Injuries behind, Virgin Gorda sprinter Caul eyeing a break out year

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Anchor leg Shaniyah Caul receives the baton from Beyonce DeFreitas

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Sprinter Shaniyah Caul of Virgin Gorda, a Fairleigh Dickerson University senior, is looking for a breakout season after being hampered by a string of injuries.

Caul, a sports administration major, was injured during the 2020 indoor season but was looking for a good year, before COVID-19 wiped out the outdoor season. She told Island Sun Sports that her collegiate career has been a good one and a great learning experience.

“I got injured a lot but you have to have a strong mindset when you get knocked down to get back up and keep trying,” Caul said. “I really liked college but didn’t like the cold though. I think the adjustment is what got me hurt a lot. I would start running faster later down in February, but since I had to run indoors, I had to be running fast in December for the season that began in January, so I think that change there, is what got me hurt a lot. I just have to keep adjusting and getting my body prepared for where it needs to be for the season.” 

Since she was hurt indoors, Caul, a 400m specialist, said that she wanted to come back outdoors and show what she could do, but COVID-19 messed that up. She said that she was looking forward to a great season after doing well in 2019. Since she returned to Virgin Gorda, she had been running on the road and on the beach is bit to keep her fitness, since the Valley Recreation Grounds had been closed. 

“I did what I could to keep me in shape till the grounds were reopened,” said Caul who will return to school in January and is currently taking online classes. While fall training has begun for students at Fairleigh Dickerson and some of her teammates commute, but the training is in sections because of the pandemic. They’ll take a break in November then return to school in January, but will be training on their own during the period, to ensure that they keep in shape. 

“I like the hot weather and I can get quality training in,” she said of being home. “I don’t like the cold. At school, sometimes we’re outdoors training, depending on how cold it is because the cold can be a disadvantage to athletes. Training here for me is good because I can train every day.”

In 2017, Caul anchored the 4x400m meter relay quartet of Ashley Kelly, Tarika “Tinkerbell” Moses and Beyonce DeFretias to victory in the OECS Championships, beating host Grenada with a time of 3 minutes 34.76 seconds, to help the BVI win the title. The time broke the 2009 mark of 3:37.62, established by Samantha John, Chantel Malone, Kelly and Dominique Maloney, in Cuba. She said representing the BVI at that level was a good experience for her. 

“When that meet came about, I had prom and had to choose between the two and I didn’t want to miss my prom,” she reflected. “I was like, let me just go. If I didn’t go, I wouldn’t have been a part of that record setting team. That is one race that I wasn’t scared to run as I normally do. I remember going out really hard and I wasn’t struggling coming home, which was very good. When they said we broke the record, I was so happy.”

Should there be a 2021 season, Caul said she’s hoping for a breakout, after injuries slowed her development. 

“I’m hoping to show what I can really do,” she said. “I’m getting my mind together, getting my body together, in order to prepare to run fast for the upcoming season.”

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