SAC wins third straight BAISS title

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Simba FrenchSend an emailMarch 6, 2023 527 4 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 The St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine won their third straight Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) track and field title on Friday, finishing 172 points ahead of second-place finisher, the Queen’s College Comets. SAC won with 1,324.50 points. DANTE CARRER

Despite a few setbacks, including a disqualification in a relay event, the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine found a way to extend its lead on the final day of competition of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) Track and Field Championships and rolled into a victory over the Queen’s College (QC) Comets on Friday.

Before SAC was declared the winner, the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium erupted as SAC athletes and fans chanted and celebrated with Junkanoo music. They finished the meet with 1,324.50 points – a comfortable margin of 172 points over the second-place Comets. The Comets ended the meet with 1,152.50 points to finish second. The surprising finish of the three-day meet was third as the Temple Christian Suns occupied that slot with 451.50 points. The St. John’s College Giants finished fourth with 381 points and the St. Anne’s School Blue Waves placed fifth with 264.50points.

SAC’s Head Coach Jason Edwards, who looked drained but happy, said it was a good performance by the team over the course of the three-day meet. It was their third straight BAISS track and field title.

“I saw some amazing and hard-fought performances today (Friday),” said Edwards. “They set records and made CARIFTA qualifying times. Without the village of coaches that we have, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

After the second day of competition, Edwards said they did not want to take their foot off the gas pedal.

“We did not want to get complacent and ease up,” he said. “We wanted to fight like we were in second and not give anybody any confidence.”

Edwards said he does not know how they will celebrate but he knows that they have to celebrate the win. As for next year, Edwards is already thinking of holes that he must fill to come back better and stronger.

Coach for the Suns Kenya Culmer was overjoyed that her team finished third.

“I am extremely proud of all our athletes and coaches from the first day,” said Culmer. “We are a very small school with a big heart. All the athletes tried their best to get into the finals and they left it on the track. We tried to put at least two persons in each event on the field. Then, we ensured we were able to have teams for the relays.”

Like the previous two days, athletes were able to produce CARIFTA qualifying marks as well as set BAISS records on the third and final day.

In the field, SAC’s Kamera Strachan improved on her CARIFTA qualifying throw and broke the BAISS record in the under-17 girls javelin. Strachan threw 42m (137’ 9”). The CARIFTA qualifying mark is 35.35m (115’ 11-3/4”) and Strachan’s previous qualifying throw was 36.92m (121’ 1-1/2”). The previous BAISS record of 35.83m (117’ 6-3/4”) was done by Taylor Walters in 2016.

Strachan obliterated the field with her winning throw as the second-place finisher, Samaya Reid, of Temple Christian, threw 19.14m (62’ 9”). Placing third was the Comets’ Raashi Lyons with an 18.77m (61’ 7”) throw.

Kenny Moxey secured a gold medal for the Comets in the under-17 boys high jump when he matched the CARIFTA qualifying standard of 1.85m (6’ 0-3/4”), clearing that same height. He went under the CARIFTA qualifying standard in the 110m hurdles earlier in the season, then did it again at the BAISS meet. The Aquinas College Aces’ Anthony Sweeting cleared 1.79m (5” 10-1/2”) to finish second. Finishing third was Kingsway Academy’s Kenyon Johnson who jumped a height of 1.77m (5’ 9-3/4”).

In the under-20 boys 400m hurdles, the duo of Clinton Laguerre, of SAC, and the Blue Waves’ Berkley Munnings ran under the CARIFTA standard of 54.43 seconds. Laguerre won with a time of 53.98 seconds. Munnings was second when he crossed the finish line in 54.23 seconds. Munnings’ teammate Dana Rolle was third when he ran 57.33 seconds.

It was a BAISS record-setting race for SAC in the under-20 boys 4x100m relay. The team of Khalon Christie, Laguerre, Tumani Skinner and Johnathan Fowler powered their way to a time of 41.60 seconds. They lowered the previous record of 41.64 seconds set by the Comets in 2019. This year, the Comets’ quartet clocked 42.46 seconds to place second while the Blue Waves finished third in 42.76 seconds.

The final races of the day were the 4x400m relays and SAC won the final four out of six divisions. Those divisions were the under-17 boys and girls and the under-20 boys and girls. Temple Christian won the under-15 girls and St. John’s won the under-15 boys title after SAC’s team was disqualified.

In the 4x100m races, SAC won six out of eight titles. They captured under-13 boys, under-15 boys, under-17 boys and girls and the under-20 boys and girls titles. The Comets won the other two divisions – under-13 girls and under-15 girls.

Fowler, who doubled in the under-20 boys 100m and 200m, helped his 4x100m and 4×400 relays teams win gold.

“I came in doubting myself and I wanted to do some things this year, especially with it being my last,” said Fowler. “I felt like I did, particularly by qualifying for CARIFTA in the 100m in the heats. I went into the 200m and came out as the champion and also the 4x400m, but we were not able to get the record. We were able to get a record in the 4x100m with me running the anchor leg, so that felt good.”

Amari Pratt, who won the under-20 girls 100m title but fell to third in the 200m and helped to guide her 4x100m and 4x400m teams to victory, said she was pleased with her performances.

“I am happy with my performances,” said Pratt. “I am looking forward to what I have in two weeks from now at CARIFTA Trials. This is my last year at SAC, so it is good to come out with a win.”

The 12th-grade student said she is looking forward to the CARIFTA Trials/High School Nationals set for March 25-27.

In the division standings, SAC won all four of the boys divisions. The Comets and SAC split the girls divisions.

Next up on the local track and field scene will be the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) Track and Field Championships, slated for March 8-10 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

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