By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ National Track and Field Championships fast approaching, some of the elite athletes were in action over the weekend at the Star Athletics Sprint Series at the Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida.
Tynia Gaither, competing for the Elite Performance Track Club, posted the fastest time of 11.04 seconds in the first of four timed final heats to snatch the overall victory ahead of Caitland Smith, competing unattached, who was second in 11.08.
Gaither also posted the fastest qualifying time of 11.27 to win the first of five heats in the preliminary rounds. Her nearest rival was Dezerea Smith of Star Athletics in 11.28.
It was Gaither’s first appearance in an individual event outdoors for the year. She hasn’t competed since she did the Texas A&M Aggie Twilight at the Texas A&M - Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas, on February 16 where she won the 60m in 7.66 and was second in the 200m in 23.33.
Also over the weekend in Montverde, Teray Smith clocked 21.01 to win the second of 14 timed final heats in the men’s 200m. The Puma representative was placed seventh overall. The fastest time was done by Isiah Young of the Star Athletics in 20.29 in the first timed final.
It was Smith’s second meet for the year, coming off his seventh place finish in the men’s 400m in 48.10 at the Pure Athletics/NTC Sprint Invitational at the NTC Training Center in Clermont, Florida.
Two quarter-milers also went head-toi-head in the men’s 400m in Montverde with Alonzo Russell getting the better of the deal over Ramon Miller in the second of six timed finals.
Russell, competing Adidas, got second in the race in 45.49, while Miller, running unattached, was fourth in 46.69. Grenada’s Bralin Taplin, representing the Elite Performance Track Club, won the heart in 45.33.
Russell ended up with the second fastest time behind Taplin, while Miller was pegged at No.8.
This was Miller’s season opener, but it was Russell’s second showing for the year, having competed in the first Star Athletics Sprint Series at the Montverde Academy on June 8 where he placed second in his heat in 46.24 behind American Tony McQuay of Pure Athletics, who won the timed trial heat in 45.91.
Stephen ‘Dirty’ Newbold also got in some competition in Montverde over the weekend, running in the third heat of the 400m. Running unattached, Newbold did 47.70 for fifth place. Graeme Thompson Speed River Track and Field Club won the heat in 45.94.
Charles Okeze, unattached, won the heat in 21.00.
The event also saw Michael Mattieu compete in the seventh heat, placing third in 21.64. Ricardo Feliciano of Puerto Rico took the tape in 21.00.
It was Mathieu’s third 200m for the year. He was coming off his season’s best of his winning time of 20.99 on June 29 at the JAC Invitational at the Jacksonville Athletic Club in Jacksonville, Florida.
Mathieu has also done a a season’s best of 47.75 for sixth place at the Pure Athletics/NTC Spring Invitational at the NTC Training Center in Clermont on April 20.
Prior to the meet in Florida, Anthonique Strachan contested the women’s 200m at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday where she was third in her season’s best of 22.81.
The race was won by American Gabrielle Thomas in 22.69. Jodie Williams of Great Britain picked up second place in 22.75.
The athletes are all gearing up for the BAAA’s National Championships, now scheduled for July 26-28 at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Grand Bahama.
The nationals will serve as the final trials for athletes wishing to qualify to compete in the IAAF World Championships, scheduled for September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.