CARIFTA Juniors Team Few in Numbers This Year Due to Challenging Circumstances

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V.I. Youth Olympian Mikaela Smith leads 800m race as freshman at Austin Peay Univ.
(Photo by Robert Smith, Austin Peay Univ. Athletics)

The 2019 V.I. National Junior CARIFTA Team will compete in the Cayman Islands, West Indies, during Easter weekend.

Female Under 20
Mikaela Smith — St. Croix Track Club, Austin Peay University 800m, 1500m
Female Under 17
*Michelle Smith — St. Croix Track Club, Interchanges Academy, 1500m
Ariana Edgar — St. Croix Track Club, St. Croix Educational Complex High School shot put, discus
Male Under 17
Tafari Lee — Cheetah’s Track Club; Ivana Eudora Kean High School 1500m
Malik Alexander — Cheetahs Track Club; Ivana Eudora Kean High School 100m, 200m

Team Leader — Mireille Smith, St. Croix Track Club
National Junior Coach — Keith Smith, St. Croix Track Club
National Junior Coach — Ileta Potter, Cheetah’s Track Club
*athlete achieved standard…under age…special waiver requested

The V.I. Track and Field Federation (VITFF) has announced that following a successful cross-country season, it has hosted nearly a dozen track and field meets over the past several months with the goal of identifying V.I. National Junior Track and Field Team members for 2019 international championships (e.g., CARIFTA Junior Championships, NACAC under 18 and under23 Championships, NACAC Age-Group Championships, Pan American under 20 Championships). Pending availability of funding, VITFF will field teams for these prestigious championships.

It’s been a challenging year for VITFF, its athletes and coaches because for the past several years the track and field facilities at Ivana Eudora Kean High School in St. Thomas and the St. Croix Educational Complex High School have been under construction, and the one at Charlotte Amalie High School is in disrepair and not accessible.

Officially, these circumstances, along with hurricane impact and interruptions of the work progress, have limited their use. Families were displaced as well. Notwithstanding these challenges, competitions were held thanks to VITFF member clubs St. Croix Track Club and V.I. PaceRunners on St. Croix and Cheetahs Track Club on St. Thomas. Permission was granted to utilize the track and field facilities by the principals of both high schools to stage VITFF development meets, Interscholastic meets for elementary, JV and varsity on St. Croix, and CARIFTA trials on St. Thomas.

The option to travel to Tortola for competition, until recently, was limited due to extensive hurricane damage to the facility there. Clubs took advantage of available opportunities to seek competition in Puerto Rico and the USA for qualifying marks.

While the opportunity to compete in available competition was open to all schools and clubs in the territory, not all were in a position to take advantage of it. As a result, the 2019 CARIFTA team is limited to five athletes with the exception of one athlete who will compete in the under 17 competition. Of the five, three made the standards, and the remaining two were closest to others in achieving the standards that are worthy in most CARIFTA competitions of advancing to the finals or semi-finals.

The VITFF urges athletes and coaches to seek eligibility and qualification marks for the following competitions for 2019: NACAC under 18 and under23 Championships, NACAC Age-Group Championships, Pan-American under 20 Championships, Pan-American Games and IAAF World Championships.

VITFF has scheduled the V.I. Track and Field Championships for June 8 on St. Thomas and a qualifying competition on May 18 on St. Croix.

To establish eligibility and qualification for VITFF logon to: http://virginislandspace.org/vitff.html or email: isv@mf.iaaf.org or wallacewilliams@msn.com

Original Source: https://stjohnsource.com/2019/04/20/carifta-juniors-team-few-in-numbers-this-year-due-to-challenging-circumstances/