Russell and Dutranoit break records
Two new records were set during an enthralling evening of school races, which culminated in a photo finish in the senior boys competition on Front Street last night.
Both records came from overseas-based students as Ziza Russell, 10, who attends school in Orlando, ran an impressive race to break Deanne Lightbourne’s record of 5:45.30 from 2002 with a winning time of 5:39.77.
She was five seconds ahead of Ellise Dickinson, of Somersfield Academy, while West End Primary’s Legend Stevenson, last year’s winner, crossed in 5:56.82 to take third place.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported me because I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Ziza after hugging her proud father and coach, Ascento Russell, a former Southampton Rangers footballer. “At first I didn’t [know about the record], but then the camera guy told me and I said, ‘Oh, my goodness’. I’m so thankful.”
Ascento had much to be proud of as he soaked up his daughter’s victory. “She has trained hard, just came off a good cross-country season in Tennessee where she got third place in the nation,” he said.
“We plan on coming here for her last year in primary school, so we wanted her to come here and run in front of family. Most of the time it’s just five people cheering her on in the US.
“First, second, third or fourth, it doesn’t matter, I’m always proud of her, as long as she enjoys herself. She was born in America but has her Bermudian papers.”
Bermudian Izzy Dutranoit, who is at school in Connecticut, etched her name in the record books in what will be her final Senior School Girls’ race. The 17-year-old broke Kyrah Scraders’s 2014 record of 5:19.74 in a time of 5:14.30 to deny defending champion Ashley Irby a third straight title.
Irby, also in her last year in the Senior Schools race, was hoping to end with an eighth win overall going back to primary school in 2012. Irby finished less than two seconds behind Dutranoit in 5:16.14, while Jessie Marshall, who also attends Saltus Grammar School, was third in 5:38.92.
“I haven’t run it since I was in year four,” said Dutranoit, 17. “I’m really happy with my performances.”
Feidhlim Carr, of Saltus, took the Primary Boys’ title in 5:42.60, with schoolmate Tom Hyland second in 5:43.84 and Masaki Kitade, of Somersfield, third in 5:46.88.
Irby’s record of 5:23.63 in the Middle School Girls remained intact as Daria Desmond, of Warwick Academy, won that race in 5:41.63. Adriana Argent, also of Warwick Academy, was second in 5:45.36 while Jasmin Hasselkuss, of Somersfield Academy, was third in 5:46.58.
The best finish of the night was saved for the Senior Boys where Kahzi Sealey, of Berkeley Institute, pipped Nirobi Smith-Mills, of Saltus, right at the tape to take the title vacated by Quincy Kuzyk, who had a similarly close finish last year to beat Johndell Cumberbatch. Kuzyk was listed but did not compete last night, leaving Sealey to win in what announcer Harry Patchett termed a “firecracker of a finish”.
“I wasn’t expecting to come out here and win,” said Sealey, who is a Bermuda Pacers team-mate of both Smith-Mills and Ryan Outerbridge, who finished third. Sealey passed Outerbridge near the finish and then had that extra kick to nip Smith-Mills at the tape as both finished in 4:47.97. Outerbridge was a few strides back in 4:51.65.
“I saw Ryan in front of me and decided to go for him, then saw my other team-mate Nirobi and tried to go for him and came up with the win,” Sealey said. “I passed Ryan about 20 metres before the finish and Nirobi right at the end.
Smith-Mills admitted he did not have much left at the finish line. “I’m not disappointed, in the end my legs got a bit weak,” he said.
Outerbridge watched the thrilling finish unfold from a few yards back. “I’m pretty disappointed about my performance, I felt I could have done way better,” said Outerbridge, a student at Berkeley.
Meanwhile, in the Middle School Boys race Khari Sharrieff highlighted his promise by clinching victory. Sharrieff broke the tape in of 5.25.16, six seconds ahead of J’Auza James (5.31.55), who narrowly beat Jayson Simons (5.32.41)