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Big names miss national championships

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Stride for stride: Clevonte Lodge (left), a recent Carifta Games competitor, battles it out with Deneo Brangman in the 400 metres before winning a close race last evening during the BNAA National Track and Field Championships (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The National Track and Field Championships were missing several college athletes for various reasons last evening, leaving the event without keen competition among the older age groups and officials of the Bermuda National Athletics Association with some concerns.

The BNAA had hoped that some of the students would provide a boost to the event after the Bermuda Area Permit Meet last month. However, many of the island’s top athletes, including some who competed at Carifta Games in March and April, did not participate.

“This was definitely one of the most low-key events we’ve had,” admitted Donna Raynor, the BNAA president.

“I guess the hard part for the BNAA is we just finished the Permit Meet and we put a lot of energy into that. We didn’t have many of our local athletes involved with the permit meet, so we thought more would have come out. We have several athletes competing in high school, and I thought we would have seen some of them here, but I saw just one competing.

“It is a disappointing turnout. We have several young [Bermuda Pacers] athletes competing who are getting ready to qualify for the East Coast Track Meet.

“There are so many youngsters running in the 100, 200, 800 and 1,600 [metres] but when you get to the 16 or 17-year-olds there are very few. They go into other sports or go into other things and that is another one of my concerns.”

It was hoped that Trey Simons, Shaquille Dill, Jah-Nhai Perinchief, Tiara DeRosa and Dage Minors might turn out, but Dill is sidelined with an injury while Minors, who is pursuing a master’s degree at Franklin Pearce University, has accepted an assistant coaching post at his former university for the upcoming school year.

“Shaquille is injured, Jah-Nhai is injured, Dage is coaching and training at Franklin Pearce and getting ready for the CAC Games,” Raynor said. “Trey Houston just left to go back to Florida and then you have people like Tre Simons who got injured halfway through the season.

“You hear about these athletes doing well in university but for some of them injuries come up or they are burnt out and we don’t get the chance to see them represent Bermuda. For me, it is disappointing.”

Bruce DeGrilla competed in the long jump as he tries to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, which start next month.

Sprinter Taahira Butterfield, a student at Auburn University, also competed.

Kevin Miller has plenty to spare as he sails over the bar at his first attempt at 1.85 metres during the high jump at the BNAA National Track and Field Championships last evening (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)
Ramiah Brangman, who competed in multiple races, is seen here winning the girls under-14 200 metres race at the National Track and Field Championships last evening (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)
Determination shows on the face of Milan Gibbons-Thomas as she wins the girls under-12 100 metres race during the BNAA National Track and Field Championships last evening (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)