The University of The Bahamas (UB) Athletics Department held its second annual cross country invitational on the grounds of the Queen’s Elizabeth Sports Centre on Saturday.
There were over 800 athletes who were in action, looking to secure the top spots in their divisions. UB Mingoes’ Head Coach Ednal Rolle said that the meet had an increased number of participants from a year ago, and ran smoother than last year’s event.
“After last year we did a postmortem meeting to see how we could make it better this year,” Rolle said. “There is still a lot more work that we need to do. Learning from last year, we worked on those logistics. It went well this year as the numbers jumped up. We want to continue to build long distance. When I thought about this course and design, I thought to make cross country fun. I thought about how to make it engaging as a participant, a coach and a spectator. It was a challenge and I think that the athletes got better.”
The meet had 12 divisions, from the open category all the way down to the under-9 (U9) category. There were also team awards for the under-20 to under-9 categories.
“There were some good performances from the open event. There was even a record set in that event based on last year’s time. There were great times and performances. It is catching on in the long distance races. As a cross country coach, I am learning what you have to do to get better in distance, which includes putting in the miles,” Rolle said.
It was a close race in the open male division with Swift Athletics’ Christopher Saintus winning in 9:41.39. Bahamas Speed Dynamics’ Auston Clarke was second with a time of 9:41.40. Jean Dorelein was third after posting a time of 10:22.93.
Running in a stacked under-20 girls division that had 38 participants, it was 3PA Stallions’ Jasmine Mackey who came out on top with a time of 11:46.92. She comfortably finished ahead of second place finisher Grace Farrington who ran for St. Andrew’s School. She clocked 11:53.73. Power Athletics’ Michal Bullard was third with a time of 12:46.39.
Hurry Murray’s Raywind Winder outlasted R.M. Bailey High School’s Lataji Moxey in the under-20 boys division to get the gold medal. Winder clocked 10:27 while Moxey ran a time of 10:30 to get the silver medal. Third place was secured by Doris Johnson High School’s Fabian Saintil who ran 10:36.
Kids’ Athletics’ Elexia Strachan crossed the finish line first in the under-11 girls division. She had a time of 3:45.12. Her teammate Kailia Symonette finished second in a time of 3:57.68. X-Treme Athletics’ Rayven Munroe ran a time of 3:58.04 to finish third.
Hurry Murray Club came in the meet and won multiple divisions including the under-20 boys, under-17 boys, under-15 girls, under-13 girls and the under-9 boys divisions. The C.R. Walker High School Knights won the under-20 girls division. The Government High School Magic won the under-17 girls division. The C.H. Reeves Junior High School Raptors won the under-15 boys and under-13 boys division. X-Treme Athletics won the under 11-girls and boys and under-9 girls divisions.
As for his cross country runners at the university, Rolle said that there are improvements, although they are middle distance. They traveled to South Florida to run in meets and finished higher than they did last year. The majority of the team also ran personal best times.
Rolle wants to encourage athletes to do long distance as there are opportunities and scholarships at the university for that aspect of the sport.
He said two colleges in the United States have expressed interest in the third edition of the meet next year.