GB Elite takes on Millrose Games

EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME – The GB Elite Track Team is pictured with former Olympic champion Sonya Richards-Moss, at back, centre, upon arrival to the 2020 Millrose Games held February 8 in New York City, New York. Also pictured at back from left to right are Keon Williams, Montel Colebrooke, Terrence Jones, Shatalya Dorsett, Erin Barr and coach Jerial Forbes. Pictured at front from left to right are Adrian Williams, Amare Allen and Levonndre Moxey. (PHOTO COURTESY OF GB ELITE)

Since 1914 the Millrose Games, an indoor track and field event held annually in New York City, New York, has been a melting pot of athletic talent competing at the highest level.

On February 8, 2020, a few of Grand Bahama’s junior talent were integrated into that recipe as the All-Star group under the guise of “GB Elite Track Club,” took part in this year’s festivities. The team comprised of six athletes selected from Heats Athletics and three athletes chosen from Neymour’s Athletics. 

Out of the nine local athletes, eight of which actually competed, 2019 CARIFTA gold medallist in the 400 metres Terrence Jones (Heats Athletics) would lead the GB contingent with a first place finish in the Sanford Udis 300m Dash. Jones, who currently ranks number one among juniors in the world over 200m (21.03 seconds), clocked 33.65 seconds. He finished shy of the meet’s record, which was left standing in 33.62 seconds. 

As for the other Heats Athletics athletes, Erin Barr placed ninth, with a personal best time of one minute and 7.75 seconds (1:07.75) in the Giorgy Santosy Youth Girls’ 400m. Shatalya Dorsett finished eighth in the Millrose Foundation Girls’ 300m in a time of 42.09 seconds. 

Continuing with the remainder of the Heats Athletics roster, Montel Colebrooke finished ninth in the Sanford Udis Boys’ 300m in the time of 36.13 seconds. Keon Williams placed ninth in the Marine Corps Boys’ 600m in the time of 1:29.96. 

Akaya Lightbourne was also on the trip and set to compete in the New Balance Girls’ mile run, but her time going into the race (5:05.00) was not up to standard to compete in that event, Coach John Ingraham explained.

On the Neymour’s Athletics side, Amare Allen, Levonndre Moxey and Adrian Williams went on to place seventh, eighth and ninth respectively, in the Rob Moschetta Boys’ 400m. The trio clocked times of 1:19:21, 1:20.77, and 1:25.59. 

Overall, Ingraham was overly impressed with how hard his athletes competed over in New York. After he detailed their preparation for their first time competing indoors, he added that his athletes adapted quickly but noted there’s room for improvement for those five athletes.

“With Terrence’s performance it’s right where we want to be, 33.60 is fast right now; that’s like a 45-46 seconds pace in the 400m, especially for the indoors. He could have run faster, but he eased up at the line. He could have set the meet record, but he was so far ahead I guess he slowed up. But it’s something I’m going to work on with him, running through the line because times are important.”

As for the remaining athletes, Ingraham said, “Montel, he did an awesome job with this first indoors experience. He ran a 36-second race, which is like running 49 seconds (400m) indoors. In previous times, if you run 49 seconds indoors you can run 47 or 48 seconds outdoors if you execute right. That’s huge progress for him.

“With Keon the reason he got beat, to me, was that his race was called early and he didn’t have enough time to complete his warm-ups. And the conditions over there were extremely cold, around 20-30 degrees that day.

“Shatalya, she’s 13-years old and did a tremendous job keeping up with some of the older girls (Under 20) her race. She kind of gave up coming close to the line but I’m trying to instill that no matter what you have to run for time - that’s important. Her 42 seconds was good as well which would have on pace to run maybe 59 seconds indoors; so, we’re looking for her to be in the 56-57 seconds range this year outdoors.

“For Erin, they didn’t have her event - the 800m and 1500m, so she ran the 400m set a personal best. Her PB prior to that was 1:13.00, which was a huge drop especially indoors, which means she could probably run faster outdoors. That was a great trial for her.”

Forbes later chimed in and discussed he was pleased with how nine-year old Amare handled himself being the youngest sprinter in that race with his teammates. 

“I was so proud of him because he would have run much faster than he ran at his house sports. He ran 1:32.00 during house sports and ran 1:19.00 at the Games. So that’s a very big personal best weeks away from his house sports.

“Adrian is my 800m youth runner and I think he did extremely well. It’s still early in the season for him - he had a late start but he definitely did an amazing job. We’re going to look at where he was weak and build that up. We’re targeting the AAU Junior Olympics later this year for him to compete at. 

“Levonndre typically runs the 200m and we wanted him to get out there and compete early and build up his speed endurance. We think that was accomplished. His next event he’ll be much better and he has a lot of talent moving forward.

 “Moving forward the athletes are going to work harder and push harder but I must say everyone did extremely well. The event was perfect and we were so grateful to be a part of it. To everyone who supported us we want to say thank you,” he concluded.

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