#By TENAJH SWEETING
#THE New Providence Public Primary Schools Sports Association (NPPPSSA) made its return to the original Thomas A Robinson National Stadium yesterday for their annual track and field meet.
#After being shelved for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary school students and officials were excited to be back on the track and field for competition.
#With 19 of the 22 expected schools ready for action, Claridge Primary leads all schools with 27 points going into day two of the meet.
#Second place belongs to the defending champions Cleveland Eneas, who sits one point behind with 26. Uriah McPhee is positioned in third place with 16 points after one day of primary school competition.
#Latoya Sturrup, president of the NPPPSSA, talked about the excitement and morale at this year’s return meet.
#The president said it was a beautiful feeling to see the children have a good time and display their talents.
#She said the student athletes were super excited to be on the track for the first time and others after more than two years.
#This year’s event started with lots of camaraderie and new experiences for the primary school students.
#Although the rainy day mostly featured prelims for the young athletes to qualify for Friday’s finals, day one still had the excitement of everyone.
#The day’s finals included the girls and boys 1,200m run for the B division, and the long jump field events for the A and B division.
#On the track, Carlton Francis’ Talisha Racine took home the victory in the girls’ 1,200m run for the B division. She capped off the first place victory with a time of 5:06.77. Sciaka Eugene of Claridge Primary secured second place finish in the event after clocking 5:07.24. Cleveland Eneas’ Iyanna Rolle followed behind for third with 5:23.50.
#Rashad Francois of Gerald Cash Primary emerged victorious in the boys 1200m run for the B division. Francois finished with a time of 4:40.33 to edge out his competitors. Thelma Gibson’s Jabez Winder claimed second place after notching 4:49.39 in the race. Deon Fowler placed third for Cleveland Eneas with a 4:55.26 finish.
#Mariska Thompson, head coach of the defending champions, talked about how it felt to be back in action.
#“We are very elated to be back on the track myself and the athletes are very excited,” Thompson said.
#The head coach added that the school is ready to defend their championship and have conducted off season training sessions with the students since November leading up to this year’s event. Despite not being in the lead after day one, her message to athletes is to do their best, run hard, and try to qualify for the finals.
#On the field, Claridge Primary’s Tamia Brown nabbed first place in the girls B division high jump. Brown leaped to a height of 1.15m to hold off her competitors. She was followed by Eva Hilton’s Marvinique Perry who finished second. The pair were joined by Uriah McPhee’s third place finisher Ashley Ferguson.
#The boys’ A division long jump capped off with Uriah McPhee’s Jason Thompson bringing home the victory for the respective school. Thompson jumped to a height of 4.29m. Second place belonged to Tayler Johnson of Palmdale primary who notched 3.81m in the event. Meanwhile, Claridge Primary’s Jaterro Moss notched 3.68m in the day’s finals.
#With the majority of the event’s finals scheduled for the final day of the meet, the athletes spent the day trying to qualify. In the A division, Ariel Thompson won the qualifier for the girls 800m race. Second place was Eva Hilton’s Yeindera Martin with 2:48.06. Imani Collie of Gerald Cash came in third to book her ticket to Friday’s finals. Those athletes will be joined by Cleveland Eneas’ Brittania Rigby, Thelma Gibson’s Aniyah Burrows, T G Glover’s Chasey Nelson, Serenity Cash of Gerald Cash, and once again T G Glover’s Cindy Francois.
#For the boys, the A division 800m qualifiers will include Patereco Sherman (Claridge), Rhamelo Bethel (Sadie Curtis), Ayden Rolle (Carlton Francis), Tavardo Brown (Sadie Curtis), Nateo Wilchcombe (Sandilands), Jason Moncur (Uriah McPhee), Kenson Sactel (Cleveland Eneas), and Kelson Grant (Palmdale). Also, the A division 4×100 relay finals will feature Garvin Tynes, Uriah McPhee, Palmdale primary, Cleveland Eneas, Gerald Cash, Albury Sayle, Sadie Curtis, and Sandilands Primary.
#In the girls B division 200m dash, Derricka Smith qualified for the finals while clocking 31.76 to secure first place. Second place belonged to Uriah McPhee’s Ashley Ferguson who will join Smith in the finals. Thelma Gibson’s Aeiyah Clarke came in third. The next five qualifiers will include Tianna Baker (Uriah McPhee), London Edwards (Claridge), Brianna Robinson (E P Roberts), Shakira Brown (Palmdale), and Tanae Fowler (Cleveland Eneas).
#For the boys, the 200m finals will showcase Rico Strachan (Sandilands), Taharro Mackey (Uriah McPhee), Waiden Bain (Sadie Curtis), Travis Mesidor (Centreville), Breon Neely (Sadie Curtis), Jerome Brown (Claridge), Micah Watson (Cleveland Eneas), and Ashton Davis (Uriah McPhee).
#Day two of the NPPPSSA track and field meet will commence at 10am this morning at the old TAR stadium.