Shaunae Miller in action in Beijing. (AP)
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#As a double threat this year, Shaunae Miller’s stunning record breaking performance at the Jamaican Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica, and her silver medal feat at the 15th International Amateur Athletic Federation’s World Championships in Beijing, China earned her The Tribune’s Female Athlete of the Year honour. She managed to out-stride professional swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Grand Bahamian collegiate basketball player Jonquel Jones to secure the top spot.
#Here’s how it all unfolded:
#1 Shaunae Miller
#All year long, 21-year-old Miller sat among the top five in the rankings in both the women’s 200 and 400 metres on the IAAF list and there was more debate on which event she would contest until she made her final decision about a month out of the championships to go with the one lap race after she came off a near season-ending injury in the half-lap race during a Diamond League meet in Monaco on July 17.
#It turned out to be the greatest decision she made this year as she ended up as the silver medallist in Beijing in a personal best of 49.67 seconds. American Allyson Felix ran 49.26 for the gold in the highly anticipated showdown on August 27. Jamaican Shericka Jackson had to settle for the bronze in 49.99.
#Miller posted seven of the top times this year in the quarter-mile, losing just twice on the year. The only other time came on June 13 in New York City where American Francena McCorory won in 49.86, compared to Miller’s 50.66. The only thing Miller did accomplish in the event was break Tonique Williams’ national record of 49.07 that she set in Berlin, Germany, on September 12, 2004.
#However, Miller did ink her name in the national record books when she clocked 22.14 to win the Jamaican Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica, on May 9 to erase the previous mark of 22.19 that was set by Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in Saint Denis, Paris on July 3, 1999. In Kingston, Miller won over a star-studded field that included American Tori Bowie, second in 22.29 and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who was third in 22.37.
#Incidentally in Beijing, Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands pulled off the victory in the world-leading time of 21.63 ahead of a Jamaican duo of Elaine Thompson in 21.66 and Veronica Campbell-Brown in 21.97 for the silver and bronze respectively.
#For her efforts, Miller was named the Most Outstanding Athlete at the inaugural Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s Awards Banquet, organised by Adrian Francis of Workforce Bahamas during the Sports Heritage Month in November in the Atlantis ballroom on Paradise Island. Additionally, Miller walked away with the Female Athlete of the Year award. And she was listed among the candidates for the Caribbean Sports Journalists Association (CASJA), which was fittingly presented to Fraser-Pryce after her dominance of the women’s 100m at the Beijing World Championships.
#2 Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace
#The 25-year-old two-time Olympian produced a national record in the women’s 100 metre butterfly in 58.87 seconds at the 2015 Arena Pro Series in Atlanta, Georgia, as she continued to make her splash on the professional circuit.
#But at the end of the year, Vanderpool-Wallace found her name on the list of Central American and Caribbean and South America’s Female Swimmer of the Year. She eventually had to settle for third place in the Swim Swam, one of the world’s leading swim sites. Carting off the award was Jamaican Alia Atkinson, a double medallist at the FINA World Aquatics Championship in Kazan, Russia where she got the silver in the 50m breaststroke and a bronze in the 200m breast.
#Vanderpool-Wallace, winner of third place in the final standings, was a double medallist at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada where she got the national anthem to be played as the flag was raised for her gold in her specialty in the 50m free along with a bronze in the 100m free. Vanderpool-Wallace also claimed two gold medals at the Bolzano International Swim Meet in Italy.
#Brazilian Etiene Medeiros edged out Vanderpool-Wallace for the second spot on the list behind Atkinson after she clinched four medals, including a gold in the 100m back at the Pan Am Games and a silver in the 50m backstroke at the World Championships.
#3 Jonquel Jones
#Every time you heard about the Colonials women’s basketball team, it was Grand Bahamian native Jones making the headlines at George Washington University.
#The 6-foot, 4-inch forward is having a sensational senior year as the reigning Atlantic 10 Player and Defensive Player of the Year. Through the first 10 games of the 2015-16 season, and in her career as a whole, GWsports.com has produced some interesting statistics on this potential Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) high draft pick.
#Just to post some of the accolades:
#After falling short last year as a junior, Jones is back on the watch list as a candidate for the National Player of the Year for the Naismith Trophy, John R Wooden Award and the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Award. Her position has been bolstered by the fact that she has already earned three Atlantic Player of the Year honours, increasing her total to 11 for a GW record as well.
#Individually, she is the top ranked national rebounder, averaging 15.8 boards per contest, has made five three-pointers – a career high, accumulated eight straight double-doubles, second most nationally, five 20-point games this year to push her career total to 18, has a pair of 20-point, 20-rebound performances.
#The only thing left is for Jones and the Colonials to go all the way and win the NCAA title next year as she completes her stellar career at GW. When she graduates next year, the 22-year-old Jones hopes to leave with her degree in criminal justice.
#Honourable mentions for those who will be among the top 10, but in no particular order, are as follows:
#Swimmer Joanna Evans, who had a sensational run at CARIFTA and went on to represent the Bahamas at the Pan American Games, swimmers Ariel Weech and Laura Morley, who both competed at the Pan Am Games, Lashann Higgs, now starring for the Texas Longhorns women’s basketball team, long jumper Bianca ‘BB’ Stuart, who won a silver medal at Pan Am, but fell short of making the final at the IAAF World Championships, hurdler Devynne Charlton, who had a record-breaking performance at Purdue University, sprinter Carmeisha Cox at Purdue University, sprinter Tynia Gaither at the University of Georgia, sprinter Tayla Carter at Western Carolina, Adanaca Brown, who had a breakout year in the hurdles and sprints, elite sprinters Anthonique Strachan and Sheniqua ‘Q’ Ferguson, who competed at the Pan Am and World Championships respectively and bowler Driskell Rolle, who made it back to the 51st QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup in Sam’s Town, Las Vegas, and gymnast Kianna Dean, who made it to the Pan American Games.
#Note: If anyone was left off the list, it was not intentional. We apologise in advance for any athletes not mentioned.