By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Shaunae Miller had a big weekend, both locally and internationally off and on the track, typical of the showing the 19-year-old quartermiler had in 2013.
On Sunday at Government House, the former junior athlete who made the transition to the senior level and abandoned her collegiate eligibility for the professional ranks, all in one year, Miller was selected as the most outstanding athlete in the four categories she was nominated in as the long-awaited and much anticipated Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ annual awards ceremony.
One after the other, her name was called by Mistress of Ceremony, Nicolette Archer and banquet committee chairman Curt Hollingsworth, for the following:
• Anita Doherty Junior
Female Track Athlete
• Dianna Lyn Thompson
Junior Female Athlete
• Bernard J Nottage
• Collegiate Female
• Collegiate Female Athlete
• Charlie Major Sr Athlete
of the Year
Quartermiler Miller started the year off by taking the SEC and NCAA Indoor 400m titles for the University of Georgia before she came home to secure the Austin Sealy Most Outstanding Athlete after winning the under-20 girls 200 and 400m gold medals and running the second leg on the victorious 4x100m relay in her final Carifta Games appearance at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
She returned to school and set a new national 200m record of 22.45 seconds in addition to finishing as runner-up at the NCAA Outdoor Championships before she announced her decision to turn pro. She ended the year at an appearance in the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia and was posted a 12th ranking in the 200 and 16th in the 400m.
Unfortunately, Miller was not present to collect her hardware. They were picked up by her sister, Shaunece as Shaunae was at the New Balance Games in New York where she won the women’s 300 metres in a record breaking time of 36.40 seconds on Saturday, competing for Adidas.
“I feel really good about it. I just give God thanks for what transpired over the last year,” said Miller in an interview with The Tribune after the ceremony. “I just got the news from my mother (May Miller), so I was very excited about it.”
May, who accompanied young Shaunece to the ceremony, said she was excited about her daughter’s feat.
“I think she worked hard for it and I’m so proud of her,” she said. “I know this will encourage her to just go out and do even more, so I’m expecting even bigger and better things for her this year.”
Nobody seemed to be more thrilled than Shaunece, a nine-year-old fourth grader at St Francis/Joseph, who also had an impressive showing in November when she won four gold and got a silver in the Catholic Diocesan Primary School Track and Field Meet.
“I feel happy for her because she practiced so hard to run all of these races,” she said. “I was tired going up there all of the time, but I was really happy for her.”
The BAAA award banquet should have actually been held in December, but it was postponed until Sunday. As a result of the delay, none of the collegiate or professional athletes were in town. As a matter of fact, only nine athletes were in attendance, including eight males and one female.
While the BAAA called name after name to present awards to members of the various national teams, including the Carifta Games, the Junior Pan American Championships, NACAC Cross Country Championships, the IAAF World Youth Championships, the Senior Central American and Caribbean Championships and the IAAF World Championships, four of the athletes were present for their selection to the various categories.
• Stephen ‘Dirty’ Newbold, the Basil Neymour Junior Male Athlete of the Year
“I felt pretty good. I felt everybody got the awards they were supposed to,” said Newbold, a 19-year-old student at the College of the Bahamas. “I’m training hard, keeping strong and going to school. I’m looking forward to competing again this year.”
Quartermiler Newbold’s stats for the year included: Carifta Under-20 400m bronze; 4x400 relay bronze; Jr national 200m record - 20.76; Jr. national 400m record - 45.95 and IAAF Jr outdoor performance ranking of 12th in the 400m and 21st in the 200m
• LaQuan Nairn, the Keith Parker Junior Male Athlete of the Year and the Errol Bodie Junior Male Athlete of the Year
“I’m very thankful for the awards. I want to thank my coach Mr James Rolle and my parents and all of the people who believed in me. I really appreciated it,” said Nairn, a 17-year-old who is recuperating from an injury to his left leg. “My goal for this year is to break every record that I can and go to World Juniors and come back with a medal.”
High and long jump specialist Nairn’s stats for the year, included: Carifta Games Under-20 long jump gold and thigh jump silver medals; IAAF World Youth Championships 5th in high jump and 13th in long jump and IAAF World outdoor performance ranking of 5th in high jump and 16th in long jump.
• Brashae Wood, the Ronald Cartwright Junior Female Field Athlete of the Year
“I am really thankful because I know all of the hard work has finally paid off,” said Wood, a 12th grader at St Augustine’s College who turns 17 on February 11. “I was surprised because I didn’t know that I was nominated, so it was good to get the ward.”
Throwing sensation Wood’s stats for the year, included: Carifta Games under-17 girls shot put bronze and discus 5th place as well as IAAF World Youth Championship javelin 47th placing.
• Branson Rolle, the under-15 Youth Male Athlete of the Year
“It felt great just to get the award today,” said Rolle, a 14-year-old ninth grader at Queen’s College. “Last year, I felt extremely proud of my accomplishments because I went to Youth CAC and did a personal best in the hurdles for fifth overall and in the nationals, I did another personal best and the most outstanding athlete.”
Versatile Rolle’s stats for the year included: CAC Age Group Championship heptathlon 5th place and 80m hurdles bronze medallist; BAISS gold in the long jump, 80m hurdles and javelin and bronze in the high jump as well as national high school championship gold in the 80m hurdles and high jump, along with silver in the javelin and 4th in the long jump.
Other category winners, who were not present were:
• Doniesha Anerson, the Angela Rolle Under-15 Youth Female Athlete of the Year
• Andre Colebrooke, the Sir Durward Knowles Family Island Athlete of the Year
• Andre Colebrooke, the Cross Country Male Athlete Year
Je Hield, the Cross Country Female Athlete of the Year
• Tamara Myers, the Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year
• Jeffery Gibson, the Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year
• Raymond Higgs, the Collegiate Male Field Athlete of the Year
• Jeffery Gibson, the Harrison Petty Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year
• Anthonique Strachan, the Frank Rahming Senior Female Athlete of the Year
• Jeffery Gibson, the Thomas A Robinson Senior Male Athlete of the Year
Stephen Newbold, giving the athletes’ response, said he only wished that more of the athletes were present so that they could have bonded closer together.
Additionally, the BAAA named James Rolle, the Henry Crawford Coach of the Year. LaQuan Nairn accepted on his behalf. And the Roderick Simms Official of the Year went to Vanessa Wilson-Thompson, which was collected by Bahamas Association of Certified Officials (BACO) president Ralf McKinney.
The awards banquet was held under the patronage of Beverly Wallace-Whitfleld, who was surprised by a video presentation by her grandson.