High school athletes get a taste of the big stage at World Relays

The 2017 International Association of Athletic Federations World Relays presented an opportunity for the athletes of tomorrow to be put on display.
The junior segment of the World Relays featured the “One Island/One Lane” contest on day one, followed by the high school aspect on day two. The top-eight schools in each of the relays contested in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) Test Event last month in New Providence. The schools competed in the very same events that would be contested among the senior athletes during the Relays.
Four high schools out of Grand Bahama were on display this past weekend – Sunland Baptist Academy, Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy, Bishop Michael Eldon School and St. George’s High School.
The Freeport News caught up with BAAA special projects official Sandra Laing prior to the first slate of races on day one where she expressed that she was confident that Grand Bahama would put forth stellar performances.
When she looked at the high school edition she voiced, “Sunland should do pretty well. I think they’re in the sprint medley. And with Bryant (Lowe) being such a strong half-miler it’s going to be interesting between Sunland and St. George’s because Bryant and Tyrell (Simms) are strong half milers. Sunland is actually the champion from the Test Run. So I think it’s going to be a pretty good run between St. George’s and Sunland,” she expressed.
Laing furthered that in the female division the Bishop Michael Eldon female runners would be a force to be reckoned with. They had one of the strongest showings at the High School Nationals’ Test Run and expected St. Augustine’s and Queen’s College to give them a strong in this year’s high school races. 
The World Relays draws a different caliber of spectators and Laing felt that would be a strong “boost” to the high school athlete’s morale moving forward. She also expressed that it gave the junior athletes a taste of elite-level treatment in terms of going through accreditation, bussing and housing. 
Nonetheless, Laing thought that the athletes would be more settled rather than nervous in anyway, given the talent that would later be displayed. The junior athletes would also get to see some of their peers compete at the senior level during the event.
“I think it settles their nerves a little bit more. And I think for them when they see the athletes they would see on TV it’s like a boost for them. And I think it can do a lot for them in terms of seeing this is where they actually could be in a couple of years.
“And when you look at Brianne Bethel, who is right from their back yard and who is now competing at that level. And even Devine (Parker) who is in high school competing with the national team and also Wendira Moss – I think it says to them that we are basically on the same level as some of the elite athletes in terms of the times they’re running.”
A team is as strong as its weakest link and Laing voiced that in relays anything could happen. Along with not having any sort fear on the track, the BAAA official expressed that it takes a lot of “gelling” between the team members. She closed by further stating her confidence in the Grand Bahama teams, and also in the national team to find a lot of success during the World Relays.

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