By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
IMPROVING on last year's performance of 31 medals, Team Bahamas is expected to return home from Bermuda with 40 medals for second place and the bid to host the 42nd Carifta Games next year.
Jamaica, which hosted the top regional junior meet last year, finished with 78 medals, including 34 gold. The Bahamas ended up with 40 medals - 14 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze.
The three-day meet at the National Sports Centre in Devonshire, Bermuda, closed out with the Bahamas under-20 boys 4 x 400 metre relay team of Blake Bartlett, O'Jay Ferguson, Elroy McBride and Julian Munroe clinching the gold in a time of three minutes and 09.23 seconds.
As the curtain came down, the Carifta flag was passed on to the Bahamas which, according to the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations president Mike Sands, is expected to host the meet March 28 to April 1, 2013.
"We had a contingent that went to the congress and the Minister (of Youth, Sports and Culture, Charles Maynard) was there. We made our presentation and we were very successful," Sands said.
The new Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium, the hospitality of the Bahamian people, a decade since it was last hosted here in 2002 and the 40th anniversary of the Bahamas Independence celebrations, all played a factor in the final decision.
Of course, Sands said the performances of Team Bahamas in Bermuda over the weekend was the crowning piece in securing the bid for next year.
Like they did in the 4 x 100 relay, the Bahamians in the stands were looking for another spectacular showing in the 4 x 400 relays. But before the under-20 boys completed a sweep of their pair, the under-20 and under-17 girls got the silver, while the under-17 boys did not finish.
In the under-20 girls' race, the team of Rashan Brown, Katrina Seymour, Rhoneshia Johnson and Shaunae Miller raced to their silver in 3:40.44 behind Jamaica (3:34.27).
The under-17 girls' team of Juannae Lewis, Geordinell Thurston, Mesha Newbold and Dreshanae Rolle also got the silver in 3:51.45 as Jamaica won the gold in 3:44.64.
The under-17 boys team of Kinard Rolle, Theotis Johnson, Tory Adderley and Janeko Cartwright didn't finish.
The three relays counted in the total of 14 medals the Bahamas secured on the final day. It followed the 12 medals on day two on Sunday and the 13 from the opening day on Saturday.
Apart from the relays yesterday, the Bahamas got a 1-2 punch from twin brothers Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns in the under-20 boys' triple jump with leaps of 16.35 and 15.55 metres respectively.
There was also a sweep of the under-20 girls' 200 by Anthonique Strachan (22.85) and Shaunae Miller (23.18).
As expected, Ryan Ingraham soared 2.11m to clinch the under-20 boys' high jump gold and Danielle Gibson picked up another in the under-17 girls' long jump with her leap of 5.89m.
Day Two Relay Display
Highlighting day two on Sunday were the pair of gold and silver medals in the 4 x100 relays.
The under-20 boys' team of Teray Smith, Blake Bartlett, Jonathan Farquharson and Shane Jones ran 40.42 to hold off Jamaica (40.72) for the gold.
Likewise, the under-20 girls' team of Devynne Charlton, Carmiesha Cox, Rashan Brown and Anthonique Strachan clocked 45.02. Jamaica won the silver in 45.18.
However, Jamaica won the under-17 boys' gold in 41.64 ahead of the Bahamas' team of Theotis Johnson, Janeko Cartwright, Ian Kerr and Cliff Resias, who did 41.98 for the silver.
And the team of Kadeisha Hield, Juannae Lewis, Makeya White and Keianna Albury clocked 46.66 behind Jamaica's winning time of 46.52.
The individual highlight came from Mesha Newbold, who took the under-17 girls' 300 hurdles in 43.98.
The Bahamas also got three medals in the distance races as Teshon Adderley came up with a silver in the under-23 girls' 800 (2:12.45), Andre Colebrooke was a bronze medallist in the under-20 boys' 800 (1:56.66) and Darren Young got the bronze in the under-17 boys' 3,000 (9:54.94)
Day One Sprint Sweep
No doubt, the Bahamas kicked off the games in grand style on Saturday as they dominated the sprints.
Anthonique Strachan got the first of her double feat in the under-20 girls' 100 in 11.22 as she pulled Carmiesha Cox through with the silver in 11.54. Cliff Resias also got the first of his two individual medals in the under-27 boys' 100 in 10.67.
O'Jay Ferguson completed a triple feat in the 400, winning the under-20 boys' race in 47.32 after Rashan Brown took the under-20 girls' race in 54.92 and Janeko Cartwright got his in the under-17 boys' race in 50.04.
In addition, Juannae Lewis won silver in the under-17 girls' race in 57.64.
And on the field, Raquel Williams took the under-20 girls' shot put with a heave of 13.08 metres, while Tamara Myers (11.62m) and Anthonique Butler (11.45m) were silver and bronze medallists in the under-20 girls' triple jump.
Also, LaQuan Nairn got a bronze in the under-17 boys' high jump (1.90m) and Drexel Maycock won the bronze in the under-27 boys' shot put (15.67m).