by RENALDO DORSETT
If St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine is going to extend the longest winning streak in Bahamian high school sports history, the Queen’s College Comets are going to force a comeback effort in 2015.
The Comets streaked ahead of the field on day one of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships and set the pace with a dominant performance.
The Comets posted 460 points, 62 points ahead of perennial powerhouse Big Red Machine who scored 398 yesterday at the original Thomas A Robinson Stadium.The familiar foes have quickly emerged as the lone contenders yet again for this year’s title as the Nassau Christian Academy Crusaders stand in third with 110.50 points. The St Anne’s Blue Waves are fourth with 106.50 points while the St John’s College Giants round out the top five with 94.50 points.The remainder of the field includes the St Andrew’s School Hurricanes with 68 points, Temple Christian Suns (47 points), Jordan Prince William Falcons (33 points), Aquinas College Aces (23 points), Kingsway Academy Saints (13 points), Bahamas Academy Stars (12 points) and the Charles W Saunders Cougars (nine points).
Four athletes reached the CARIFTA qualifying standard, while three new BAISS meet records were set.
The Comets were led by a strong intermediate division which produced seven gold medal performances.Among the girls, Charisma Taylor surpassed the CARIFTA qualifying standard of 14.64s in the 100m hurdles with her time of 14.40s. Also in the division, Comets’ Edward Kemp set a new record in the discus with a throw of 40.50m, besting the 39.25m set last year by Adrian Grant.
The Comets swept both 400m in the intermediate division with Brittni Fountain taking the girls’ race in a surprising upset over SACs Doniesha Anderson in 57.44s, while Kaze Poitier took the boys race in 50.91s.
In the senior girls’ division, QC’s Mesha Newbold was the major story on day one with a pair of first place finishes and a CARIFTA-qualifying mark. She reached the standard (56.50s) in the 400m with her time of 56.43s and also took the 100m hurdles in 15.11s.The 400m was a favoured event for the Comets with wins in the bantam girls (Dejanique Turnquest – 1:07.86s), Bantam boys (Jonathan Weech – 1:04.52s), Junior boys (Nathan Burrows – 54.56s), the aforementioned intermediate divisions and senior girls.
The Big Red Machine was led on the track by sprint hurdler Xavier Coakley who surpassed the CARIFTA-qualifying standard (14.22s) in the senior boys’ 110m hurdles with his time of 13.77s.Also in the senior boys’ division, SAC’s Perry Adderley broke the seven-year-old mark in the shot put with a throw of 15.03m.Justin Pinder also highlighted a strong performance from the Big Red Machine in the division with a first place finish in both the 400m (49.30s) and 1,500m (4:36.25s).
SAC also produced a CARIFTA qualifier in the field when Tiffany Hanna threw 13.09m in the intermediate girls’ shot put, well ahead of the 12m standard, while Benjamin Clarke set a new record in the junior boys’ high jump with a leap of 1.90m.In the bantam girls’ javelin, Rhema Otabor of NCA broke the 17-year-old mark of 22.20m, set by Gina Stubbs, with her toss of 23.57m.
The meet is scheduled to continue 9am today as the Big Red Machine chases their 27th title, while the Comets look to unseat the defending champions after years of second-place finishes
.On day one in 2014, the Big Red Machine led the 12-team field with a total of 462 points, an 86-point lead over the Comets who were in second place with 376 points.