By Christopher Tobutt
The four teams, Marlon, Wahoo, Tarpon and Dolphin battled it out at the Truman Bodden stadium all day long in the hot sun. In the end, Tarpon Academy won overall with 1016 points, with Wahoo close behind with 961 points, Dolphin third with 950 points, and Marlin fourth with 845 points. But Marlin Academy won the exciting cheerleading competition – the cheerleaders resplendent in honey bee yellow outfits with smart stylish hats.
Two of the reasons Tarpon did so well were year 11 Davonte Howell (Tarpon) - who won all of his events and is running at CARIFTA times and for the Girls from year 10 Aaliyannah Anderson (Tarpon) who again dominated her age group with top times in each event. “Today I have won the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 400 meters. I train every day, other than Friday and Sunday,” Davonte said. He is hoping to go to CARIFTA later in the year, and actually qualified last year too, but CARIFTA wasn’t held because of covid-19. “I feel really good, it was a good run,” Aaliyannah said as she caught her breath when recovering from the 200m, just one of the events at which she shone.
But there were more young star athletes, too. In Year 10, the Dophins’ Jerrell Maize who just turned 15, won 100m and won the 200m. 16-year-old Amanda won the 400m, with a big effort she put in a very impressive lead over the rest of the pack.
Jon Clark Principal at John Gray High School said: “We’ve had a fantastic day so far. We started off in the gymnasium where we had our cheerleader competition that was won by Marlon academy, and now we’ve got a really fierce competition on the track. We’ve had the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the 400 meters and the 800 meters, and we’ve got the relays to finish when everyone gets really excited.
“We’ve already done so many events before in school-time, like high-jump, long-jump and shot-put. We’ve awarded those medals today as well, and MP’s Barbara Conolly and David Knight presenting those awards. This is a really fierce inter-academy challenge.
“Davonte is one of our CARIFTA team athletes. Every year he’s been winning things for us. He came up from primary school and he’s been winning just about everything since he’s been at John Gray; an outstanding young man in Year 11.”
Lots of work went into this year’s success for Tarpon, and the young athletes who got their medals are justifiably proud of their achievement. But we also have to recognize Marlin Academy cheerleaders who not only one first place with their amazing cheerleading routine, but have actually won for the fifth year in a row. Wendy Maxwell, their teacher and instructor, saw to it that the girls put on their best performance ever on the big day. “We practice hard and the children do very well and I am super-proud of them. We started training in November, and we meet every morning to get it done,” she said.