Track Club’s Janeko Cartwright was second with a time of 11.49 seconds. Finishing third was Ambassador Athletics’ Kenneth Johnson who crossed the finish line in 11.50 seconds.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, there were no spectators at the meet. A number of safety measures and social distancing protocols were in place. It was streamed live on YouTube on Bahamas Athletics page.
Next up on the local track calendar is the Star Trackers Track and Field Classic, set for Saturday February 6 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.