By RENALDO DORSETT
Honouring the best of the local track and field community in 2014, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) came together yesterday to recognise the efforts of its members, both past and present.
Under the theme “BAAAs - Excellent, Outstanding, Amazing,” the organisation hosted its heralded end of year luncheon, celebrating the scholastic and athletic achievements of its current athletes and members who made significant contributions to its growth.
Jeffrey Gibson, Henri Delauze and Shavez Hart were just several of the major winners for their exploits on the local and international stage.
Gibson was named both the Charlie Major Athlete of the Year and repeated as the Thomas A Robinson Senior Male Athlete of the Year. The 23-year-old Grand Bahamian shattered his personal best and lowered the national record to 48.78s in the 400m hurdles. He won bronze in his signature event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Delauze, 17, won the Basil Neymour Most Outstanding Junior Male Track Athlete of the Year Award, the Errol Bodie Junior Male Athlete of the Year, and the Bernard J Nottage Junior Athlete of the Year Award.
The 400m specialist completed his high school career with his best season to date, which included a silver medal at the 2014 CARIFTA Games in Martinique, silver at the CAC Junior Championships in Moriella and highlighted by the country’s first track and field medal at the Youth Olympics game with a bronze and personal best in 46.91s.
Both athletes attended Bishop Michael Eldon School, while Gibson completed his tenure at Oral Roberts University in July. Delauze is headed for his freshman season at the University of Miami in the fall.
Hart, a sophomore at the University of Texas A and M, was named the Collegiate Athlete of the Year, the Harrison Petty Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year Award, and the Most Outstanding Collegiate Male Track Athlete of the Year.
Individually he set new personal bests in both the 100m and 200m and was also a member of the 4x100 national record setting team at the Commonwealth Games.
He ran 10.11s in the century, the second fastest Bahamian of all time in the event, and a mark of 20.35s in the 200m.
In his very first outdoor meet as a member of the Aggies, he was named “Runner of the Week” for the SEC after he claimed the sprint double at the University of Texas San Antonio Texas Challenge Invitational.
Tynia Gaither captured the Most Outstanding Collegiate Female and Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year awards while Kenya Culmer took the Most Outstanding Female Field Athlete of the Year award.
Other first time award winners included Danielle Gibson as the Ronald Cartwright Most Outstanding Junior Female Field Athlete of the Year and Keianna Albury as both the Junior Female Track Athlete and Diana Lyn Thompson Junior Female Athlete of the Year.
Several athletes repeated as award winners for the second consecutive year in their respective events.
LaQuan Nairn was named the Keith Parker Junior Male Athlete of the Year, Branson Rolle is the under-15 Youth Male Athlete of the Year, Doneisha Anderson is the Angela Rolle Under-15 Youth Female Athlete of the Year, Andre Colebrooke is the Sir Durward Knowles Family Island Athlete of the Year, Raymond Higgs is the Collegiate Male Field Athlete of the Year and Shaunae Miller is the Frank Rahming Senior Female Athlete of the Year.
A list of 12 scholar athletes were also honoured including Taryn Rolle of Queen’s College (4.09 GPA) and Keannu Pennerman of St Anne’s School (3.21 GPA)
“The 2014 Annual Awards Luncheon provides us in the track and field fraternity, with a unique opportunity to incorporate the All-Bahamian Scholar Athletes Recognition,” said BAAA president Mike Sands. “The recognition of the All-Bahamian Scholar Athlete serves as an encouragement to all athletes that we are challenged to develop the whole person, both ‘body and mind.’”
Additionally, the BAAA named James Rolle the Henry Crawford Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. LaQuan Nairn accepted on his behalf.
The Ronald Simms Official of the Year went to Patrice Babbs and the Ozzie Arnett Fan of the Year Award went to Beryl Barnett.
The awards luncheon was held under the patronage of Sir Orville Turnquest, the last living member of the original founders of the BAAA.
“I feel pleased and honoured to congratulate all of our outstanding athletes who compete both locally and in the international arena, and bring much joy and pride to their fellow Bahamians” he said. “Our athletes have all certainly made us proud, and I trust that the future holds a wonderful record of the success and achievement of our Bahamian athletes, both at home and abroad.”
The BAAA also recognised five significant contributors and offered special recognition to a pair of track and field icons who were elected to the Hall of Fame at their respective universities.
The honourees included Livingstone Bostwick (served as secretary of the BAAAs from 1968-1997, CAC Hall of Fame and IAAF Veteran’s Pin awardee), Doyle Burrows (BAAAs Treasurer from 1968-1976, manager of the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre 1978-1993, CAC Hall of Fame), Asa Ferguson (BAAAs Treasurer 1985-1997), Elaine Thompson (one of the first Bahamian women to participate on a national team, team manager for several national teams including CARIFTA, IAAF World Championships and Olympics) and Deanza Burrows (founding member of the Pioneers Sporting Club, coach of Tommy Robinson).
“The committee again proceeded on a commitment to assist the BAAA in honouring veteran contributors to our beloved sport who are often forgotten and in many cases their contributions are unknown,” BAAA chairman Curt Hollingsworth said. “We do not have to wait until they have passed, to say nice things about them or ‘thank you’ at that time.”
Former BAAA president Foster Dorsett was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Minnesota State University.
Dorsett is currently a senior officer in the Ministry of Education and a vice president of the BAAA.
During his tenure from 1972-77, thanks in part to legendary coach Gladstone ‘Moon’ McPhee from Grand Bahama and coach Chuck Peterson, who was the head coach at Minnesota State, Dorsett ran the 400, 600 and 800 metres.
He earned All-American honours in the 800m, won the most valuable player (MVP) twice, team captain for two years and ran on the schools’ 4 x 400m records. He also held the school’s 220 yards record of 21.3 seconds and was conference champion in both the 400 and 600m.
Iconic coach David Charlton was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Howard University.
Charlton was honoured for his contribution to the Bison Express track and field, under the guardian of coach William ‘Bill’ Moultrie, as a 400 and 400m hurdles specialist for his tenure from 1979-1984.
During his tenure at Howard, Charlton was a member of the 1982 4 x 400m relay team that set a new NCAA record, was the 1983 Penn Relays 400m hurdles champion, three time most outstanding performer at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and a three-time All-American.
Since returning home, the Grand Bahamian native has passed on his knowledge to the younger generation in the formation of the Star Trackers Track Club with his wife Laura Charlton, the treasurer and team manager. As the head coach, Charlton has been instrumental in helping to get a number of student athletes to follow in his footsteps in securing athletic scholarships.