2014 Year in Sports Review: Part II—Individual Sports

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By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

This is the final of a two part 2014 Year in Sports Review focusing on Individual Sports.

Cycling

Phillippe Leroy won the Jeep Tour de Tortola in 2 hours and 22 minutes in a race that attracted 18 participants. Rowena Lawrence was the first woman and third overall in 3:12.

The BVI Mountain Bike Club conducted the Jeep Mountain Bike Series with races on Tortoal, Peter Island, Norman Island, Beef Island and Jose Van Dyke. Veteral Phillipe Leroy second was the series winner.

Squash

Squash players competed in the OECS Championships, Commonwealth Games and CAC Games.

Sailing

BVI Spring Regatta ends with tight, competitive racing

Organizers expected the 43rd BVI Spring Regatta to be highly competitive and the event didn’t disappoint as eight of the 13 divisions were won by five points or less and the difference between first and fourth in one division was four seconds.

BVI boats had five podium finishes while their U.S. Virgin Islands counterparts had four.

“This was a Tourist Board kind of day. We had sunshine, plenty of breeze, it was lovely out there, a few white caps and it was scenic,” beamed BVI Spring Regatta Chairman Bob Phillips after Sunday’s final races. “The boats had some really close racing and difference in one class between first and fourth was four seconds.”

Phillips said competitors have been very happy with the event. He said while Friday was challenging, overall they had plenty of breeze throughout the weekend.

BVI, USVI sailors battle in Back to School Regatta

BVI’s Rayne Duff and St. Thomas’ Teddy Nicolosi engaged in a spirited battle in the annual Back to School Optimist Regatta in two competitive days of racing in Nanny Cay.

Duff and Nicolosi—who often train together—were among others using the event as a final tune up for the Optimist World Championships in Buenos, Aires, Argentina.

“I think it was a really good experience having a challenge with Teddy as we were sort of match racing even though it wasn’t a match racing regatta,” note Duff who won the Blue Fleet and was the top sailor overall. “I was expecting something big but I could tell his coach was sending him on me. It was good competition and good wind. I liked my scores but had some bad moments—I snapped my rudder in the last race.”

Duff 29th in Opti Worlds

Rayne Duff finished 29th of 70 entries in the Blue Fleet at the ISAF Optimist World Championships in Argentina. Thad Lettsome placed 45th of 68 in the Red Fleet. They also competed in the Opti North American Championships in Mexico among other competitions.

2014 Sailing Award winners

Most Improved Club Dinghy – Ryan Lettsome
Sportsmanship Award – Kyle Roose
Best Club Dinghy – Rayne Duff
Best Youth International Competitor – Sam Morrell
Best BVI International Competitor – Alec Anderson & Chris Brockbank

Swimming

Sisters Elinah and Amarah Phillip carried swimming to new heights in just the six year history of the BVI Swimming Federation with medals in the Carifta Games and OECS Swimming Championships and debuts in the Commonwealth Games, Youth Olympic Games and FINA World Short Course Championships.

Gold among four Carifta Games Swimming medals

Two years after making the final, Elinah Phillip made British Virgin Islands sporting history, when she obliterated the 50m Freestyle record at the XXIX Carifta Games Swimming Championships in Aruba—the territory’s first gold medal in Swimming at this level.

Phillip’s performance came a day after snatching a 100m Butterfly bronze on for the territory’s first ever medal in the championships. Competing in the 13-14 Girls 50m fly, Phillip sent a clear message during the prelims of her intention to fight for the top spot, when she established a personal best of 29.95 seconds—just off the 29.49 meet record.

In the final, Phillip exploded from the blocks and obliterated the meet record with a personal best and National Record time of 28.71 seconds. Her sister Amarah had the 12th best time of 32.10 in the 15-17 age group but did not advance.

“I think its step in the right direction and a proud day for the BVI Swimming Federation,” stated Elsworth Phillip, BVISF President, Coach and father of the swimmers. “It’s a testament in my opinion to all that we have been pushing for and going through for the development of the sport in the country. This is our second time at Carifta and they both swam in the finals. We weren’t able to attend last year, but we are happy to be back at Carifta and really happy to be in the position to show BVI swimming is on the map.”

In the 100m Butterfly, Phillip who had the seventh fastest time going from the prelims, snatch bronze in the final in 1 minute 08.82 seconds following a 1:10.21 semi. Her sister Amarah produced the 11th best time of 1:16.35 in the 15-17 Girls Butterfly prelims, but did not advance.

BVI Swimming Federation General Secretary and mother of the swimmers Tracy Bradshaw represented the BVI in track and field at the Carifta Games during the 90s in the 200 and 400m. She said it was a higher level of excitement for her after her daughter earned bronze then struck gold.

“I was proud and excited but mostly happy for her,” Bradshaw said. “It has been a long journey for all of us—most definitely for them as swimmers—the challenge of no facilities, having to relocate, missing Carifta last year—even from that first Carifta, they knew they could do it. But, there were too many hurdles to overcome. Now we are over that first hump.”

Phillip shatters five OECS Swimming records

Elinah Phillip shattered five OECS Swimming Championships records en route to winning 10 of the territory 15 medals—including six gold—during the 24th edition of the competition in Gros Ilet, St. Lucia.

Teaming with her sister Amarah for the medal haul, Elinah set three new records  on her way to winning the 13-14 category. Elinah swam the fastest ever 200m Individual Medley (2:33.20), 50m Butterfly (29.75) and 100m Freestyle (59.83) in OECS history.

Elinah grabbed silver in the 200m Freestyle in 2:16.99, before missing a 50m Breaststroke bronze by .30 seconds with a time of 37.71. She followed up by smashing Grenada’s Oreoluwa Cherebin’s 2-year old 100m Butterfly mark of 1 minute 10.70 with a swim of 1:09.24 for her first OECS mark.

Elinah snatched another of Cherebin’s OECS records, when she bettered the  50m Freestyle time of 28.31 from 2012, with a 27.52 effort.

The 13 year old—who kick started her medal haul with a bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle, finishing in 4:56.36—settled for bronze In the 100m backstroke, after missing silver by .36 seconds with a time of 1:14.73.

Amarah landed silver in the 15-17 Girls 100m Breaststroke in 1 minute 16.89 seconds, then tied St. Lucia’s Thalia Bergasse in the 50m Freestyle as both clocked 29.39 seconds. She finished second to Cherebin in the 100m Butterfly with a time of 1:11.79 as Cherebin improved her own 1:09.81 mark from last year to 1:08.08.

The 15 year old also picked up 50m Backstroke silver in 34.49 and 50m Butterfly silver by stopping the clock at 31.03.

“Overall, I think we did well, led by the two experienced swimmers Amarah and Elinah, but we also had some young ones and with all due respect all the kids did wonderful,” said BVI Swimming Federation President and Coach Elsworth Phillip. “Everybody didn’t receive a medal and sometimes it’s not all about the medal. For example, Tia Roberts and Kahdija Sampson swam some wonderful times for the 8 and Under age group. As six year olds, they showed that they are interested and can be developed. From a coaching standpoint, I was quite impressed with the way they performed and handled themselves.”

Skiing debuted in Winter Olympics

Peter Adam Crook became the second BVI athlete to compete in the Winter Olympic Games, when he debuted in the Sochi Olympics in Russia in February, competing in the Half-Pipe event. He joins Errol Fraser as the territory’s other Winter Olympian. Crook later announced his retirement from competition.

Tennis

While there was no BVI Open or other events organized by the BVI Lawn Tennis Association, the Long Look East End Tennis Club organized a series of events for 2014.

The spring The finalists and winners were:

Green. Stage 1:-Boys: Champion- Matai Frett. Finalist. KieJuan Barzey. Girls: Champion – Olivia Freeman. Finalist. Tennisha Herbert
Yellow Ball: Champion: Deandre Baijnauth.. Finalist. Courtney Palmer
Rivalry Match: Champion: Adrian Baijnauth. Finalist. Jahmal Bertie.

The fall placings were: Olivia Freeman, Girls champion and Chakia Smith, Girls finalist. Adrian Baijnauth, Boys champion and Jahmal Bertie, Boys finalist

Jeron Smith competes in Eastern Caribbean Tennis Championships

Jeron Smith competed in the Eastern Caribbean Tennis Championships in St. Lucia. He opened with a 6-1, 6-2 win over St. Lucia’s Jervhan Marshall, then followed up with a walk over of Lanthony Blanchard of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Smith then disposed St. Lucia’s Jelani Alexander in another straight set win, 6-0, 6-0.

In his Men’s match, he overhauled St. Lucia’s Ricardo Francois, 3-6, 6-4 and 6-4.

Smith lost to the son and father combo of Tacel and Vernon Lewis. He fell to Tacell 6-0, 6-2 and to Vernon, a former BVI Open Tennis Champion, 6.0. 6-0.

Track and Field & Road Racing

Track and Field athletes enjoyed another successful year with a minimum of semifinals berths in every competition, its best showing at the Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympic Games and a CAC Games gold medal. In all 13 National Records were established during the season.

Four Carifta Games medals

BVI athletes walked away from the 43rd Carifta Games in Fort de France, Martinique, with five important qualitative statistics—personal bests set, medals won, National Youth and National Jr. Records broken and IAAF World Jr. Championships qualifiers.

When the last runner crossed the line, the BVI had amassed four bronze medals bringing the overall total since 1978 to 37—18 of which have been won since 2011.

Nelda Huggins became the BVI’s most prolific Carifta Games medalist with seven, breaking a tie with both Keita Cline and Chantel Malone who bagged six each, when she snatched U18 Girls 100m bronze in a wind aided 11.64 seconds. It was her fourth straight 100m individual medal.

Tynelle Gumbs earned an U20 Girls Discus Throw bronze with a heave of 40.45m—the second best mark of her career.

Kyron McMaster put the disappointment of a sixth placed finish in the 400m final behind to snatch bronze in a National Jr. Record time of 52.85 seconds in the U18 Boys 400m Intermediate Hurdles. It was only his third time running the event after he placed third in his heat in 56.08 to reach the final.

The quartet of Zacharia “Zakie” Frett, Kala Penn, L’Tisha “Lea” Fahie and Huggins, won the territory’s fourth bronze when they finished third behind Jamaica and the Bahamas in the U18 Girls 4x100m Relay, with a National Jr. Record time of 46.30 seconds. The mark eclipsed the 46.62 ran at the Leeward Islands Invitational in 2013.

IAAF World Relays

The BVI’s Women’s 4x100m Relay team ran the second fastest time in the territory’s history to reach the B final of the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Nassau, The Bahamas and finished in the top 16.

Knowing just before they left that Tahesia Harrigan-Scott would not be joining them after pulling out of a race in Beijing, China on with slight discomfort, the trio of Ashley Kelly, Chantel Malone and Karene King, knew they’d have to help National Youth and National Jr. 100/200m sprinter Nelda Huggins at 17, one of the youngest women in the competition.

With only one day’s practice, they got the stick around and finished the semi final in 44.53 seconds just off the 44.34 national mark established in 2010 as the territory haven’t had many opportunities to field a senior squad in competition. In the B final, they placed seventh in 45.06 and all shared that it was a good experience.

Commonwealth Games 4th

Chantel Malone had the best place finish by a BVI athlete in its history of Commonwealth Games competition when she finished fourth in the Long Jump in Glasgow, Scotland, in the XX editing of the event.

Malone opened with a leap of 6.41m that had her in third place for most of the competition before England’s Jasmin Sawyers leapt 6.49m to move her down a notch.

Malone’s performance surpassed Tahesia Harrigan-Scott’s fifth place 100m finish during the 2006 Games in Melbourne, Australia, as the territory’s best performance.

Sprinter Ashley Kelly was fifth in her 200m semifinal heat in 24.00 seconds but did not advance. Already a 400m semifinalist, Ashley Kelly will go down as the territory’s first athlete advancing to the semifinals in two events, after grabbing an automatic spot in the 200m, with a third placed time of 24.40 seconds. She ran 54.35 in her 400m semi after a 54.26 time to advance.

Karene King joined Kelly in the 200m semis after placing fourth in her heat in 24.22 seconds, advancing as one of the six qualifiers based on time. The XX Commonwealth Games marked the first time that the BVI has had a finalist and three semifinalists in the competition in its history.

Record Five qualify for Youth Olympic Games

Five track and field athletes who were 2014 Carifta Games finalists including two bronze medalists, qualified for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Sprinter Nelda Huggins, 100m Hurdler Deya Erickson, Long Jumper Kala Penn, 400m Intermediate Hurdler Kyron McMaster and Triple Jumper Akeem Bradshaw, automatically qualified for the 2nd Youth Olympic Games during the April 19-21 Carifta Games in Martinique. Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner earned a wild card spot in the 800m. Huggins placed sixth in the 100m final in 11.83 seconds the territory’s best individual placing. Warner won a silver medal in the Mixed 8 x 100m Relay.

Banner year for Eldred Henry

Central Arizona College freshman Eldred Henry, won the National Jr. College Athletics Association Championships Discus Throw title, during the championships held at Mesa College, in Mesa, Arizona.

Henry, who was in second place throughout the competition earned the title on his final attempt which measured 54.35m. He was sixth in the Shot Put on Friday, with a heave of 16.73m.

Henry joins Steve Augustine and Omar Jones who won the 400m Intermediate Hurdles in 1998 and the Javelin Throw title in 2009 as the territory’s third JUCO National champion.  He becomes the sixth BVI athlete to win Jr. College All America honors for Central Arizona, but the first to earn it in two events.

Earlier in the season, Henry threw the Discus 61.90m—the first OECS athlete to crack the 60m barrier and ended up being ranked #75 in the world in his event. He was also fourth in the Discus Throw at the NACAC U23 Championships.

Malone golden in CAC Games Long Jump

It was yet another golden moment for the territory. Chantel Malone extended the BVIs Central American and Caribbean Games’ gold medal streak to four straight when she landed at the top of the Long Jump pile in Xalapa, Mexico, during the 22nd edition of the Games with a leap of 6.46m. She also became the first medalist in a field event after three medals in the short sprint.

Athletes of the Year

During the 6th BVIAA Athlete’s Gala, the following were named 2014 BVI Athletics Association Athletes of the Year, presented by Sol:

Youth Male Athlete of the Year—Djimon Gumbs. Female:—Arianna Hayde.

Jr. Male Athlete of the Year –Kryon McMaster. Female—Nelda Huggins

Sr. Male Athlete of the Year—Eldred Henry. Female—Chantel Malone

Road Racing

A total of 25 road races including Half Marathons on Virgin Gorda and Tortola were held in races that toured both islands.

Hindes buries field to win Virgin Gorda Half Marathon

St. John’s Timothy “TJ” Hindes did his research, relied in his 8 Tuff Miles racing and course training, then executed his strategy to perfection en route to burying the field and winning the 3rd Virgin Gorda Half Marathon.

In his first trek to Virgin Gorda, Hindes wasted no time in breaking away from the field at the start, opened a sizeable gap that stretched to five minutes at one point by time he crossed the line in 1 hour 32 minutes and 34 seconds. Tortola resident Guy Williamson was second in 1:35.34 followed by Virgin Gorda’s Maxford Pipe in 1:39.37.

It was the fastest time run in the three editions of the race which this year featured a tougher and more challenging course.

“It’s the first Half Marathon I ever ran and my plan was to win it from the beginning. I looked online and saw that a 7:20 mile pace won it last year so I’ve been running 7:20 miles on St. John to stay ahead of it,” Hindes explained. “I did better than I thought I’d do in St. John’s 8 Tuff Miles, so I thought I could win it here. The course is tough. Those first seven miles up to Nail Bay, it was hard not to walk that.”

DeGannes notch BVI Sunrise Half Marathon 3-peat

St. Thomas’ Shane DeGannes became the first 3-peat winner in the nine-year history of the Deloitte-Ogier BVI Sunrise Half Marathon on Saturday.

His counterpart Ruth Ann David who was trying to accomplish the same feat, inadvertently missed the ferry and was unable to defend her title in a race won by Katrina Crumpler.

As in the past, DeGannes ran unchallenged, leading from start to finish for an eight minute victory over Guy Williamson, navigating the looped winding course on Tortola’s south coast in 1 hour 21 minutes and 18 seconds—the fastest of his three victories.

Steven Asson—the 2007 champ—placed third behind Williamson’s 1:29.46 in 1:30.48.

“I’m happy with the performance, a little disappointed because I really wanted to go under 1:20, but 1:21, I can’t be mad at that because I was four minutes faster than last year,” DeGannes noted. “I really wanted to do that 1:19. However, I’m on cloud nine right now. I’ve really worked hard towards this race in particular and I was very, very happy to pull off the 3-peat.”

2014 Male Road Race Athlete of the Year—Co-champs Ravindra Sukhu and Curwin Andrews

2014 Female Road Race Athlete of the Year—Co-champs Rosmond Johnson and NiMade Oniash

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