The St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine got off to a strong start, defending their title at the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) Track and Field Championships at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. SAC has the early lead with 406.5 points, building up momentum with strong performances in the 400 meters (m) and sprint hurdles.
After missing last year’s meet due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queen’s College Comets are back and are in second with 344 points. Behind them in third are the St. John’s College Giants with 147 points.
Head Coach for SAC Jason Edwards said that they were down earlier in the day because of the results in some of the field events, but added that they rebounded nicely.
“Every year is different. I knew we were making up ground as we got later in the day, in the 1,500m, the hurdles and the 400m. The athletes fought hard and did not let the early score deter them. They came out determined and focused, and I am proud of them,” Edwards said.
As for today, Edwards said that there are more field events and some track event they feel they could do well in, as they look to maintain the lead.
Athletes performed at a high level on the first day of competition with some achieving CARIFTA standards and others breaking BAISS records.
Windsor School’s Terrell McCoy, who is aiming to win a gold medal at the CARIFTA Games over the Easter break, improved on her CARIFTA qualifying distance and broke the record in the under-17 girls shot put. The 14-year-old threw a personal best of 13.53m (44’ 4-3/4”) on her final throw to almost surpass the CARIFTA qualifying distance of 12.56m (41’ 2-1/2”) by a full meter. She broke Brashe Wood’s 10-year-old BAISS record of 13.37m (43’ 10-1/2”).
“I came out strong on my first warm-up throw. I had to settle down, and on the last throw I was able to set the record. It feels good to be a record holder. I was crying and I hugged my coach. I was seeking this moment since I qualified for CARIFTA,” McCoy said.
McCoy is looking to possibly throw 14 meters (45’ 11-1/4”) at CARIFTA. She has the under-17 girls discus event left at the BAISS Championships.
The Comets’ Milan Mondesir was McCoy’s closest competitor with a throw of 10.36m (33’ 11-3/4”). Finishing third was Nassau Christian Schools Crusaders’ Joi Farquharson who threw 9.16m (30’ 0-3/4”).
Jamiah Nabbie from the Comets was the only competitor in the under-17 girls long jump to jump over five meters. She leapt past the CARIFTA qualifying distance of 5.46m (17’ 11”). Nabbie recorded a leap of 5.49m (18’ 0-1/4”).
SAC’s duo of Alexis Roberts and Shayann Demeritte placed second and third respectively. Roberts jumped 4.84m (15’ 10-1/4”) while Demeritte posted a jump of 4.58m (15’ 0-1/2”).
Nabbie went on to the track and had great weather conditions, powering her way to a CARIFTA qualifying standard and a BAISS record in the under-17 girls 100m preliminaries. She clocked a blistering 11.98 seconds to lower Devine Parker’s 11.99 record set back in 2016. Demeritte, who already qualified for CARIFTA in this event, clocked 12.19 seconds to win her heat.
SAC’s Darvinique Dean, who already qualified in the under-17 girls 400m hurdles, achieved the qualifying standard in the 100m hurdles event with a time of 14.64 seconds. The standard in that event is 14.89 seconds.
Dean’s teammate Madison Moss posted a time of 15.68 seconds to place second. The Giants’ Valentina Knowles finished third when she posted a time of 16.79 seconds.
Quinton Rolle from SAC joined the Comets’ Kenny Moxey as the only CARIFTA qualifiers in the under-17 boys 110m hurdles. Rolle finished ahead of Moxey to win that race with a quick time of 14.86 seconds to go under the standard of 15.65 seconds. Moxey clocked 15.19 which was faster than his previous qualifying time of 15.60 seconds. Finishing third was Rolle’s teammate Malik White with a time of 16.72 seconds.
SAC’s Johnathan Fowler did not want to wait until the under-20 boys 100m final today to achieve the CARIFTA standard of 10.60 seconds. Fowler did it in the preliminaries as he pushed from the start to finish to clock 10.60 seconds, matching the standard. When he crossed the finish line, he looked at the time and started to celebrate. Fowler is the sole qualifier in that event for The Bahamas.
“I did not want to go in CARIFTA Trials/High School Nationals with a 10.77 personal best. I was happy I was able to qualify today (Wednesday). I knew I had to get out the blocks because my start is not the best part of my race. I got out and pressed to the line,” Fowler said.
He goes into the final today with the fastest qualifying time.
The Giants’ Tayshun Robinson saw there was no CARIFTA qualifier in the under-20 boys 110m hurdles and wanted to be the first. He proceeded to go under the standard of 14.20 seconds when he won that event with a time of 14.17 seconds. He finished almost a second ahead of St. Anne’s School Blue Waves’ Dana Rolle who ran 15.21 seconds. SAC’s Jehiel Smikle posted 15.60 seconds to get the bronze medal.
The last race of the day had SAC’s Tumani Skinner breaking Kinard Rolle’s nine-year BAISS record of 48.64 seconds in the under-20 boys 400m. Skinner had to push hard on the home stretch, crossing the finish line in a new BAISS record of 48.37 seconds.
“I wanted to get out quickly and ease up along the back stretch and then push the final 150m. That was what I did. I am overjoyed to be the BAISS Champion. I cannot believe it. I never thought I would have broken the record,” Skinner said.
The Comets’ Dentry Mortimer Jr. was second with a time of 48.56 seconds. SAC’s Clinton Laguerre placed third in 48.85 seconds.
All three runners missed out on the CARIFTA qualifying standard of 47.75 seconds which they will look to surpass at the CARIFTA Trials/High School Nationals later this month.
Eagan Neely from SAC was flying in the under-15 boys 400m preliminaries, blazing around the track to erase an 18-year-old BAISS record with a time 50.62 seconds. Neely lowered Fenton Williams’ record of 51.58 seconds which was set back in March 2005. Neely, by no surprise, went on to win in the final with a time of 52.19 seconds. His teammate, Shevano Nixon, was second with a time of 53.99 seconds. The Giants’ Aiden Musgrove rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 53.99 seconds.
SAC’s Dior-Rae Scott jumped up an age group to throw a distance of 39.24m (128’ 9”) to win the under-20 girls javelin throw. She almost surpassed the BAISS record of 39.44m (129’ 4-3/4”) set by Rhema Otabor in 2019. Scott qualified for the Penn Relays which was her goal at this meet.
“I was impressed with my performance as I am coming off an injury. I was scared because I didn’t want to re-injure myself. I kept my confidence and followed through. I was trying to chase the record, but I shut it down because I didn’t want to re-inure myself,” Scott said.
The Comets’ G’Shan Brown was second with a throw off 33.76m (110’ 9-1/4”). The Crusaders’ Apryl Davis settled for third with a throw of 26.20m (85’ 11-1/2”).
Today on the track, there will be the 400m hurdles preliminaries, the 4x100m relay preliminaries, the 800m preliminaries, and the 4x400m relay preliminaries. In the field, there is the under-20 boys javelin, the under-17 girls discus and the under-17 girls triple jump.