Grand Bahama leads the way for Team Bahamas!
With a total of four gold medals, The Bahamas finished among the top 10 countries at the recently held Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. The four gold medals were won by Grand Bahamians.
With representation featured in eight categories, the country produced a total of seven medals - four gold, two silver, and one bronze over in Barranquila, Columbia.
For Grand Bahama in particular, the nation’s “Second City” can be proud that two of it’s very own led the way in the gold rush. Aquatics competitor Joanna Evans (3), and world class jumper Donald Thomas (1) collectively snagged all four gold medals for the country.
Evans, the Texas Longhorn swimmer was responsible for collecting five of those medals for the country.
The triple-gold medalist got off to a hot start when she struck gold on the first night of competition in the women’s 400 meters freestyle. She touched the wall in a time of four minutes and 16.63 seconds (4:16.63). She bested Mexico’s Allyson Alba Macias who finished with the silver medal in 4:17.39. Puerto Rico’s Kristen Romano captured the bronze in that event with a time of 4:20.01.
Evans’ momentum carried over into the women’s 200m freestyle where she came away with a national record setting performance on top of securing her second gold medal. Evans lowered her own national record and personal best time of 1:59.19, with a new standard of 1:58.03. Cuba’s Elisbet Gomez also turned in a sub 1:59 time of 1:58.55 to finish with the silver medal. Mexico’s Liliana Ibanez took the bronze in the time of 2:01.36.
She would later compete in the women’s 800m freestyle where she landed her third gold medal for the competition.The aquatic standout paced to a first place time of 8:44.53. Mexico’s Allyson Macias Alba trailed Evans to the wall to take the silver medal with a time of 8:45.92, while Costa Rica’s Helena Hernandez Moreno settled for the bronze and clocked 8:48.11.
Evans also took part in the women’s 100m freestyle. After she advanced to the finale, Evans went on to snag a silver medal in the time of 55.29 seconds. She finished behind Columbia’s Isabella Arcia, who touched the wall in a golden time of 55.21 seconds. Mexico’s Ibanez took the bronze in that race as well, in a time of 55.39 seconds.
She later secured her second silver medal of the Games in the women’s 400m individual medley. Evans clocked a 4:50.38. She finished behind eventual gold medalist Puerto Rico’s Kristen Roman, who finished ahead of the competition in a time of 4:46.31. Monika Gonzalez of Mexico snagged the bronze with a time of 4:52.13.
Margaret Higgs added a bronze medal in her appearance at the CAC Games. Higgs finished the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:30.83. The Mexican duo Bynaca Rodriguez and Esther Gonzalez hauled away the gold and silver respectively.
Thomas added another gold medal to his resumè with his first place finish in the men’s high jump. Thomas was declared the gold medalist on less attempts in clearing up to 2.28 meters. He reached that point without a miss but was unable to clear the bar when set higher. Nevertheless, he added his second CAC gold to an impressive resume.
Venezuela’s Eure Ruiz Yanez and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Jermain Francis, received the silver and bronze respectively.
Alonzo Russell also made it through to the men’s 400m final but came away with a sixth place finish with a time of 46.18 seconds.
The 4x400m quartet of Russell, Michael Mathieu, Stephen Newbold and Kendrick Thompson mustered a fifth place finish in the men’s 4x400m final. The team got the stick around the track in the time of 3:07.31.
Carl Hield finished fifth in the men’s welterweight class. He lost 3-2 to Puerto Rico’s Bryan Ojeda Polaco in the quarterfinals.
The men’s national team finished in sixth place with a 1-4 mark. Coached by Grand Bahama’s Quinton Hall, The Bahamas picked up their sole victory against the U.S Virgin Islands. They, however, dropped two contests to Mexico, 90-76 and 83-65 respectively, and lost their contest against the Dominican Republic, 84-77.
The men’s national softball team also turned in a sixth place finish and played their way to a 1-6 finish. The team finished the Games on a high note with a 5-3 win over Guatemala. The team had suffered five straight losses against Cuba, Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Antonio Lewis missed out on wins in his six foils contested in men’s fencing. As a result, Lewis finished 20th in the rankings.
Genaye Sherman also went winless in her five foils. She ranked number 18 at the conclusion of the competition.
Cynitha Rahming was eliminated from competition after she suffered a 12-0 loss to Columbia’s Keyla Vasquez in the women’s 57 kilogram (kg) class.
The Bahamas had four competitors who tried to earn medal status in the competition. In the men’s laser class Spencer Cartwright would finish ranked at number 11. The duo of James Lowe and Michael McSweeney ranked number 10 in the men’s snipe open. Paul De Souza also finished ranked at number 10 in the men’s open sunfish class.