ALL of the sacrifices and hard work paid off for Eagan Neely as he was crowned the Red-Line Athletics Club’s 20022 Athlete of the Year.
The honour was bestowed upon the 14-year-old sprinter during the club’s Christmas party and awards ceremony that was held at the National Training Agency on Sunday.
After receiving the biggest trophy presented during the ceremony, Neely said it was something that he envisioned after running a lifetime best of 22.94 seconds in the 200 metres and 52.17 in the 400m.
“I worked hard and practiced as much as possible,” said the 13-year-old eighth grader at St Augustine’s College. “I just wanted to put God first because he’s everything to me.
“I appreciate what the coaches saw in me because my mother always pushed me and she encouraged me to rely on God. She always told me to run for time and not to worry about anybody else. My season was very successful. I had a very good season and I hope to do it again next year and hopefully I can make the CARIFTA team.”
Neely, the youngest recipient of the award, follows in the footsteps of previous winners Megan Moss, Shimar Bain and Lacarthea Cooper. He thanked coaches Tito Moss and Michael Armbrister, the rest of the coaching staff and his mother Tanya Gray for pushing him.
The coaches’ award went to Morgan Moss, a 16-year-old grade 11 student at SAC. “I feel good. I didn’t expect it. But I’m glad that I won it because I worked hard this season,” Moss said. “I had a good season, although I missed CARIFTA. I just hope that I can do it again and this time make the CARIFTA team, especially since it’s going to be at home.”
Winning the Michael Armbrister Leadership Award was 400m/400m hurdler Shimar Bain, who has his bags packed and ready to head out to Tiffin University in Ohio on January 4 where he wants to leave his mark as a record holder and a NCAA Division II champion in both the 400 and 400m hurdles where he has ran personal best times of 48.34 and 52.83 respectively.
“Receiving this award means a lot to me,” said Bain, a 2022 graduate of SAC. “It shows to me that I’ve done my part as a senior member of the club, making the younger athletes look up to me as they show them the path to go.
“I’m glad that coach Armbrister saw the leadership that I displayed and he saw it fit to name me as the recipient.”
The female scholar of the year was Jade Hudson and the male scholar was Tyler Frazier, both 14-year-old ninth graders at SAC.
“I’m excited, but I know I couldn’t do it without the help of my mommy and God,” said Hudson, who posted an accumulative grade point average of 3.98. “I just need to trust God and do my best. Hopefully next year, I can lower my times and keep my grades up.”
For Frazer, who produced an accumulative GPA of 3.69 and has ran PRs of 11.7 in the 100m and 23.8 in the 200m, his efforts was inspired by his parents, who stuck with him through the whole experience.
“They reminded me to do my work and just stay with the course. I couldn’t do it without them and with God’s help,” Frazier said.
“It was really hard, but after practice, I go right home and get my homework done and just study.”
Jazmyn Demeritte was named as the female newcomer of the year, while the most improved athlete was Sean Marshall.
The female collegiate was Megan Moss and the male collegiate was Showalter Johnson.
National Team Awards - Shimar Bain, Quinton Rolle, Tumani Skinner, Nya Wright, Adrian Curry and Megan Moss.
Athletes honoured for being named to the Bahamas national teams were Shimar Bain, Quinton Rolle, Tumani Skinner, Nya Wright, Adrian Curry and Megan Moss.
Outstanding athletes awards for the various categories included – Under-7 girl - Jazmyn Demeritte; under-9 girl - Jayda Butler and Kailee Knowles as honorable mention; Under-11 boy - Jaden Allen; under-13 girl - Deveigh Farrington and Demetria Major as honorable mention; under-15 girl - Madison Moss and Azarria Marshall as honorable mention; under-15 boy - Eagan Neely and Quincy Rolle as honorable mention; under-17 girl - Nya Wright and Kennedi Knowles as honorable mention; under-17 boy - Quinton Rolle and Tumani Skinner as honorable mention; under-20 girl - Ezthia Maycock and Shanai Sweeting as honorable mention and under-20 boy - Shimar Bain and Jaydin Plakaris as honorable mention.
Male Newcomer of the Year- Quinton Rolle
Athletes earning the scholar awards were Ezthia Maycock, Jade Hudson, Kennedi Knowles, Kaelen Knowles, Jonathan Fowler, Jayden Allen, Jazmyn Demeritte, Kennedy Hanna, Tyler Frazier, Jayda Butler, Kemora Gibson, Bayli Major, Nya Wright, Daveigh Farrington, D Angelo Collie, Xandria Williams, Kevan Saunders, Eagen Neely, Kailee Knowles, Armani Blanc and Jaden Clarke.
Moss also awarded his coaching staff that inluded Earl Rahming, Kryshell Rolle, Kyle Higgs, Michael Armbrister and Rachante Colebrooke, while his wife, Nekeva Moss, Mark Knowles, Shanique Russell and Thalise Maycock were honoured as the support staff.
And acknowledged for their contributions and support in receiving the parents awards were Desra Price, John Clarke, Anastacia Johnsoin, Jacquel Demeritte and Melissa Major.
Tito Moss, the head coach of Red-Line Athletics, said the awards presented was just an indication of the hard work turned in by their athletes during the course of the season on and off the track.
“Last year we had an awesome season. We had a number of athletes like Shimar Bain, Nya Wright, Tumani Skinner, Quinton Rolle, Megan Moss and Adrian Curry all making the national teams,” Moss said. “Red-Line is the club of choice and we want to continue to build on what we started. This is going into our fifth year and we just want to continue to grow and have an even more successful 2022/2023 season like we did in the 2021-2022 season.”
With the club grown by an additional 25 members, Moss said they want to continue to mold and groom them as they become acclimated with the old members.
As a new member of the executive team of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations, serving as the vice president for technical operations, Moss said he has his work cut out for him, but he believes that the club is in good hands.
Armbrister, who will be relied upon to pick up some of the slack left behind by Moss, said they have a solid coaching staff that will be able to weather any storm and to get the best out of the athletes.
“We see the chemistry growing over the years and we hope that it will continue,” Armbrister said.
“We know that coach Moss is a hard worker and although he’s now on the BAAA executive, he will continue to lead this club.”
Clinton Laguerre, speaking on behalf of the class of 2023, stressed that while they have not yet “purchased a gift for him,” they “trust in coach Moss” to get the best out of them as they “trust the process.”
After getting their season started on Saturday at the BAAA Odd Distance Track Meet, Moss said his Red-Line Athletics Club is looking forward to the 2023 season with the first of their two meets to be staged on January 28.