By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
A PAIR of University of the Bahamas Mingoes track and field team-mates took their share of the spotlight, while there were a couple of new faces that emerged to the forefront during the inaugural Government High Cross Country Championships.
The early morning riser on Saturday saw almost 1,000 athletes from the primary to high school and elite level of competition compete on the flat course at Government High.
When the final tally was done, just like they did in track and field competition on the track, the CH Reeves Raptors clinched the junior division and the CR Walker Knights out-shined their rivals in the senior schools.
Lhevinne Joseph, the Mingoes’ top middle distance runner, said he came out to have some fun and to be competitive as he pulled off the victory in the open men’s race in seconds to remain undefeated at home.
“We usually don’t cross country as much here and we don’t have that many distance runners in my opinion, but to see so many people come out and compete in this meet is actually a good thing,” he said.
Joseph was the winner of the UB Cross Country a week ago after he participated as a member of the Mingoes Track Team at two international meets in St Thomas and in Dayton Beach, Florida.
“I feel alright now. I am a 400 and 800 metre runner, so I would consider this as conditioning for the rest of the season, so I’m in a good place,” said the 21-year-old.
Quinton Ellis, a 19-year-old graduate of Doris Johnson, gave Joseph a run for his money in their combined race. He said he felt very good about his performance, winning the under-20 division in 12:09.
Raywind Winder of Hurry Murray was second in 13:02 and Johnathan Turner got third in 13:05. Nathan Jones of Hurry Murray got fourth (13:45) and Jyonn Joseph of Doris Johnson got fifth (13:50).
“It was good. I just have to continue fighting and train every day so I can do my best,” Ellis said. “I’m not worried about the competition. I let my performance speak for itself.”
In preparation for heading off to college hopefully in January, Ellis said he would also like to be able to represent the Bahamas on the various national teams next year.
Lakeica Lewis, an 18-year-old graduate from CV Bethel now in her freshman year at the University of the Bahamas, said she enjoyed winning her second consecutive cross country this year.
She held off Melvinique Gibson of RM Bailey in the sprint to the finish line. CR Walker’s trio of Destiny McPhee, Garanas Moss and Ivanieca Charlton followed ahead of Chelsea Sweeting of CV Bethel.
“This one felt good. I tried to keep the pace as much as I could because the crowd was much larger than the last one at UB,” said Lewis, who won that as well. I had to run my race and now run anyone’s race.”
Lewis, who stands at 6-feet, one-inch, said her goal next year is to represent the Bahamas in the 400 and 800m in as many international events as she can.
Yulianis Akompi, a ninth grader at St Augustine’s College and a member of Quick Step Athletics, said after placing second at the UB cross country, she went out to do her best in the GHS event, winning the girls under-15 division in 6:46.
She out sprinted the rest of the field that saw the Hurry Murray duo of Ramonique McLennon (6:56) and Breynice Kemp (7:05), while Alexis Roberts of Team Roberts Athletics was a close fourth in 7:06. Breyyeisha Kemp of Hurry Murray was fifrth (7:15).
“I had a different plan and it turned out pretty good,” she said. “I am doing a lot of training, running a lot of long distance races so it can help me when I get on the track to compete.”
Her aim is to qualify for the CARIFTA Games in the 400/800 and 400m hurdles.
Zion Miller, a 15-year-old 10th grader at Queen’s College, took advantage of his first cross country event this year.
“I was doubting myself at first, but I came here, stayed focused and I executed my plan and I came out on top,” he said. “There was a lot of competition, but as a 200/400m runner, I had to suck it in and run for it.”
As a former student at Sadie Curtis Primary School, Miller said he was accustomed to running distance races, so that background enabled him to compete in the cross country.
However, he said he wants to compete at CARIFTA, NACAC, Pan Am and any other international event as he focuses on the 400m where he intends to lower his personal best time from 49 seconds to at least 47.
Melvinique Gibson of RM Bailey took the under- 20 girls’ title in 13:38, well ahead of CR Walker’s trio of Destiny McPhee second (16:33), Garanae Moss third (16:34) and Ivaniece Charlton fourth (16:39). Chelsea Sweeting of CV Bethel rounded out the top five in 16:58.
Jasmine Mackey got a victory for 3P Stallions in the girls’ under-17 division in 11:48. A’Karee Roberts of CR Walker was second in 12:08 and Taylor Adderley of Quick Step Athletics was third in 12.23. Dahjia Mesidor of CR Walker was fourth (8:14) and Tellica Seymour of the Road Runners was fifth (10:10).
Lashley Naissance of CR Walker captured the under- 17 boys’ title in 9:44.
Jayden Walkine of CV Bethel was second in 9:48 and third went to Brandon Brave of Government High in 9:57. Kaelano Kelly of Hurry Murray was fourth (9:57) and Dylan Simon of Quick Step Athletics was fifth (9:58).
Gabriel Johnson of Hurry Murray won the under-15 boys’ division with his team-mate Tieano Ferguson trailing in second. Joshua Cireus of DW Davis was third and CH Reeves’ Stanley Pratt and Jaime Perez were fourth and fifth, all timed in 6:06.
Aiden Musgrove of Bahamas Speed Dynamics was the winner of the boys’ under-13 category in 6:23. Arjaty Roberts of Team Roberts Athletics was second in 6:30 and Tavares Rolle of HO Nash Junior High was third in 6:46. Ayden Russell of Unique Athletics was fourth (6:54) and Jamal Ferguson of CH Reeves got fifth (7:01).
Shakinah Lewis of AF Adderley took the girls’ under-13 title in 8:00. She was followed by A’Niyah Burrows of Hurry Murray in 8:13 and Gabrielle McLean of the Road Runners Track Club was third in 8:37. Azaria Dean of HO Nash was fourth (8:49) and Heziah Roberts of LW Young fifth (8:53).
In the boys’ under-11 category, Paterci Sherman of Claridge Primary was the winner in 3:16. Ronald Simon of the Road Runners got second in 3:18 and Ramonick McLennon of Hurry Murray was third in 3:19. Jwyden Jones of Unique Athletics got fourth (3:49) and Kelson Grant of Hurry Murray was fifth (3:53).
Daniel Murray of Hurry Murray was the winner of the boys under-9 division in 3:46. Ricardo Belle of the Road Runners got second in 3:51 and Lia Bethel of Unique Athletics came in third in 3.54. Hurry Murray’s Caiden Bain and Ksasyden Dean were fourth and fifth respectively in 4:21.
Mikhala Strachan, also of Hurry Hurray, won the under-9 girls’ race in 3:55. Christoria Moss of the Road Runners was second in 4:12 and Tanaz Davis of Unique Athletics was third in 4:28. 3P Stallions’ Queen Severe was fourth in 4:55 and Rainiesha Joseph was fifth in 5:11.
Tavia Rolle, the principal at Government High, said while this was the first cross country they hosted, they could not have done it without the support of the primary and high school coaches.
“We had a lot of children here today, nearly 1,000, who participated in the meet,” she said.
“Everybody wins because they got to participate, they are learning how to run cross country and they say they are in a better position to compete in events like this in the future.”
Rolle also commended her team st GHS, including Bernice Penn, the head of Physical Education.