It is a tradition for the Virgin Islands to showcase its top junior track and field team members at the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Junior Championships, which is considered one of the top junior meets in the world. It is the competition where future world champions, world record holders and Olympians start.
For example, V.I. Olympian Adrian Durant as well as Olympian and world record holder Husain Bolt of Jamaica were both medal winners in the same 200m race at CARIFTA. Numerous V.I. National Track and Field team members have gone on to become college all-Americans, world number one in their events, regional champions or Olympians.
The 2016-17 track and field calendar got off to a great start with the staging of the V.I. National Track and Field Championships at the new IAAF certified track at the Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas. As major progress was being made with the staging of development meets and interscholastic meets for elementary, junior varsity and varsity meets between the islands, the track at the Educational Complex High School on St. Croix was closed for long needed repairs and upgrades. Then to have the track at Kean High School closed due to construction of the facility resulted in canceling the track and field season meets in the territory.
There are basically three serviceable tracks in the V.I., and of the three, none are usable for training or competition for the 2017 season.
Options available to athletes competing to qualify for V.I. National Track and Field teams are: to practice on existing sub-standard tracks or on open grass fields, or to travel outside the territory to compete.
The CARIFTA team selection this year (included in the process annually as well) is from the pool of athletes in college and those traveling outside the territory and/or who have established progress over the previous season since their training/competing has been hampered.
Funding for the Virgin Islands National Junior CARIFTA team is provided by a competition grant from the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC).
2017 Virgin Islands National Junior CARIFTA Track and Field Team:
Males Under 20:
Rodney Griffin of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, St. Croix Track Club 200m, 400m
Bartholomew Peter of Indiana Tech University, 200m, 400m
Lamar Miller St. Croix Track Club, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, 100m
Ahmed Joseph Cheetahs Track Club, Charlotte Amalie High School, Javelin, long jump
Evan Jones St. Thomas Track Club, Gift Hill Academy, 5000m
Females Under 20:
*Nia Jack St. Croix Track Club, Alabama State University, 100m, 200m
Myia Dorsey Purdue University, 100m
Anelia Austrie St. Croix Track Club, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, high jump, triple jump
Males Under 18:
**Valance Modeste St. Croix Track Club, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, 200m, 400m
Females Under 18:
**Mikaela Smith St. Croix Track Club, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, 800m, 1500m
**Nyim Berry Track Team Massive Track Club, Charlotte Amalie High School, 200m, 400m
Team Leader: Mireille Smith, St. Croix Track Club
National Coach: Keith Smith, St. Croix Track Club
National Coach: Dale Joseph, Cheetahs Track Club
*Nia Jack has sustained an injury and will not compete at CARIFTA
**Athletes seeking qualification for Youth Olympic Games
1] For Olympic sports and IAAF, VITFF sanctioned sports, the team is addressed as “The Virgin Islands” with the assigned code (ISV) for the Virgin Islands USA
2] The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is addressed as “The British Virgin Islands”
3] For sports, these are two separate countries as recognized by national, regional, international and Olympic sports governing bodies. Other than geographic, the countries have no relationship to each other as relates to sports. The Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation (http://virginislandspace.org/vitff.html ) firstname.lastname@example.org governs the sport of track and field in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands Athletics Association (http://bvi.milesplit.com/ ) (email@example.com ) governs the sport in the BVI.
4] The pool of eligible athletes for CARIFTA junior championships reside in the Virgin Islands (not BVI) and abroad including the USA in college, etc.
5] CARIFTA track and field always falls on Easter weekend, which means that many college athletes are just coming out of indoor competition, so consideration is made based on their overall performance in past CARIFTA, regional and world championships the past year.
6] This year, given the lack of available local competition due to closure of tracks, athletes travel to venues outside the territory to compete and have their performances evaluated. Funding available, VITFF assists the clubs with getting potential qualifiers to these competitions.
7] Final team selection was made by the coaches and federation officials.