By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Three of the territory’s leading female athletes won medals at the NACAC U18 and U20 Championships in San José, Costa Rica and McDoungh, Georgia, at the USTAF GA Battle for the Peach Track and Field meet, respectively.
Akrisa Eristee won 400m silver on Saturday in the NACAC U20 Girls event, with a time of 55.66 seconds. She was seventh in 2019 in the U18 Division. Eristee narrowly missed a 200m bronze on Sunday by 0.04 seconds, when she covered the half lap in a personal best 24.36 seconds in a race that has a negligible +0.4 meters per second wind. She didn’t make herself available to comment on her performances.
Coach Ericca Frederick told Island Sun Sports Eristee got out well in the 200m and it was a fighting finish with Jamaica’s Alliyah Francis, losing by 0.04—24.32-24.36.
“I think she did extremely well and I think if there was a little more distance, she would have gotten that bronze medal,” Frederick said.
Palesa Caesar earned U18 Girls Shot Put bronze with a heave of 12.89m on Sunday. She began the competition with a fifth place finish in the Discus Throw, on Friday, after settling for a best effort of 35.26m.
Speaking after the event from Costa Rica, Caesar told Island Sun Sports that in the Discus Throw, it was cold and windy and she was unable to develop speed in the circle, which affected her throwing. With better weather in the Shot, Caesar said after the fourth round, a thrower who had left the competition area and returned, she thought after her attempt, she heard 12.86.
“I thought it was higher than what I did previously and I was like ‘no, no, no. She can’t beat me, so I psyched myself out and threw 12.89,” she said.
It was her first external competition since Carifta 2019 in Cayman Islands.
“I was a relief. I was like ‘oh my God. Finally,’” she said. “It might sound bad, but in the BVI, I don’t have any competition for my age and this is my last year in under 17 (with the 3K). Next year I will move up to the 4K for Under 20. So it was kind of a relief to get some competition from outside instead of competing against my own.”
Meanwhile, Adajeah Hodge tuned up for the Jr. Olympics in Jacksonville, Florida, July 26-Aug 4, with 400 and 200m victories and a third place finish in the Long Jump in Georgia. On Saturday, Hodge cut the sand at 5.84m (19’2”)—only her second loss of the season in the event.
She won the 400m in 54.02 seconds—the second best mark of her career—after a 56.78 semi. She completed the double after a 24.09 seconds 200m victory. She had a 24.97 semi.
“I keep looking at the board and not looking forward,” Hodge told Island Sun Sports, noting that she was jumping two feet behind the takeoff board. “My coach said he’s going to give me some horse blinders.”
Hodge said the meet was important in showing her where she is ahead of the upcoming Jr. Olympic competition. She told Island Sun Sports that her times are fine and she should be okay.
She said that she was confident entering the 400m, where she was to run even 27 seconds splits, but ran faster in the second 200m.
“Coach said I slowed down too much on the back stretch, but he said we will work on that this week and next,” Hodge said. “In the 200, ran a great curve, the wind got me on the straight as always, but it was a great race.”
Leading up to Jr. Olympics, Hodge will be working on her Long Jump, 400m back stretch and finish.
Elsewhere, Chantel Malone was fourth in the American Track League Long Jump in Atlanta, Georgia, after leaping 6.67m (21’10½”) on her second attempt then shut down her competition.
Kyron McMaster did not compete in Monaco last Thursday, as was scheduled.