Pictured (l-r) at the BAISS press conference are Carl Campbell of Queen’s College, Vandyke Bethel of Kingsway Academy, Valentine Thomas of St John’s College, Everette Fraser of Queen’s College, Dr. Nevillene Evans of St John’s College, Curt Hollingsworth of St Anne’s, Quintin Brennen of the NSA, Trevor Moss, meet director, Sandre Hobbs of Queen’s College and Sherwaine Arthurs of St John’s College.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#The Queen’s College Comets, with a well-balanced team across the board, is all set to defend their title as the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools’ 31st Track and Field Championships gets underway today.
#The three-day meet, featuring a total of 13 private schools in New Providence with the St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine attempting to regain the title they previously held, is scheduled to get underway at 9am and will continue through Friday at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
#Meet director Trevor Moss said all of the other schools, including Aquinas College Aces, Charles W Saunders Cougars, Jordan Prince Williams Falcons, Kingsway Academy Saints, Lyford Cay International School, Nassau Christian Academy Crusaders, St Andrew’s Hurricanes, St Anne’s Blue Waves, St John’s Giants, Temple Christian Suns and the Westminster Diplomats will all be out to get their share of the glory.
#“All rules of BAISS track and field will be observed and where there are no rules that are stated by BAISS, World Athletics, formerly the IAAF, rules will apply,” Moss said. “So from 1989, we started this journey and from 1984 to 2014, there was one steady ship guiding us, St Augustine’s College.
#“But 2015, Queen’s College came in and broke up the whole monotony. 2016 was Queen’s College. In 2017, St Augustine’s came back with vengeance. 2018 St Augustine’s held onto it and 2019, Queen’s College came back and took the crown. In 2020, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen.”
#Moss said they anticipate that the competition will be so exciting that nobody can say whether or not Queen’s College or SAC can win the title or some of the other schools will give them a run for their money.
#The meet, which comes on the heels of the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association’s three-day meet last week, will serve as a trial for athletes wishing to represent the country at the CARIFTA Games, scheduled for the Easter holiday weekend in Bermuda.
#Queen’s College head coach Everette Fraser said as the defending champions, his Comets will be out to successfully defend their title, led by their pre-qualifiers for CARIFTA in Shaunece Miller in the under-17 girls’ high jump, Doindre Saunders in the under-17 boys’ high jump and Nathaniel Zervos in the under-17 boys’ javelin.
#“We are ready,” he insisted. “This is the meet that you want to be to. This is a meet you won’t want to miss. We can’t wait until Friday to see who will win. But we are the champions and we are here to defend our title.
#“We look good. I feel like we have a strong team overall, especially on the female side. I think every school will have injuries, but we have the depth that if one of our top athletes go down, we have sufficient athletes to replace them. “This year, you won’t see a lot of persons from QC competing in too many events. We have depth. It won’t be a problem for us this year. We have it good in that area. Because of the depth, there are no major concerns for us. This will be a very exciting meet.”
#SAC was not represented at the press conference, but head coach Jason Edwards anticipates that they will roll their Big Red Machine behind CARIFTA qualifiers Stephen Farquharson and Brandon Hutchinson in the under-17 boys’ high and triple jumps respectively, along with sprinter Jaida Knowles in the under-20 girls’ sprints.
#Vandyke Bethel, the athletic director at Kingsway Academy, said the Saints will definitely be coming out marching this year. “We’re going to come out and ensure that we take our share of the spoils,” he said. “We don’t want people to think we are just going to come out there and let things happen the way it used to happen.
#“I’ve been saying to my kids at Kingsway Academy, the only reason why the other schools do what they do is that we don’t show up. I want you to know that we will show up. We’re expecting some fierce competition, so let the show begin.”
#Valentine Thomas, the head coach for St John’s College, said the Giants, who was the first school to defeat the Big Red Machine when the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations hosted the National Championships, said they have been gradually improving over the past few years.
#“We are improving in the point standings and we are improving in our athletic competitiveness,” he pointed out. “We have the strongest schools to compete against and every year, we’re a bit nervous, but every year we are bringing it on.”
#Thomas, who was accompanied by coach Sherwaine Arthurs and principal Dr. Nevillene Evans, said the Giants will be led by Carlos Brown, who has already done the Carifta qualifying standard in the under-17 boys’ 100m and Keyshawn Strachan, who has surpassed the standard in the under-20 boys’ javelin where he is the defending champion and record holder.
#“Come out. We want you guys to support us, particularly affiliates of St John’s family, whether they be parents, alumni, friends, come out and support this year,” he said. “We’re going forward, we’re going stronger and we’re coming better as Giants.”
#St Anne’s principal Curt Hollingsworth said the Bluewaves will be out to make their presence felt, led by their two Carifta qualifiers in Anthaya Charlton in the under-20 girls’ long jump and Jasmine Knowles in the under-20 girls 800m and the reigning Carifta champion.
#“We will also have the likes of Dominique Archer, who is going to prove that the points will be split,” Hollingsworth said. “So to the big schools, your hands will be filled. We will be coming after you.”
#One other Carifta qualifier so far is Jeremiah Adderley of Nassau Christian Academy in the under-17 boys’ 100m.
#Quintin Brennen, the general manager of the National Sports Authority, said they are delighted to be able to partner with the BAISS in putting what should be the best meet to watch this year.
#“We are definitely looking forward to three exciting days of competition,” he projected. “From this week, we will see athletes qualify for the various junior national meets this year.”
#He encouraged the public to come out in a safe environment to watch three days of competition as they see if the Comets can retain their title or they are dethroned by the Big Red Machine or one of the other participating schools.
#Photo caption – Pictured from left to right at the BAISS press conference are Carl Campbell of Queen’s College; Vandyke Bethel of Kingsway Academy; Valentine Thomas of St John’s College; Everette Fraser of Queen’s College; Dr. Nevillene Evans of St John’s College; Curt Hollingsworth of St Anne’s; Quintin Brennen of the NSA; Trevor Moss, meet director; Sandre Hobbs of Queen’s College and Sherwaine Arthurs of St. John’s College.