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Big Red Machine Earn Trip To Penn Relays

IN addition to repeating as the overall champions of the National High School Track and Field Championships, the St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine booked three of the four spots for the relay teams that were awarded full rides to the prestigious Penn Relays.

The incentives were offered by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture from the performances produced during the three-day meet that took place last week at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

The Big Red Machine earned the rights for both their under-20 girls 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relay teams, as well as their under-20 boys 4 x 100m team. They will be joined by Bishop Michael Eldon from Grand Bahama.

In the under-20 girls’ 4 x 100m relay, SAC’s team of Aliyah Carter and Doniesha Anderson won the race in 47.84 seconds ahead of St John’s College’s team of Shania Darrell, Jameka Chisolm, Lauryn Carter and Wendira Moss, who finished second in 48.76.

Queen’s College’s team of Onnieka Rolle, Tyler Lightbourn, Tyra McKenzie and Craiesha Johnson was third in 49.36.

St Augustine’s College’s team of Adderley, Marissa White, Carter and Doniesha won the under-20 girls 4 x 400m relay in 3:56.80 to secure their next berth, holding off Queens College’s team of DeAvae Adderley, Johnson, Mitchell and Danielle Dean, who was second in 4:17.29.

CI Gibson Sr got third in 4:21.38 with the team of Rochelle Tibby, Brittany Bastian, Latavia Braynen and Jalexia Philistine.

The Big Red Machine’s under-20 boys 4x100m team of Andreas Seymour, Joel Johnson, Oscar Smith and Adrian Curry made sure that they joined their female counterparts by winning in 41.96. They beat out Tabernacle Baptist Academy’s team of Nasterio Williams, Corey Sherrod, Ethnie Stubbs and Shaquiel Higgs, who ran 42.07 for second.

Queen’s College’s team of Kristin Major, Lavardo Handfield, Sean Rolle and Max Azor was third in 42.40.

The boys under-20 4x400m team from Bishop Michael Eldon won in 3:20.21 for their berth. Their team comprised of William Forbes, Emmit Higgins Jr, Braham Najman and Ty Dawkins. Tabernacle Baptist Academy fell short as their team of Nasterio Williams, Devonte Smith, Shaquiel Higgs and Corey Sherrod ran 3:21.68 for second.

Doris Johnson’s team of James Augustin, Edward Munroe, Shanton Swain and Venord Burrows was third in 3:21.85.

The Penn Relays will take place from April 26-28 at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s considered the third most attended track and field event in the world behind the Olympic Games and the IAAF World Championships.

During the Nationals, which served as a qualifier for the Carifta Games, at least seven athletes attained the standard and 12 records broken as the Big Red Machine carted off the title over Queen’s College and the Falcons from Tabernacle Baptist Academy.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Michael Pintard, who along with several of his collegiate were on hand to present the medals and trophies to the various winners, said it was an incredible display of talent by the athletes.

“It was wonderful to seer students coming from the Family Islands and as you can see, there are a number of teams from the Family Islands that were dominate in a number of categories,” he said.

“What that underscores is that the talent that we have is national in scope and it makes a compelling case as to why it’s important for us to have facilities available because despite the fact that some of these students have been disadvantaged by the facilities they have, inclusive of Grand Bahama, they have prepared well, which is a testimony to their perseverance and the preparation by their coaches.”

Pintard said they will now have to work on fine toning the skills of the coaches and the officials so that they are prepared nationally to get the athletes for the global competition they will be facing, including the upcoming Carifta Games, scheduled for April 1-3.

”This is wonderful in terms of what I’ve seen over the last few days and I’m looking forward to the Carifta Games,” Pintard said. “I think we had a wonderful meet and the Carifta Games promises to be even more spectacular.”

Rupert Gardiner, the meet director for the Nationals, said it was an outstanding event.

”We had a record breaking participation of 67 teams and over 1,600 athletes and so it can only get better and better,” he stated. “The meet was designed to follow the way the NCAA meet and that was why it was so successful.

”We had a very good team of organizers who came together like Margaret Wilson, Kim Hanna, Shekietha Dames, the PS, the Director of Youth, the NSA, BACO, the Tex team, everybody came together and made it successful.”

The focus now switches to the final Carifta trials that will be hosted by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations this weekend at the stadium. It comes two weeks before the Carifta Games return to the Bahamas for the eighth time over the Easter holiday weekend.

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