: Newsday : Jonathan Ramnanansingh : 22.05.2022
North/West were crowned champions of the 2022 Republic Bank/National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) Relay Festival at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Sunday.
After 29 relay events, the victorious zone topped the field with 242 points while North/East were second with 202 points and South/Central third, with 167 points. Tobago rounded off the four zones with 60 points.
In the feature event, men's 4x200 metre relay, North/West were led to a nail-biting win courtesy Ariel Kerr, Josiah Wilson, Nickili Lewis and Omari Lewis. The quartet clocked a golden one minute, 27.20 seconds (1:27.20) to pip North/East's (1:27.22) at the line.
Running for North/East were Kengel Christopher, Elijah Joseph, Kirdell McIntosh and Jyasi Murray while South/Central's (1:28.14) Nyame Andrews, Malachi Heywood, Chazz Alexander and Cyrus Charles finished third.
Omari, who ran the last leg for North/West and fought off a persistent Murray for the win, said he was elated to have anchored his zone to victory and by extension, the overall relay festival title. He said he was happy with the turnout of fans for the festival.
"It was tough but it was well worth it. People have no idea how important spectators are to us track athletes. They keep us going. They motivated my team and the others to give their best effort out here. It wasn't easy but we're happy for the win. Athletics is back," he said, almost breathless after the main race.
In the women's equivalent, North/West (1:37.59) also powered to victory over South/Central (1:38.57) and North/East (1:43.11), respectively. North/West's Caliyah Wallace had a strong start out the blocks, but South/Central Mauricia Prieto kept on her heels.
The two zones dominated the race but North/West held on for the win with anchor Shaniqua Bascombe bettering Danae David on the final leg.
Both races were roared on by the crowd in the covered section at the stadium - the biggest turnout for track and field since pandemic restrictions were lifted by the TT government in February.
North/East showed grit in the U-20 men's 4x200m relay event and won gold in 1:27.17. Their quartet of Shakeem McKay, Josiah Peters, Jasiah Franklyn and Jaden De Souza defeated North/West (1:27.87) and South/Central (1:27.90).
Another crowd favourite was the senior mixed sprint medley which saw female athletes run the opening two 100m legs followed by two males contesting the 200m and 400m distances on the final two legs.
Here, North/West zone (1:35.38) powered to victory.
The Cougars' pair of Reneisha Andrews and Bascombe had a strong start for North/West as South/Central's Kamaria Durant and Prieto trailed closely behind.
But North/West's male pair of Nickili Lewis and Joshua Williams held their own to the end as they trumped South/Central's Jeremy Charles and Aaron Cardinez over the final two legs to win gold.
South/Central (1:36.76) finished in silver medal position while another one of their teams held on to bronze (1:37.40).
Senior 4x800m - 1. North/West (8:55.36); 2. North/West B (9:27.16); 3. Tobago (9:36.83)
U15 4x400m - 1. North/West (4:00.96); 2. South/Central (4:01.88); 3. North/West B (4:05.03)
U11 4x100m - 1. Cougars (1:03.63)
U13 4x100m - 1. Abilene Wildcats (58.27s); 2. Cougars (1:02.11)
U15 4x100m - 1. South/Central (52.06s); 2. North/West (52.65s); 3. North/East (53.46s)
U17 4x100m - 1. North/West (47.63s); 2. South/Central (49.17s); 3. North/East (52.61s)
U17 4x400m - 1. South/Central (4:17.51); 2. Tobago (4:20.06); 3. North/East (4:24.03)
Women 4x100m - 1. North/West (45.47s); 2. South/Central (45.52s); 3. North/East (48.27s)
Women Protective Services 4x100m - 1. TT Fire Service (53.44s); 2. TT Masters (54.59s); TT Air Guard (56.35s)
U11 4x100m - 1. Cougars (1:02.69); 2. Abilene Wildcats (1:03.93)
U13 4x100m - 1. Cougars (52.81s); Abilene Wildcats (58.67s)
U15 4x100m - 1. North/West (46.56s); 2. South/Central (48.10s); 3. North/East (48.60s)
U17 4x100m - 1. North/West (43.04s); 2. North West B (44.38s); 3. North/East (44.51s)
U17 4x400m - 1. North/West (3:25.21); 2. North/East (3:32.64); 3. North/West (3:32.64)
U20 4x100m - 1. North/West (42.12s); 2. South/Central (42.44s); 3. North/West B (43.76s)
U20 4x400m - 1. North/West (3:22.43); 2. North/East (3:24.43); 3. North/West B (3:24.42)
Men 4x100m - 1. North/West (41.58s); 2. North/East 41.72s); 3. South/Central (41.98s)
Men Protective Services 4x100m - 1. TT Air Guard (44.24s); 2. TT Regiment (45.53s); 3. TT Regiment B (45.90s)