Barbados’ performance at the second North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Associations Age Group Under-13 and 15 Championship held over the weekend in El Salvador was tremendous, says manager Marvo Burke.
Team Barbados finished in the second position overall behind Trinidad and Tobago. Tia Applewhaite won overall gold in the Under-13 Girls pentathlon while Brieanna Boyce finished third overall in the Under-15 females’ heptathlon.
“We had a really good time. El Salvador was very good, good hotel, transportation issues non-existent, everything worked well. We felt that since the team was chosen and they went into the practice session with the coaches, they made tremendous strides in the few weeks they had with the coaches. I think these children have a bright future ahead,” Burke said when the team arrived home last night at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
The last time Barbados competed at NACACA age group two years ago in 2017, they placed fourth overall but came second this time around thanks to a collective effort by the eight-member junior team coached by Nikkisha Maynard and Randy Gooden.
Burke explained: “The truth is we thought that we would have had a stronger team last time. Samiya Dell won the under-13 girls the last time, but we did not finish second the last time, we came fourth overall. But this team everybody did personal best, which was a tremendous effort. They all stepped up, and we could not have asked for more from this team.”
Tia Applewhaite won the Under-13 Girls category scoring 2750 points while Trinidad and Tobago pair of Kaori Symayyah Robley  and Chloe Cilyse James  were second and third respectively. Applewhaite’s twin sister Tania finished eighth overall in the Under-13 Division with 2444 points.
Speaking on her performance, the 11-year-old Tia Applewhaite said she felt anxious during competition but was now excited at the final result.
“It was good, I got four personal best, and I did my best to keep going and I won,” she said about her performance against competitors from Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, United States Virgin Islands, among many others.
Meanwhile, Brieanna Boyce, the joint reigning champion of the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship, made her second appearance for Barbados at the NACACA age group competition and did a great job finishing third overall on 4017 points.
“I did my best; I had fun, I got personal best in everything I did and did the best that I could do and represented my country well,” she said.
Yusleyni Arbolaez Monterrey of Cuba placed first with 4154 points, and Janae Zakiya De Gannes of Trinidad and Tobago  finished second.
Skye Spencer- Layne was ninth overall for Barbados scoring 3766 points in the Under-15 girls while Josiah Parris’ 4760 points earned him sixth place in the Under-15 Boys and teammate O’Neil Cumberbatch 4588 was ninth in the standings.
For the Under-13 Boys, Aaron Massiah did his best but placed ninth with 2944 points while Keshawn Griffith  got him 11th spot.