It was a very close finish but the St. Augustine’s (SAC) College Big Red Machine held on to dethrone the Queen’s College (QC) Comets at the three-day 2020 Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary School (BAISS) Track and Field Championships at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium that wrapped up yesterday afternoon.
After leading at the end of the first two days, SAC came into the final day with a 13.5-point lead and after some close encounters, never gave up the lead, as they held on to win it with a final score of 1,287 points. The Comets finished 8.5 points behind them with 1278.5 points.
Filling out the top three positions was the St. John’s College Giants with 656 points.
SAC’s head coach, Jason Edwards, said his athletes were resilient over the three days.
“I think it was one of the most hard fought BAISS in the history of this track and field meet. The kids were resilient. I could not have asked for anything more. They stepped up to the plate and whatever we asked for them to do they did it,” Edwards said.
On the final day, SAC was able to win eight out of 14 field events and finish in the top two positions in all six of the 4×400 meters (m) relays except the under-20 boys where they finished third.
Edwards added that it was a community effort to come out with the win.
“We have a big community,” Edwards said. “We have a large village. We have a lot of coaches that are involved and a lot of coaches that take their time out and help our kids and develop our kids and this is the result – victory.”
According to Edwards, this victory does not replace them getting blanked out on the softball discipline and winning one of the four divisions in basketball but it surely feels good to come out with the track and field title.
The Comets ran away with all four of the girls divisions – under-13, under-15, under-17 and under-20 divisions.
It was the opposite in the boys divisions, as SAC controlled all four of those divisions.
Before the start of the 4x400m relays, SAC had 1180 points and sitting behind them was the Comets with 1,153.5 points – a lead of 26.50 points.
SAC won two of those six relay races – under-15 boys and the under-17 girls.
In the under-15 boys relay, SAC won with a time of 3:44.80. Winning the silver medal was the St. Anne’s School Blue Waves with a time of 3:51.39. The Comets won the bronze medal with a time of 3:52.91.
In the under-17 girls, SAC was victorious with a time of 4:03.22. Comets came away with the silver medal when they clocked 4:07.43. The Giants placed third when they posted 4:20.37.
QC was masterful when they won three of the six relays, but it was not enough. They won the under-15 girls, under-17 boys and the under-20 girls relay races.
Team captain of the Big Red Machine was Bahamian junior sprinter Jaida Knowles. Despite not being able to run due to a hamstring injury, Knowles was elated with the win, as she will be graduating in June.
“This win meant everything to me,” Knowles said. “I can remember my first year at SAC was the first time we lost in a very long time and that broke my heart. From then, I said I need to do my best to try and never let that happen again and even though it did happen again, I am ecstatic that, in my final year, we did it.”
Also in his final year at SAC was Kyle Humes, who ran the under-20 boys 400m, 400m hurdles and the 4x400m relay races, who said they did what they had to do.
“That was the plan,” Humes said. “We came out here knowing we had the most team spirit and we came out here to win and that was what we had to do.”
As for celebration, Edwards said he does not know how they will celebrate it but he knows that they need to do something grand.
He also congratulated the Comets for a hard-fought meet and complimented their program and noted that SAC will have to step it up again next year to repeat as champions.