Category: HIGH SCHOOL 242

Riley Looking To Qualify For Olympics

As of Friday, June 12, 2020


Quarter-miler Ashley Riley is looking to continue his athletic career with the goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games.


#Senior Sports Reporter

#ALTHOUGH he has been forced to join the workforce to support his wife and daughter, quarter-miler Ashley Riley said he’s still looking to continue his athletic career with the goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games.

#Riley, a graduate of the CR Walker Secondary School, is in Louisiana where he’s employed with Target.

#But he said he’s still looking for some financial assistance from the Bahamas Government to help him with his training at his alma mater at Southeastern Louisiana University. “I can still train at my former college,” said Riley, a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana. “I didn’t get to compete this year because the COVID-19 came, but it’s bearable now.”

#After graduating from CR Walker Secondary High in 2012, Riley went to Colby Community College where he was a NJCAA All-American award winner in the 600m and on their 4 x 800.

#The following year, he transferred to SLU where he became a All-Southland Conference 1st team indoor 4 x 400m champion in 2016 and in 2017, the LSWA All-Louisiana member on the 4 x 400m relay and Southland Conference Spring Commissioner’s Honour Roll.

#Now married to Brishay and the father of Brai’lynn, Riley said his focus is on maintaining his family, but he’s not giving up on competing as a track athlete.

#“I had a rough time since I graduated from college. I got an injury during my last year in college, but without the assistance of school and no subvention, it was tough, but I made the decision to keep going.

#“It’s still a funding situation for me. You have to find the funding and everything you need to train and go to the meets to compete. I was still able to compete at a decent level, so it’s bearable, but it could have been a whole lot better.”

#The conditions of COVID-19 were not as drastic as it was with the curfews and weekend lockdowns in the Bahamas for Riley in Louisiana, but he’s not complaining about his situation.

#“We had some curfews, but it wasn’t that bad,” Riley reflected. “I was still able to do most things that I wanted. I pulled back from training until I am ready to start my offseason training, so I just concentrated on working for the time being.”

#And in the midst of the pandemic, Riley said the social racism resurfaced with the death of American George Floyd, but he tried to avoid the protests and all of the events surrounding Black Lives Matter.

#“The city that I am in is a bit small, so we’re not really affected by all of the riots and protests,” said Riley, who is stationed in Hammond. “But it’s affecting everyone seeing something like that happen.

#“I think it’s a good outcome because they are making a lot of changes to the law with the Police, so it’s worked. But I didn’t want to get caught up in all of that, so I just went about my business and back home to my family.”

#As he moves forward, Riley said whether or not he gets on the subvention that is provided by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, he’s looking forward to running in the 400m and the 4 x 400m relay team.

#“I will get back into training and make the Olympic team. I’m glad that they pushed it back until next year,” he said Riley, who ran a personal best of 46.70 in 2017, his last year in college just before he got injured. “I feel it’s more suitable to everyone , including me because I can have more time to train.”

#Riley, the son of Edwin and Shearine Riley, was a part of the RK Athletics Track Club that was formed last January in Arkansas by coach Bernard Newbold.

#The club was formed to help Riley, Andre Colebrooke, Maverick Bowleg and Cliff Resias prepare for the 2019 World Championships. The club, however, has been dismantled after Colebrooke moved on to MVP International, a club with Henry Rolle; Maverick Bowleg returned home in New Providence and Resias and Ashley relocated to Louisiana.

#Newbold said while all of the athletes are still committed to competing for the Bahamas, Riley is more committed right now to raising his family.

#“It’s kind of hard for Ashley, being an athlete who secured a world indoor silver medal as a member of the 4 x 400m relay team and can not get any subvention as well. As a young father, he made the decision that his family comes first and track and field has to be on the back burner,” Newbold said.

#“If we can get him some financial assistance or on subvention, he will be back this fall training,” said Newbold. “I spoke with him. He’s not given up. He said he will get back into training. But a guy of his caliber, but’s going to be tough working and training part-time. He’s a guy that can run 44 seconds easy if he can get the funding to train full time.”

#Riley, a former Carifta medalist, competed for the Bahamas at the 2017 IAAF Bahamas World Relays; was a member of the silver medal 4 x 400m relay team at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and on the 4 x 400m relay team that took third at the IX NACAC Under-23 Championships in 2016.

Education sports unit looks forward to next year

Rupert Gardiner.

June 11, 2020

Simba French


It was supposed to be a busy March and April for the Ministry of Education Sports Unit, but COVID-19 had other plans. It’s almost the end of the school year and the unit is now making plans for the next school year.

This is the first year in recent history that there were no high school sporting championships.

On the first day of the National High School Track and Field Championships, organizers decided to shut down that highly anticipated event because of the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new coronavirus that reached these shores in mid-March.

At the beginning of the school year, there was Hurricane Dorian that put the country in a major setback, financially and otherwise.

Senior Sports Officer in the unit Rupert Gardiner said that they are looking forward to working more with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture next year. The unit oversees sports at the public high school level in the country and is charged with staging local high school national championships in the various sporting disciplines.

“Right now, we need to hold meetings – both ministries. We need to have meetings so we can iron out our kinks on moving forward and how it can work. We need to determine what we can do in terms of getting sports up and running at the high school level,” Gardiner said. “If both ministries can work together, then things will be fine and it would not be going on in just one ministry. Both ministries can come together and fit the bill for all the national programs, then you can see a better quality nationals.”

Gardiner said they are looking at getting those meetings underway next week. He said they are looking forward to working with the sporting federations in staging improved national high school sporting championships next year.

Hosting and organizing those championships come with a hefty price tag. A key way to offset those price tags and to have more community involvement is to bring sponsors on board, said Gardiner.

“I don’t think it will be hard to get sponsors on board,” Gardiner said. “Once we have a sustainable plan and we sit down with the sponsors and tell them that this is our plan moving forward for the youth and betterment of the country, they will come on board. The government cannot do everything. We will have to go into the communities and look for sponsors.”

The Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) was about to get its soccer season started and thereafter, the softball and baseball season, when the pandemic hit. Those seasons, along with the national high school basketball and soccer championships, were canceled. Gardiner said that there wasn’t anything that they could have done as the pandemic is something no one could control.

“It was very disappointing that we did not get to finish off the year and have those championships. This is where a lot of athletes get their scholarships – when we have the best-of-the-best at these championships. We have coaches who come down to look at them and that means that a lot of kids were disenfranchised in getting off to school on athletic scholarships.”

Hopefully, the pandemic has reached its peak in The Bahamas as the country enters stage four of the reopening of the economy plan, and hopefully student-athletes can have an uninterrupted 2020-2021 season as they look to have bragging rights for their respective schools at the various national high school sporting championships.

Jump Line – Hosting and organizing high school nationals come with a hefty price tag

Justin Pinder Looking Forward To Graduation

Justin Pinder

Justin Pinder

As of Tuesday, June 9, 2020


#Senior Sports Reporter

#In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and now the protest for the late George Floyd in the United States, former St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine and CARIFTA champion Justin Pinder has been taking it all in stride in Richmond, Virginia.

#The 22-year-old son of George and Jillian Pinder was hoping to graduate in May, but he said he was advised that the actual ceremony has been pushed back to the end of the year when it will be combined with those graduating in December.

#“I like it because even though it’s right after graduation, you still get the ceremony where you can go on stage in front of your family and friends,” said Pinder, who will graduate with his degree in business management. “I’m glad that they are doing it then, rather than not doing it at all.”

#Still in Norfolk where he was working at Vision Works – a company that sells prescription eyeglasses – while completing his studies, Pinder was also training for the 2020 Olympic Games, which has now been postponed from July 24 to August 9, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan until July 23 to August 8, 2021.

#Although his athletic eligibility for the Spartans ended last year, Pinder was still able to train at NSU under head coach Kenneth Giles.

#“I didn’t get to finish my classes on campus, so I had to do them online,” said Pinder about how he managed to deal with the coronavirus. “So far, it affected my job because they closed our store and I’m still waiting on when they will reopen again.

#“I was training at Norfolk with my college coach to get ready for the Olympics, now I have to switch up my whole plans. But my plan is to still train to qualify for the Olympics.”

#With Virginia being one of the areas known for its racism in the United States, Pinder said he’s situated in the south in Norfolk, where the conditions are not as bad as it is in Richmond, which is about an hour away from him where all of the protests for Floyd are taking place.

#“I think it’s the right thing they are doing,” said Pinder about the protests being dubbed ‘Black Lives Matter.’ “Everything people are doing is a reaction. Everything happened because of the murder of George Floyd. But I stand with them in what they are doing. It’s long overdue.”

#Last year, Pinder experienced his final season at NSU, running a leg on the Spartans’ winning 4 x 400m relay team at the VMI Keydet Invitational and the third-place team at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

#He also clocked a season-best 400m time of 49.42 in a fourth-place finish at the JDL DMR Invitational; was ninth in the 400m at the MEAC Indoor Championships and ran on NSU’s third-place 4 x 400m and DMR (distance medley relay) teams at the conference indoor meet.

#During the outdoor season, Pinder also ran on NSU’s winning sprint medley relay and fourth-place 4 x 400 relay team at the Colonial Relays; placed eighth in the 400m and ninth in the 200m (PR, 21.62) at the Virginia Grand Prix (48.32); finished 10th in the 400m at the MEAC Outdoor Championships in a season-best time of 47.50 and also ran legs on the 4 x 100m (sixth place) and 4 x 400m (fourth place) at the conference outdoor meet.

#Pinder also performed for the Spartans during the 2017-18, 20-16-17 and 2015-16 indoor and outdoor seasons where he established a name for himself at NSU.

#During his tenure, Pinder produced lifetime achievements of 49.27 seconds in the 400m and 1:59.83 in the 800m indoors. Outdoors, he established personal best times of 22.36 in the 200m and 47.28 in the 400m to go along with 1:52 he ran in the 800m before he entered college.

#“When I came here, I was about 17 going on 18. I was so young,” Pinder said. “The adjustment here was pretty rough because that first year, the school had just come off a suspension by the NCAA and so everything was new, especially for those of us coming in.

#“I don’t think it was until my junior year that things finally started to click for me. I was able to make the adjustment. There were some injuries, but that comes with sports. I was able to survive and get through it year by year.”

#As for his academic pursuits, Pinder admitted that it was just as hard because there were some courses that were easy, compared to what he experienced at SAC and vice versa, there were some courses that were harder at NSU.

#“I had to realise that it was college,” he noted. “I had to really become more responsible. It wasn’t a problem. Once I got to know my professors and the American style of teaching, everything worked out for me. It was so much easier.”

#Prior to going to college, Pinder won the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools championships in the 400, 800, 1,500 and both the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams in his senior year for the Big Red Machine.

#That same year, while representing the Bahamas at the 2015 CARIFTA Games in Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis, Pinder captured the silver medal in the under-20 boys’ 800m.

#The year before, Pinder won the BAISS title in the 800 and 4 x 400m relay; was the national champion in the 400 and 800 and ran as a member of the under-18 boys’ silver medal 4 x 400m relay team that included Kinard Rolle, Samson Colebrook and Henry Delauze at CARIFTA in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

#Now that he’s done with college, Pinder said his aim is to make his first senior national team and although the Olympics is the biggest stage of all, he’s confident that with the right training in Norfolk, he can achieve that goal. “Everything was going good with my college coach before everything shut down,” Pinder said. “We’re just waiting for everything to start back up again so that we can resume our training.”

#And like he did at CARIFTA, the top junior regional competition, Pinder hopes that he can carry the Bahamian colours in the 400m and as a member of the men’s 4 x 400 relay team. He admits there will be a lot of pressure competing against world champion Steven Gardiner for a spot on the team. “I feel like it’s wide open on the track. Outside of Stevie and Shaunae (Miller-Uibo on the women’s side), who are the most recognisable names, there’s a lot of room for a lot of our athletes who haven’t reached that pinnacle yet to get to that spotlight level that they’re on,” Pinder said.

#When it’s all said and done, Pinder is hoping that his name will be one of the next ones called.