By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
A’Keela McMaster is attempting to become the territory’s fist athlete to win medals in the 13-14 Heptathlon Division in the NACAC Age Group Championships in El Salvador, after claiming an individual overall bronze medal in the 11-12 Division Pentathlon in 2017.
The BVI has been participating in the event since its 1985 inception in Curacao, when it was the CAC Age Group Championships. The event was hosted here in 2011.
“It would mean the world to me to win a medal in this age group, because I train my hardest to do this,” McMaster said. “Basically, it will help me make a start in my career. Training has gone well, but became harder as the time to go got closer.”
McMaster will accumulate points contesting the 80m, 80m Hurdles, Long Jump, High Jump, Ball Throw, Shot Put and 1000m. The athlete with the highest score wins. She did five events in the 11-12 Division Pentathlon in 2017.
What she likes about track?
“The fact that if I do good, I could get a scholarship and my parents don’t have to pay for college,” she said.
Her sister A’Sia will contest the 11-12 Division. A’Sia observed A’Keela two years ago and knows what to expect the Pentathlon, comprised of: 60m, Long Jump, High Jump, Ball Throw and 800m.
“I have to follow my coach because basically, he taught us everything we need to know,” she said. “Since it’s my first time, my goal is to aim for first place.”
Jahkayla Morton, also in the 11-12 Division, said her preparation has gone well but it was intense. “We have been preparing for that 800m,” she noted. “And the 800 is very tiring.”
Coach Ericca Frederick who has attended every biannual meet since 2009, said she’s looking for the athletes to do their very best, especially the new comers and for A’Keela to be in the top three again. Preparations she said has gone well. The only disadvantage was not having a High Jump bed to prepare on and athletes had to go to St. Thomas to train.
“I just want them to do their best, clear the first height, especially those who haven’t done High Jump before,” Frederick said. “This meet is a very good development meet because these kids are young and we should always encourage the youth, from U9 to U15s to do multiple events. We as coaches, parents and athletes don’t know what they’ll be good at in the future, so it’s good to develop running, jumping and throwing, so that when they reach the Jr. age group, they would start specializing from there and see what their better events would be.”
Having A’Keela on the team she said is an asset as she can speak to the and explain with the experience is all about.
Other members of the team are: 13-14 Girls, Jahtivya Williams. 13-14 Boys: Keleem Lettsome and Mychael Claxton.