Athletes bid for CARIFTA Games spots

Tori-Ann Gonez (2nd from right) wins the U17 Girls 200m.

Top young track and field athletes in the Cayman Islands put their best foot forward over two days last weekend at the 2018 CUC Youth and CARIFTA Championships, seeking not only spots atop the podium but to meet qualifying standards for the Caribbean’s premier youth athletics competition.

Among the highlights of the 23-24 meet were tight finishes in the U20 & U17 100m races among both boys and girls, as well as in the 200m finals.

Ashante Graham of Falcon Athletics (12.59) edged Danneika Lyn of Mustang Track Club (12.60) and Tori-Ann Gonez (12.61) in a tight finish of the U17 Girls 100m. Although they were all outside the CARIFTA standards in that final, it was a different situation in the 200m final the following day. Gonez pulled away from the field down the homestretch to win in 25.56, well inside CARIFTA qualifying standards. Jaden Francis (25.85) and Lyn (26.05) also made the a-standard for the event.

Mustang Track Club’s Derrick Francis and Neil Brown of HyTech Tigers tied in the U17 Boys 100m sprint in 11.71 seconds. In the 200m, it was Brown (23.70) edging Samuel Campbell into second (23.73) and Francis finishing third in 23.83.

Karim Murray of Invictus stormed to the line in the U20 Men 200m to win in 22.18 seconds, making the CARIFTA B standard of 22.19, which means he needs to equal or surpass that mark again by 5 March to make the cut.

Rasheem Brown, who returned home from Milligan College in Tennessee for the meet, won the U20 Men’s 100m in his season debut.

The U20 boys 800m final also saw Michael Smikle of Mustang Track Club holding off Victor Magalhaes of 345 Athletic Club to win the U20 800m in 1:58.33, attaining the CARIFTA A-standard for the event.

He spoke to after the event.

In the field, Daneliz Thomas brought spectators to life in the javelin, where she was the only U20 Women competitor. With a top throw of 40.97m, she’s set to represent the Cayman Islands for a sixth time at the CARIFTA Games.

In the U17 Boys 1500m, 345 Athletic Club teammates Levi Superville and Juan Pablo Valerio continued to show good form and running well within qualifying standards to take the top two spots. Superville crossed the line in 4:33.49, while Valerio was 4:33.79. For reference, both were more than a second on the day ahead of the automatic qualifying time of 4:36.71.

Ashante Graham was off her best in the U17 Girls Long Jump with 5.26m but she could breathe easily, having qualified with a leap of 5.45m a week earlier at the SW Isaac-Henry Track and Field Invitational in Jamaica.

Ashante Graham is set for a second trip to the CARIFTA Games.

See full results here: 2018 CUC Youth and CARIFTA Championships – Results

The Cayman Islands Athletic Association will announce the team in the coming days to travel to the Bahamas over the Easter Weekend. will have more on the athletes in the days ahead as well.

CUC Youth Championships: Day 1 results

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