By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Akeela McMaster became the fourth BVI athlete since 1997, to claim an individual Pentathlon division medal at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Age Group Championships, formerly the CAC Age Group Championships, over the weekend in Trinidad and Tobago. She also formed part of the territory’s fifth contingent to earn a team medal since 1990.
McMaster claimed the 11-12 Girls Division Pentathlon bronze medal as the territory’s athletes walked away with six medals in its best medal haul in the history of the competition dating back to 1985, as well as a team award. McMaster joined Aliston “Al” Potter, 1997; Dione Blyden, 2003 and Beyonce DeFreitas, 2013 as overall division Pentathlon medalists.
At the end of the 2-day competition, BVI athletes had two gold and four bronze medals—five of them individual medals by four different athletes—an individual overall medalist and an 11-12 Girls Team medal.
With performances in each event worth a certain amount of points, McMaster and Anguilla’s Cardesha Pemberton were tied for second with 2190 points heading in to the 800m, the final event of the Pentathlon. McMaster finished fifth in her heat and ninth overall, in 2 minutes 39.79 seconds, worth 470 points, while Pemberton only earned 271 points for 22nd overall in the event after running 3:07.32.
McMaster compiled 2660 points in her five events for the 11-12 Girls Division bronze. Teammate Ayana Findlay, placed seventh with 2520 points, after finishing second in her heat and third overall to secure an 800m bronze in the final event with a time of 2 minutes 32.82 seconds. McMaster began the completion by earning a bronze medal in the 60m dash with a time of 8.31 seconds. McMaster’s points and that of Findlay, earned them the 11-12 Girls Team Division bronze with a combined 5180 points.
They joined Dion Crabbe/Leighton Smith, 1990; Dione Blyden/Jevonte Croal, 2003; Kanishque Todman/Britney Wattley, 2003 and J’Nae Wong/Arianna Hayde, 2011.
In the 11-12 Boys Division, Delano Hodge was 21st with 2419 points while teammate K’Shawn Martin scored 2347 to place 24th.
In the 13-14 Boys Heptathlon, after holding seventh and eight position respectively following Day I competition, Jaleel Croal settled for 10thplace after amassing 4101 points, while Malaki Smith, who opened with an 80m victory for gold in 9.22 seconds and also collected a gold medal in the Ball Throw, was 14th overall with 3949. Croal won a bronze medal with his time in the 80m dash of 9.37 seconds in winning his heat. It marked the first time that two athletes had won a medal in the same event in the history of the competition.
In the 13-14 Girls Division Heptathlon, Ariyah Smith finished 22nd with her 3282 points while Azaria Christopher amassed 3109 to place 27th.
The 13-14 Mixed 4x100m Relay team of Christopher, Croal, Malik Smith and Ariyah Smith, won its heat in 47.76 seconds to finish third overall and claimed the team bronze.
With the combined scores of all the athletes, the BVI placed sixth overall with 25,374 points.
“I think the BVI team’s performance was excellent,” head coach and manager Ericca Frederick said. “I’ve travelled to the championships from 2009 and this 2017 went out there and did their best. Two records were established by Malaki Smith as this is the first time it’s the NACAC Championships as it was under Caribbean and Central American Athletics Confederation umbrella before. We had great performances from the 11-12 Pentathlon Girls. They did the BVI proud and I hope to see them in 2019 competing in the Heptathlon.”
Frederick said the completion was a great experience for the participants.
“It’s all about developing the youth because you never know what event they’ll be good at in the future,” Frederick said. “I think these children should be exposed to every event, run, jump and throw, because that is what it’s all about for the youths, so I think the NACAC Age Group competition is a very good exposure for our young ones.”
Jr. Boys 100m record falls
Elsewhere in athletics, competing at the New Balance High Schools Nationals in Greensboro, NC, IMG Academy’s Rikkoi Brathwaite finished fourth overall in 10.43 seconds, to improve his three weeks old BVI Jr. Record of 10.47. He ran 10.66 seconds in the semis. He improved his 200m personal best to 21.85 seconds but did not advance to the final.
At the Guelph Speed Inferno meet in Ontario, Canada, Ashley Kelly ran a 400m seasons best of 52.97 seconds to place second while Khari Herbert was third in his 400m run in 46.39 seconds.