June 14, 2011
Track fans, we sometimes forget so easily, that we thought we should remind you of some of the great performances of the 2010 BTC National 'Open' Track and Field Championships.
In most fans' memory, the most exciting race was the men's 400 meters (m). There was a young upstart Demetrius Pinder, from Texas A&M, who had run well on the collegiate circuit. The Grand Bahamian had dipped under 45 seconds earlier in the year and it seemed as if Chris Brown's reign on this event was over.
When the dust had settled, Brown managed only third in the race, being beaten by Pinder and by 2008 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Champion Andretti Bain. Pinder clocked 45.21 seconds, while Bain clocked 45.44 seconds. Brown was only able to manage 45.78 seconds, just ahead of Nathaniel McKinney, who clocked 45.82 seconds. Michael Mathieu clocked 45.91 seconds for fifth.
Pinder is the only Bahamian this year who went under the 45-seconds barrier. His 44.87 Personal Best (PB) puts him among the best in the world. Brown sits in second place locally. Ramon Miller sits in third place locally, and Mathieu is fourth.
The question still is, who will win the showdown at the BTC Jr. & Sr. National Track and Field Championships in Grand Bahama. We have not even spoken of Grand Bahamian Andrae Williams who upset Brown at the National 'Open' Track and Field Championships in 2005 when the event was last held in Grand Bahama.
We have not spoken about LaToy Williams, who followed Andrae to Texas Tech University, and ran the top time in the world in April of 2009, when few Bahamian fans had even heard of him.
In the absence of Bahamian national record holder Derrick Atkins, the World 2007 100m silver medalist, Adrian Griffith won the 100m in 10.23 seconds. The year before Griffith made the second round of the 100m at the Berlin World Championships, when Atkins had no such luck.
Will Clemson sprinter Warren Fraser be able to take it all, as he did at the 2009 CARIFTA Track and Field Championships in St. Lucia... or will it be Rodney Greene or Jamial Rolle, who captured the 200m last year?
Men's 400m Hurdles
In the Men's 400m hurdles last year, Nejmi Burnside defeated Nathan Arnett, 52.44 seconds to 53.04 seconds. Arnett was on a comeback trail after running fourth at the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Junior Championships with a new Bahamian National Junior record in 2008.
He had been injured the following year. This year Arnett is back to his old form, winning the National Jr. College 400m hurdles Championships in a personal best time. Can Burnside get back to his old winning ways and challenge Arnett?
Men's High Jump
Former World Champion Donald Thomas won the High Jump last year with a 2.30m performance. Trevor Barry finished in second with a 2.14m performance. Thomas and Barry also finished first and second at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. They duplicated that feat at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
Then there are Raymond Wilson and Ryan Ingraham. Thomas has a PB of 2.35m and Barry has a best of 2.29m.
Men's Long Jump
Rudon Bastian won the Long Jump with a PB of 7.98m. Nyles Stuart finished second with a best jump of 7.71m. This year Grand Bahama's Raymond Higgs has one of the best performances in the world with a 8.15m jump, the fourth best by any Bahamian.
Men's Triple Jump
Leevan Sands won the Triple Jump last year with a 16.78m performance. In that same event, young twin Lathone Collie-Minns jumped a PB of 15.78m. His twin brother Latario Collie-Minns has a personal best performance of 16.55m, the best performance in the world for a Youth athlete this year. Lathone is tied with the second best jump for a Youth athlete this year, with a jump of 15.73m. J'Vente Deveaux jumped 15.64m in last year's event.
Last year, we anticipated seeing Samyr Laine of the Republic of Haiti who had several great jumps early in the season. Sands has had a good season and recently finished in third place in the New York Diamond League Meet behind Phillips Idowu of Great Britain and Christian Olson of Sweden, two former World Champions. Laine still feels he can upset Sands on Bahamian soil.
The veteran Chandra Sturrup continued her dominance of the 100m, clocking 11.15 seconds last year. Tynia Gaither, who had been running well in Florida, ran 12.05 seconds for fourth.
Sturrup has taken a leave from track and field this year, but the action should be between Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Nivea Smith, Anthonique Strachan, and Gaither, who just finished third in a special race for high school students at the New York Diamond League Meet.
Last year Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie did not compete in the Nationals and Nivea Smith ran a personal best time in the 200m to win. Christine Amertil finished second in 23.00 seconds flat with Anthonique Strachan third in 24.14 seconds. Tynia Gaither finished fourth in 24.29 seconds.
Ferguson-McKenzie, the 2001 World Champion, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, and 2009 World Championship bronze medalist, has had a good season. Smith ran a season's best time of 22.80 seconds in the recent NCAA Championships.
Sheniqua Ferguson, who won gold and silver in the 2008 World Junior Championships, did not advance to the NCAA final but she could be ready to run in Grand Bahama. This could be the best race of the meet.
Shaunae Miller won this event last year, on the way to a gold medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Miller ran 53.13 seconds to defeat Sasha Rolle, who clocked 54.05 seconds, and Yanique Clarke, who ran 56.76 seconds.
Women's 100m Hurdles
Ivanique Kemp set a new National record in the 100m hurdles at the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Championships. She ran 13.20 seconds at those championships and repeated that performance at the NCAA Championships, finishing in 10th place overall.
She ran 14.13 seconds last year to win. This is one of the most significant improvements.
Women's 400m Hurdles
In 2010, new 400m hurdle National record holder Michelle Cumberbatch, from Grand Bahama, won in 1:00.33. This year Katrina Seymour won the 400m hurdles at CARIFTA, and set a new National Junior record at the BAAA National High School Track and Field Championships.
Women's Long Jump
In the Long Jump, Bianca Stuart won with a leap of 6.53m. She has finished her college eligibility and is training with Henry Rolle at Auburn University. Stuart has had several outstanding performances this season, including a 6.64m PB at the Jamaica Invitational and a wind-aided 6.91m performance at a meet in Florida recently.
Stuart is aiming for a World Championships qualifying standard and Grand Bahama might be just the place.
The BTC Jr. & Sr. National Track and Field Championships in Grand Bahama on June 24 and 25 should be the excitement you have been waiting for. Make your arrangements to be in Grand Bahama as the 'Countdown to the Showdown' continues.
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