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Strong surge for CAC places

Ezra Stuart

Strong  surge for CAC places

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SHOWCASING speed, stamina or strength, nearly a dozen athletes met qualifying standards during the two-day Louis Lynch Championships that ended on Sunday night at the National Stadium.
From the unheralded St George Secondary student Dequan Lovell and the emerging Sada Williams to the more fancied Mario Burke, Rivaldo Leacock and Romarco Thompson, they made a strong surge for places on this year’s CARIFTA, Central and American (CAC) Junior Championships and World Junior Championships teams with qualifying performances.
Pride of place went to Leacock, the talented 14-year-old Rising Stars and Lester Vaughan athlete, who raced to 53.50 metres in the Under-18 400-metres hurdles.
In the process, Leacock reached the qualifying marks not only for CARIFTA (54.50) in Martinique at Easter but also CAC (53.50) in Mexico, June 4-6.
Burke, the reigning CARIFTA Under-17 boys’ 100-metre champion, easily went past the 21.75 seconds required in winning that age group 200 metres in 21.27 from Pacers’ Kentoine Browne (21.99). The High Performance Programme (HPP) runner also eclipsed the CAC qualifying standard of 21.60.
It was a double delight for Freedom Striders’ Under-18 athlete Thompson as he qualified for both CARIFTA and CAC in the 200 metres with a time of 21.55 while finishing second behind the older Fallon Forde (21.25) in the Open Men’s race.
Thompson had also qualified for CAC (48.50) and CARIFTA (48.60) in the Under-18 boys’ 400 metres on Saturday night when he clocked 48.34 seconds in his heat of the Open Men’s quarter-mile, behind Pacers’ Christopher Davis (48.24). Thompson did not run in the final which was won by Davis in 48.02.
There was also good news for Williams in the Under-18 girls’ 200 metres as she triumphed with a CARIFTA (24.20) and CAC (24.10) qualifying time of 24.08. Only Saturday, the Coleridge & Parry schoolgirl barely missed the CARIFTA mark of 55.70 when she won the Under-18 girls’ 400 metres in 55.75 from Tiana Bowen (56.39).  
Pacers’ Akeim David is also expected to be confirmed as a qualifier in the new Octathlon Boy’s Under-20 event, after earning 729 addition points in the night’s final 1000 metres event, finishing second in 2:53.49 minutes to Barbados Under-17 cricketer, Chemar Holder (2:52.02).
David went into the race needing to run under 2:57.64 minutes to secure at least 696 more points.    
On the field, Lovell of the Cooperators General Elite Distance Programme tossed the shot put 15.08 metres to win the Under-20 boys’ event and surpass the 15 metres required for CARIFTA.
BC Trac’s Romario Antoine was second, marginally short of the mark with 14.70 metres.
Middle and distance runners Pius Emilien, Joshua Hunte and Dario Grandison also gave a sterling display of stamina that would have caught the eye of those responsible for selecting the CARIFTA team.
Emilien won the 800 metres in 1:55.37 minutes from Hunte (1:56.91), outside the CARIFTA Under-20 boys’ standard of 1:54. Hunte had won the 1500 metres the previous night in 4:05.78 minutes from Emilien (4:06.37), also failing to get the required 4:01.
Both Grandison (16:24.49) and Hunte (16:27.55) ran their hearts out in the gruelling Open Men’s 5000 metres, barely missing the CARIFTA qualifying mark of 16.05. Emilien (16:59.57) was third.
Twin brothers Romario Marshall (1:57.02) and Akeem Marshall (1:58.85) were also in range of the CARIFTA mark of 1:56 in Under-18 boys’ 800 metres. Akeem won the silver medal in the event at CARIFTA last year while Akeila Knight (2:21.78) of Freedom Striders, who won the Under-20 girls’ 800 metres needs to a go a bit faster to reach the CARIFTA standard of 2:11.15. The Under-18 girls’ race was won by the youngest competitor, HPP’s Tia Lewis in an encouraging 14-member field. The 14-year-old clocked 2:25.18 minutes and with some more work should be able to challenge the CARIFTA mark of 2:14.
The versatile 13-year-old Shonita Broomes of Elite Distance narrowly missed the Under-18 girls’ standard of 5.65 metres when she leapt 5.59 in the long jump, beating last year’s CARIFTA gold medallist Jalisa Burrowes (5.55) of HPP.
Queen’s  College’s Adam Niles (1.90) won the Under-18 boys’ high jump but needs to scale 2.00 metres for CARIFTA qualification.