Sports

Junior Male Athlete of the Year

When you have an athlete that far exceeds expectations, rising all the way to the top of global charts, and that cannot be overlooked, that was certainly the case with Grand Bahamian Terrence Jones.

Jones ended the year tied as the number one youth half-lapper in the world, tied as the number two junior half-lapper in the world and as the number three youth quarter-miler in the world. He proved that he is not only a top junior athlete locally, but globally as well, and as a result, earned The Nassau Guardian’s Junior Male Athlete of the Year honor, finishing one point short of a unanimous selection.

Jones ran personal best times of 20.43 seconds and 46.29 seconds in the 200 and 400 meters (m), respectively, this year. The 200m time destroyed Steven Gardiner’s former junior national record of 20.66 seconds, and at just 17-years-old, Jones still has two more years remaining as a junior athlete.

He is one of the fastest rising young stars in The Bahamas today. In fact, not even Gardiner himself who ascended all the way to world champion could boast of the progression and success that Jones experienced at such a young age and early stage of development.

Jones had his breakthrough in 2019 at the CARIFTA Games in George Town, Cayman Islands. He wasn’t even listed as one of the favorites for the under-20 boys 400m title but shocked the region with a stunning time in the heats and a ridiculously fast time in the final. In the final, Jones circled the track in his personal best time of 46.29 seconds, leaving the two Jamaican favorites to battle for silver and bronze. The two Bajans settled for fourth and fifth as five guys went under 48 seconds in the final.

Jones was the youngest in the field and certainly made his mark in the region, immediately placing himself as a person of interest in world athletics. Jones went on to compete for The Bahamas at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships and the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships – both times in the 200m.

On his current trajectory, there’s no doubt that Jones could qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in both the 200 and 400m as a 17-year-old. However, he is still growing and his handlers will no doubt exercise care and caution at such a young and tender age. Jones attends Tabernacle Baptist Academy in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and is coached locally by John Ingraham.

He won the national and BAAA awards for junior athlete of the year, and Ingraham claimed the BAAA Coach of the Year Award, particularly for the work he did with Jones. The Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA) held its inaugural Masquerade Soirée and Awards Banquet on Sunday December 8.

Jones said he is looking forward to continued improvement in 2020.

Marvin Johnson Jr. might not have the global rankings that Jones has, but his tremendous showing at the 34th CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Wildey, Barbados, helped The Bahamas win its third straight junior regional swimming title at that meet, and fifth in the past six years. He finished just two points behind Jones in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Junior Male Athlete of the Year honor.

Johnson was certainly the number one performer at CARIFTA, winning a whopping 14 gold medals overall – 10 individual gold and four relay gold. He scored a total of 90 points, easily winning the high point award in the 11-12 boys division. Individually, Johnson won gold in the 50, 100, 200 and 400m free events, the 50, 100 and 200m backstroke events, the 50 and 100m butterfly events, and the 200m Individual Medley (IM). He was a part of all four gold medal-winning teams for The Bahamas in the 11-12 division.

Johnson also went to the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Federation (CCCAN) Championships this year where he won five more gold medals and two silver. He ended the year as the 11-12 age group national champion, winning numerous events and setting personal best and national record times.

Finishing third in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Junior Male Athlete of the Year honor for 2019 was baseball standout Kristian Robinson who ended the year as the number two prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization.

Splitting the year between two teams in Class A baseball in the minor leagues, Robinson batted .282 with 14 home-runs and 51 RBIs in just 69 games. He averaged more than a hit per game, connecting 72 times, and also showed that he has some speed as he stole 17 bases in 22 attempts. Robinson ended the year with a .368 on-base percentage and a .514 slugging percentage.

He will begin his third season in the minors this spring.

Robinson, 19, is one of more than 20 young baseball players from The Bahamas who signed with professional clubs in the past five years.

Finishing fourth in voting for The Nassau Guardian’s Junior Male Athlete of the Year honor for 2019 was 18-year-old swimmer Izaak Bastian and finishing tied for fifth were basketball players Malachi McCoy, 19, and Deyton Albury, 17.

The full breakdown of points for junior male athletes in The Bahamas as voted on by The Nassau Guardian’s Sports Team is listed with this article.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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