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Wherever the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) national meet is staged, thrills and excitement can be expected in abundance.
According to a BAAA source, the event is to be held in New Providence at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, which, is to be refurbished in time for the June 22-23 weekend. The funds to do the 'quick' job will soar into the neighborhood of $50,000. There is still though, the option of Grand Bahama. Certainly, the new Minister of Grand Bahama, Dr. Michael Darville, would like very much to have such an event organized for that island. The flagging economy in Grand Bahama could surely use the boost.
Whatever the case though, the 2012 nationals will likely provide sensational performances like never seen before. A delightful development is the return to form of Derrick Atkins. The former World Championships silver medalist has lowered his time in the 100 meters this season from 10.24 to 10.09. On Saturday past, he recorded the 10.09 clocking while winning his specialty at the Star Athletics Meet in Florida.
A week earlier, Warren Fraser ran 10.18 at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Outdoor Championships. Fraser joined an elite group when he hit the 10.18 mark. Rudy Levarity, Renward Wells and Andrew Tynes were the joint national record holders before Atkins ran 10.08 to eclipse the mark. Now, Fraser is among the five Bahamian athletes who have done 10.18 (with Atkins being the only one to run better).
Atkins' national mark is 9.91. Fraser has emerged as the first to (potentially) challenge Atkins for national supremacy. It will be exciting to see them line up for the final in the 100 meters at the nationals. Atkins has to be favored, but if he falters for the slightest moment, he could very well be upstaged. Then, there is the annual rivalry in the 400 meters. Four athletes could win the race, inclusive of veteran Chris Brown, defending National Champion Demetrius Pinder, Ramon Miller and Michael Mathieu.
Over on the women's side, there is a chance that for the first time in a very long time, none of the Original Golden Girls will end up champions in the short sprints. If national record holder (10.84) Chandra Sturrup competes, Anthonique Strachan or Sheniqua Ferguson could win the 100 meters. The other Original Golden Girl Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie could lose as well.
Ferguson-McKenzie's best race is the 200 meters. One of the young guns could reign supreme in that event. On the field, former World Champion (2007) Donald Thomas and Trevor Barry will clash in the high jump. Barry has burst out of Thomas' shadow in a big way and will be favored by many. The excitement will no doubt spill over into other events, but the aforementioned will certainly provide the bulk of the thrills and excitement.
Wherever the BAAA nationals are held, that will be the place to be June 22-23.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The sport of track and field (athletics) in this country deserves to be highlighted regularly.
Athletics received the baton from international sailing decades ago and has been a magnificent pacesetter ever since. Often though, and rightly so, the general public makes a profound connection only with the athletes. This is the case because indeed, the athletes are the faces of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
However, there is an entity that has for more than 20 years now, been the very foundation for the strides made by the BAAA. The officers operate in a humble fashion, neither seeking nor even wanting public recognition. Their collective role is to be that base organization that drives a successful program.
I refer to the Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes (PATFA). This splendid group has been around since 1999 and is largely (and in many instances) single-handedly responsible for the success structure within the BAAA. The original Steering Committee included: President Harrison Petty; Vice President Grafton Ifill Jr.; Vice President/Administrator Donna Nicholls; Secretary/Treasurer Joyanne Petty; Director Yvonne Lewis; Director Gonzalez Caine; Director Leevan Sands Sr. and Director Peter Pratt. Other founding members were Rupert Gardiner, Foster Dorsett and Barton Duncanson.
Presently, the Pettys and Pratt maintain their administrative responsibilities, joined by vice president Bernard Newbold and Director Mabelene Miller. The main objective back in 1999 and today is to "procure scholarships to junior colleges and interact on behalf of Bahamian student/athletes with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)."
The alumni of the PATFA numbers into the hundreds with World Championship performers, sprinter Derrick Atkins and high jumper Trevor Barry, as the prime examples of athletic/academic excellence. Other than that awesome role of empowering the talented and dedicated Bahamian students, the PATFA is also the financial bloodline of the BAAA.
The major events that generate funding, the connection with corporate sponsors, and in general, the branding of the BAAA, are duties handled by the PATFA. A case in point was the BAAA 60th Anniversary Ceremony held recently at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium and the signature supplement production. The PATFA led those initiatives, further proof that without this group of dedicated parents, grandparents and guardians, the BAAA would not be nearly as successful as it is today.
It is important as the country embarks on the mission to define the sports industry, that important elements like the PATFA are given full credit for ongoing contributions to nation building.
I salute Harrison Petty and his colleagues in the PATFA. The BAAA is challenged to continue working with and feeding off this group. There are three government ministries that would be minded to heavily support and partner with organizations such as the PATFA, as much as is possible. Those are the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
SPRINTER Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie produced a second place finish at the Rieti Meeting on Sunday as she brought the curtain down on her 2010 season.
In what she had indicated recently would be her final meet for the year, Ferguson-McKenzie ran 11.15 seconds to trail Jamaican Sherone Simpson (11.11) through the finish line.
American Mikele Barber got third in 11.21. Ferguson-McKenzie was the only Bahamian to compete at the meet.
THE Bahamas Basketball Federation is slated to continue its "Summer of Thunder" College Scrimmages tonight at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Ohio University is in town and is expected ...
Nine records fell on the opening day of competition at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships, with one going to a member of Team Bahamas.
Starting the medal rush off for The Bahamas in the second session, held at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Aquatics Centre, was Joanna Evans in the 13-14 girls 800 meters (m) freestyle. Her golden performance was timed in 9:11.82, a new CARIFTA record. The old mark, 9:18.65, was set in 2007 by Bahamian McKayla Lightbourn. Trinidad and Tobago's Syriah David was second and Sariyah Sherry of Barbados finished third. Tremaine Allen of The Bahamas was 10th overall.
Margaret Albury Higgs captured the country's second gold, stopping the clock at 2:56.69 in the 11-12 girls 200 meters (m) breaststroke. Janice Martin won the silver and Kavanagh Lambert won the bronze. Martin's time was 3:01.60 and Lambert finished in 3:04.28.
It wasn't over for Evans who jumped right back into the pool in the 200m breast. Coming off the gold medal swim, she said: "It is really good because we have the crowd behind us and it is just a good experience. I hope to do it (break the record) heading into the event and started making plans a couple of months ago. I trained and came up with it so I am pleased. It was (the 200 breast) too close and I was a little tired in between the two, but if I can change anything I would probably go out a bit harder."
Evans placed eighth in 3:03.13. Teammate Allen just missed out on a medal in the event. She placed fourth behind Marianne Amory who won in 2:53.56. The second fastest time was 2:55.04 turned in by Gabrielle Hopkins of Jamaica and Kimberley Willoughby was third in 2:55.10.
Host country, The Bahamas, closed with four gold, three silver and seven bronze for a total of 14 medals. At the end of the day the team had accumulated 160 points. Guadeloupe is out front with 182, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with 174 points, and Aruba has 145 points. Jamaica is in fifth with 128 points.
A total of 15 medals were won by Trinidad and Tobago - six gold, six silver and three bronze. Guadeloupe have five gold, four silver and one bronze for a total of 10.
The Bahamas came up empty-handed in the boy's 200 breaststroke, in the 11-12 division. George Den Dunnen will take that gold medal back to Aruba. He won the event in 2:50.28. The silver medal will head to the U.S. Virgin Islands and the bronze to French Guyana.
Aruba picked up another gold, this one was in the 200 breaststroke for boys 13-14. Mikel Schreuders won in 2:38.51 and Raiz Joe A Tjon finished in 2:36.13. Drew Bastian, of The Bahamas, touched the wall ahead of teammate Zach Moses for the bronze. Bastian's time was 2:38.51 and Moses finished in 2:39.17.
Dustin Tynes closed the 200 breast finals off with a bang for The Bahamas, winning a bronze medal. His time was 2:26.06. The gold went to Aruba's Jordy Groters and it is a new CARIFTA record. In fact, all three of the top swimmers dipped under the record which was set in 1998 by Bahamian Jeremy Knowles. Groters finished in 2:23.68, and the silver was captured by Ross Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago. He recorded a time of 2:25.49.
The Bahamas was not represented in the final of the 50 backstroke for girls 11-12 and tried to make up in the boys division of the event. Clement Bowe was the sole competitor in the final for The Bahamas. He was eighth overall. A silver was captured by Leslie Campbell in the girls 13-14 division. She touched the wall behind Sue-Gin Arends of Aruba, in 33.57 seconds. The winning time was 33.83 seconds. Brienne Renfurm swam 33.23 seconds for the bronze.
Keeping the gold rush going for The Bahamas was Dionisio Carey who won the 13-14 boys 50m backstroke in 28.55 seconds. Jabari Baptiste and Guillaume Bolivard were second and third respectively. Bria Deveaux added a bronze to the medal haul. She was right behind the new record holder Kimberlee John Williams and Kristin Julien who pulled off the sweep for Trinidad and Tobago. John Williams' time was 30.95 seconds and Julien finished in 31.20 seconds. Coming into the final with the fastest time in the boys 50 backstroke in the 15-17 division was T'Auren Moss.
He picked up the fourth gold for The Bahamas out-touching Timothy Wynter and Dylan Carter. Moss stopped the clock in 27.62 seconds, Wynter got the silver in 27.80 seconds and the bronze went to Carter in 27.85 seconds. Winning the 100m butterfly in the 11-12 boys and girls divisions were Arielle Downes and Jesse Washington. Simone Sturrup picked up a bronze for The Bahamas in the 13-14 division. She clocked 1:07.37 in the 100m butterfly. Tyla Martin was the winner in that division.
Zabrina Holder of Barbados won gold in the 15-17 girls 100m butterfly. John Williams picked up the silver in 1:05.91 and Taryn Smith of The Bahamas secured the bronze. Smith's time was 1:07.08.
Funeral Service for Ezra Eglon "Woopsy", "Pork Chop" Ferguson, age 24 years, of Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island, will be held on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 11:00 am.
Church: Holy Cross Anglican Church
Address: Highbury Park off Soldier Road
Officiating: Father John Kabiga
Interment: Woodlawn Gardens Cemetery, Soldier Road
He is survived by his parents: Carl and Bloneva Ferguson of Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island; brother: Nehemiah Ferguson; sisters: Teora and Quitel Ferguson; grandmother: Rosemary Moss of Major's Cay, Crooked Island; sister-in-law: Kendera Ferguson; brother-in-law: Kamal Thompson; uncles: Habakkuk and Joseph Ferguson, Vincent Moss of Miami, Florida, Cpl 2241 Cyril Anthony Moss, Nelson and Deacon Darrel Moss; aunts: Christine Sweeting, Thelma Miller, Bernice Culmer, Rachel Gradolph, Patricia Jones, Annamae Richardson, Rowena Ferguson, Priscilla Farquharson and Daphne Cunningham; uncles-in-law: Franklyn Culmer, Robert Gradolph, Louis Sweeting, Joseph Jones, Robert Farquharson, Gerald Cunningham and Leroy Richardson; aunts-in-law: Sherry Ferguson, Denise, Caron, Joy and Shaketress Moss; grandaunts and granduncles: Julia Mills, Leroy Ferguson, Inez and Montgomery Johnson, Calvin Ferguson, Preston and Ralph Ferguson of Florida; cousins: Rashetta, Raquel and Marvin Strachan, Rendi Culmer, Tasha and Charles Ferguson, Sheila and Albury Major, Steve and Jonathan Miller, Melissa, Crystal, Tameka, Ramon, Stacey and Joseph Jones, Carolyn and Mario Lewis, Christina, Keith, Cindy, Kenrick, Kirk, Stacy and James Sweeting, Chrisanta and Terrell Hanna, Jason, Rhonda, Rubyan and Rosie Ferguson, Yvette Bethel, Jasmine, Malone, Cassandra, Avardo, Cheryl, Stephen, Michelle and Earle Ferguson, Crescelle and Rashad Farquharson, Tameka Richards, Shantelle and Valdez Ferguson, Ethan, Amya, Anthoniece, Anthonique, Sonjay and Israel Moss, Patrick, Alton, Andrew, Novus, Vanessa and Katrina Ferguson, Martine Hanna, the family of the late Hosea and Emily Ferguson, Khishlyne and Khalyne Johnson, Elroy, Danielle, Preston Jr., Ralph Jr. and Krystle Ferguson, Damien, Lahai, Antone Miller and the family of the late Leah Nottage; other relatives and friends including: Peter and Cylestina Williams, Diama Ramos, Barbara Gibson and Robert Gibson, Jason Deleveaux, Dennis, Valentino and Cpl 1460 Jerone Thompson and family, Huden and Jennamae, Leroy and Borice Clarke, Timothy and Glenda Thompson and family, David Cunningham, Deangello Knowles, Evelyn Ferguson and family, Sean Spencer, Pastor Linkwood Ferguson and family, Deacon Kermit Farquharson and family, Alphege and Nelson Ferguson, Luellen Farquharson and family, Pastor Dorcas and Stephanie Thompson and family, Evelyn Ferguson and family, Thirza Williams and family, Mrs. Alleset Deleveaux, Cleveland and Elizabeth Ferguson, Viola Cunningham and family, Kenneth and Ruth Farquharson and family, Enrico N. Wright, Father John and Eloise Kabiga and family of All Saints Anglican Church, Church Grove, staff of Thompson Trading, Nassau and Sun Shine Cruises, Water Sports at Atlantis, Paradise Island, the Class of 2005 Crooked Island High School, the Honorable V. Alfred Gray, M.P., MICAL Constituency and the entire community of Crooked Island.
FRIENDS MAY PAY THEIR RESPECTS AT ROCK OF AGES NORTH SIDE CREMATION CENTER ON THURSDAY FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M. AND AT THE CHURCH ON FRIDAY FROM 10:00 A.M. UNTIL SERVICE TIME.
HAMILTON, Bermuda - Up until the under-20 girls' 800 meters (m) on Easter Sunday, The Bahamas had been completely wiped out in the distance events at these 41st CARIFTA Track and Field Championships here in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Teshon Adderley, a sophomore at Iowa Central Community College, salvaged some respect for the country in the distance events, Eleutheran Andre Colebrooke added substance in the under-20 boys' 800m, and Darren Young followed suit with a smooth smart run in the under-17 boys' 3,000m. They won silver, bronze and bronze respectively and The Bahamas increased its medal tally to 25 after two days of competition.
For Adderley, it was a personal best time, as she finished in 2:12.45. Jamaican Simoya Campbell won the gold, in 2:08.48, and Sonia Gaskin, from Barbados, won the bronze medal, in 2:14.54.
"I have to thank God first and foremost," said Adderley on Sunday night. "To have my best performance here at the CARIFTA Games for my country is a special feeling. I really wanted the gold, but I'll definitely settle for the silver. I decided to go strong from the 300. I fell a lil short today, but I'm very happy with the silver."
Adderley had finally broken the distance jinx for The Bahamas, and Queen's College standout Darren Young validated her performance with a strong run in the under-17 boys' 3,000 meters (m).
Young kept pace with the lead pack up until the halfway point of the race, fell apart from the top two, but was firmly in bronze medal position for the final two laps. Pius Emilien challenged him a bit on the final lap, but Young wasn't going to be denied a medal in his last year of eligibility in the under-17 division. He finished in 9:54.94 for the bronze medal. Webston Pennant, from Jamaica, won the gold medal, in 9:23.13, and Kenneth Benjamin, from Antigua and Barbuda, settled for the silver, in 9:28.76. Emilien was fourth, in 9:56.11, and Bahamian Cimeleo Darling, competing in his first CARIFTA Games, rounded out the top five, in 10:02.23.
"I tried to stay with them as much as I [could], but they got away from me on those last two laps," said Young on Sunday. "I just wanted to give it all I had on that last stretch to get a medal for The Bahamas," he added.
In the under-20 boys' 800m, Colebrooke used a strong second lap to snag the bronze medal away from John Haynes of Barbados. Colebrooke finished in 1:56.66. Mark London of Trinidad and Tobago won just their third gold medal of this meet, finishing in 1:55.65, and Shaquille Dill, from Bermuda, gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about as he won the silver medal, in 1:55.91. Haynes was fourth, in 1:58.84.
No other distance event produced a top three finish for The Bahamas. In the under-17 girls' division, Dreshanae Rolle finished seventh, in 2:25.93, and in that same race, Eyeiessia Darville was 10th, in 2:32.32. No Bahamian competed in the under-17 boys' race.
The College of The Bahamas' (COB) track and field team will compete in its third intercollegiate competition this spring when a 12-member team heads to Florida to compete in the Bethune Cookman University Invitational on April 13 and 14. The team will be led by junior standout discus and shot put thrower Julianna Duncanson and freshman sprinter Giovanni Culmer. Other members of the team are:
Kendera Bethel - discus and shot put
Ashley Oembler - discus and shot put
Roselyn Benjamin - discus and shot put
Yanique Clarke - 200m
Andrew Barr - 4x100m
Terran Roker - 400m, 4x100m and high jump
Traz Nixon - 100m and 4x100m
Roddeno Davis - 200m and 4x100m
Leonardo Romer - long jump and 4x100m
Fredrick Laing - discus and shot put
Giovanni Culmer - 100m, 200m and 4x100m
Julianna Duncanson - discuss and shot put
This will be the team's final intercollegiate meet as many of these athletes will turn their focus to the nationals in June and the NACAC Under-23 team that competes this summer in Mexico.
Last week Saturday, executives of the Atlantic Medical Fun Walk Committee rewarded CIBC FirstCaribbean for registering over 100 participants for the annual event. It seemed as if the message of healthy lifestyles, launched at the financial institution just over a month ago, quickly reached some of the bank's staff, as for the first time, 154 persons registered to participate in the walk. From senior executives, leaders, managers and staff, employees turned out in large numbers. Some completed the shorter three-mile fun walk while the more competitive ones, embarked on the grueling six-mile walk, that included walking over the Paradise Island Bridge twice. The CIBC FirstCaribbean team finished second just to BTC in terms of corporate participation. Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen, who proudly completed the six-mile course, congratulated the team for their participation. "We all came out and were recognized as a team, united and focused on accomplishing goals... no matter what that goal is," she said. "That is excellent." Staff members winning prizes included Terah Strachan, Lashon Sawyer, Brigitta Seymour and Desdemona Gibbs.
At just 13-years-old, Doneisha Anderson is one of the young stars in track and field in the country.
She made her breakthrough at last year's CARIFTA Games right here in The Bahamas, winning three bronze medals on home soil - the 400 meters (m), 4x100m and 4x400m. Once again, Anderson has qualified for the regional junior meet, and is looking forward to bigger and better things this Easter holiday weekend in Fort-de-France, Martinique. She will be one of 19 girls in the under-18 division, and one of 79 members in total, who will represent The Bahamas at this year's CARIFTA Games.
Anderson ran 56.36 seconds for the bronze medal in the open quarter at last year's CARIFTA, but this year, she has consistently been around the 55-second barrier. Just this past weekend, she ran a new personal best of 55.06 seconds in finishing second in the under-18 girls 400m at the CARIFTA Trials.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Anderson yesterday of her second stint on the CARIFTA team. "I've put in a lot of hard work since a year ago, so I'm eager to get out there and see how it goes. I'm really aiming to run 53 seconds. Hopefully I can go there (Martinique) and put in a good performance."
Anderson trains under the tutelage of Olympic gold medalist Tonique Williams as a member of the TWD Athletics Club. She was one of two members from the club to qualify for the CARIFTA games this year - the other being 16-year-old Amber Ford, who is also making her second consecutive appearance on the CARIFTA team.
"With Tonique, it's good to be training with her. She knows how I feel about my competition and my races, so it's good to be training under her. My goal is to make the Olympics one day. I just have to keep working hard, and hopefully, I'll get there," she added.
Anderson said that the 400m is her best event, but she also runs the shorter sprints, and is a pretty good high jumper as well. In the 400m, she was beaten to the tape by this past weekend by Shaquanier Dorsett who posted a personal best time of 54.79 seconds. In the 200m, Anderson was third in 24.46 seconds behind Brianne Bethel (24.08 seconds) and Jenae Ambrose (24.44 seconds).
The other member from TWD Athletics to qualify for CARIFTA this year, Ford, ran a personal best time of 2:16.89 to meet the mark in the under-18 girls 800m. She was second in that event behind Dorsett (2:16.12). For Ford, this is her fourth year training under the guidance from Williams at TWD Athletics.
"I felt great about qualifying. I trained hard all season to compete at CARIFTA, and I'm glad that I will have the opportunity to," she said. "Last year, I ran 2:17, so I knew I had to go faster this year. I just want to go to Martinique and run another personal best time, and hopefully win the gold. It's a great opportunity (training under Tonique). She is very nice, rowdy when she is ready but it's all for the better. She teaches us as best as she can, and I feel comfortable with her. I started doing track and field as a hobby from primary school. Then I joined Tonique's track club and my times got better and better. I could see the improvement."
Ford, an 11th grade student at St. John's College, will be on the CARIFTA team for the second straight year. She said that she feels good about her progression, and is looking to drop a few more seconds off her personal best time, at the CARIFTA Games, over the Easter Holiday weekend, in Fort-de-France, Martinique.
The American Twisters Tim Rand Gymnastics Invitational experienced a 'Bahamian twist' recently (March 2-4), as nine members of the Bahamas Star Gymnastics (BSG) team competed impressively in the field of almost 800 athletes.
Clubs were present from the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they converged at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center to battle for top spots.
The Bahamian team, under the leadership of Head Coach Alexander Mayet and Assistant Coach Kachara Marshall, took in a final workout session at the Park Avenue Gymnastics facility in Cooper City, Florida.
"We left home ready to compete but the session at Park Avenue fueled the team even more because they were able to workout alongside Park Avenue's elite athletes who were also competing in the Twisters' meet," commented Mayet.
The nine-member team included: Zia Joos, a Level 2 newcomer competing for the third time ever; Kyla Rolle, a Level 3 gymnast; Rachea Knowles and Sydney Wells, competing at Level 4; Caitlin Cash, covering Level 5; Athalia Swann and Kianna Dean at Level 6; Toni Johnson at Level 7; and Toneka Johnson at Level 8.
"We were able to compete across the board which allows up-close examination of USA Gymnastics (USAG) standards. We primarily compete in USAG meets so this experience helps us to improve individually and collectively as a team," commented Mayet.
Bahamas Star's team earned impressive results at the Twisters' meet.
Leading off the squad was Joos, a grade three student at Xavier's Lower School. She won medals on the vault with a 9.0 (third place), on the uneven bars (UB) with a 9.25 (second place), on the balance beam (BB) with a 8.55 (fourth place), and took the first place finish on the floor with a 9.175. The resulting all-around score of 35.975 earned her a third place finish in her division. These scores gave Joos her personal best scores in bars, beam and floor.
Queen's College student Kyla Rolle responded to the pressure by continuing the impressive showing of the BSG team with a 8.75 (ninth place) score on the vault, a bars score of 9.0 (sixth place), a beam score of 8.7 (seventh place) and a 8.825 (sixth place) on floor for an all-around score of 35.275 and a seventh place finish.
The Level 4 duo of Knowles, a Queen's College fourth grader, and Oakes Field Primary School third grader Wells posted impressive results as well. Knowles' 9.05 (14th place) on vault, 7.0 (15th place) on bars, 7.975 (13th place) on beam and an 8.250 (14th place) on floor resulted in an all-around score of 32.275, placing her at 15th out of the 30 gymnasts competing at that level.
Her Level 4 partner, Wells, improved her personal best all-around score of 35.40 achieved only a week prior at the Wolverine Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wells, like teammates Joos and Rolle, won medals in all four events, earning a 9.3 (out of a possible 10) on the uneven bars (fourth place), 9.4 on the vault (fourth place), 9.1 on the floor (sixth place) and a 8.45 on the balance beam (eighth place). The all-around score earned Wells a sixth place overall finish among 30 competing Level 4 gymnasts. Wells' all-around score of 36.25 is now the new all-around best score of all teammates and competing Bahamians thus far for the 2011-2012 season.
Xavier's Lower School fifth and sixth graders Cash and Swann appear to be tracking their levels with their grade. Cash competed at Level 5 and despite a tough field of over 65 gymnasts competing at that level, she held her own. Cash achieved her personal best on the vault with a score of 9.175 (fourth place) and respectfully scored a 7.5 (17th place) on the bars. She also had a 8.05 (14th place) beam score and a 8.25 (12th place) on the floor for an all-around 16th place finish of 32.95.
Swann, Xavier's Lower School sixth grader and Level 6 gymnast, would continue to trend and ensure that Xavier's and BSG were well represented. Registering her personal best in bars with a score of 8.775 (sixth place), Tally, as her teammates call her, secured a notable 9.125 (seventh place) on vault, a 8.15 (11th place) and a 8.55 (sixth place) on beam and floor respectively. These scores gave Swann her personal best all-around score of 34.6 and an eighth place finish.
Dean, Aquinas College Aces' 10th grade honor student put on an impressive performance in the Level 6 category, achieving her personal best on the bars and the beam with scores of 8.65 (10th place) and 8.5 (fifth place) respectively for what were deemed her 'weaker' events. Dean performed equally well in the vault with a score of 8.475 (12th place) and rounded out her score with a floor score of 8.25 (seventh place) for an all-around score of 34.075 (11th place), more than two points higher than her previous high all-around score for the season.
The sister-sister team of Toni and Toneka Johnson was back in action in their first offshore meet for the season, putting the exclamation point on the team's performance. The Prince William High School's eighth and 12th grade students amazed the spectators with their talents while their proud grandmother looked on. Toni, who competed at Level 7, achieved her personal best in three of the four events with a score of 9.335 (11th place) on vault, 7.35 (11th place) on bars, a 8.6 on beam and a 8.20 (14th place) on floor for a personal all-around best score of 33.50 (13th place). Although her beam and floor scores, 7.7 (12th place) and 7.1 (14th place), were below her expectation, the veteran Level 8 gymnast, Toneka, offered up an impressive showing in her other events, earning a vault score of 8.725 (first place) and a personal best score of 8.125 (sixth place) on bars, giving her an overall score of 31.65 (10th place).
Both coaches were impressed with the results from the Twisters' meet and are now looking forward to most of them moving on to new levels.
"This squad has competed well at their current levels and meanwhile we have been working on the skills required for their next levels," said Mayet. "There is a cadre of rising stars waiting in the wings ready to vie for spots on next season's team."
The 2012/2013 team is expected to be bigger and better than ever. Mayet says he is excited about the development of his coaching staff as well which is comprised of staff coaches Kachara Marshall, Monique De'Swanton and dance coach Idania Garcia-Stroud.
"What is most amazing is that most of the gymnasts all improved their scores on the events that have traditionally been a challenge and the 'Achilles heel' for Bahamian gymnasts for years - bars and beam. That speaks volumes to the superior training that the club is now benefitting from.
This meet and Wolverine Classic in Michigan were possible for Bahamas Star Gymnastics as a result of many hours of hard work by the Bahamas Gymnastics Parent Booster Club (BGPBC) and the financial support of the clubs' corporate sponsors, in particular Sun Oil Limited, which specifically contributed to these two meets. The booster club and school both thanked Sun Oil and all Bahamas Star sponsors and supporters for supporting the development of a team of talented gymnasts who are striving to represent The Bahamas at the 2016 Olympics.
Up next for the team is an exhibition performance at the club's annual primary school cheerleading competition dubbed 'Cheermania 2012' to be held on March 24, at 6 p.m.