St. Vincent high school makes history again at Penn Relay Carnival

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — A squad of 11 students and four staff members from the Thomas Saunders Secondary School (TSSS) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) are currently in Pennsylvania, USA to participate in the 2012 Penn Relay Carnival.

The event has been existence since 1895 and attracts over 20,000 participants and represents one of the major athletics events in the world.

The participation by TSSS boys’ team at Penn in 2011 was historic as it was the first team from SVG participated.

This year, SVG is being represented by a girls’ team for the first time as Rossania Stephens, Nicky Ann Stephens, Kerina Hooper, Maranda Spencer and Shafiqua Maloney make it another historic first this year.

“For years members of the Vincentian diaspora in the USA have longed to be able to support a team from their own country and our participation is the continuation of a dream come true for them,” according to squad manager, Paulette Williams.

On Thursday, the female team will compete in the 4X100m at 11:10 and again at 3:00 for the 4x400m relays.

The management team also comprises Godfrey Harry, coach; Kamal Hunte, assistant coach; and Dawana Balcombe, chaperone.

The games run from April 26 to 28.

Athletes’ profiles

Brandon ‘Tha Machine’ Parris

Brandon ‘Tha Machine’ Parris is already making his name knows on the track circuit at home and abroad. The fifth former, who celebrated his 17th birthday on April 17, hails from the Fair Hall/Glen community. Brandon has chalked up an impressive list of championship appearances, including the IAAF World Youth Championships in Paris in 2011, the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games in Isle of Man and the 2011 Junior Pan Am Games in Miramar, Florida. The easy striding Parris is a middle-long distance runner who is not shy about tackling the sprints should the need arise. On his second Penn outing, he should prove an asset to the team headed for Pennsylvania.

Ronique ‘Sweetbread’ Dowers

Ronique ‘Sweetbread’ Dowers, a 19-year-old fifth former, hails from Diamond. This is his second trip to the prestigious Penn Relays, as he was a member of the team that made the historic first trip in 2011. A multi-faceted athlete, Ronique’s experience as well as his discipline on and off the field of competition will serve the team well in Pennsylvania.

Fifth form student, Desron “Gappy” Wilson, hails from the Central Kingstown community of Redemption Sharpes. An up and coming middle distance specialist, the lanky 15-year-old makes his maiden trip to the Penn Relays following his noteworthy performances on the track and in the long jump pit, at the recent Inter Secondary Schools Sports.

Desron ‘Gappy’ Wilson

Maranda Spencer, a jovial 16-year-old from Layou in Central Leeward, has her sights on a track scholarship. This skilled netballer is hoping that if she shines at the Penn Relays, she could very well catch the eyes of a scout or two and, who knows…

Fifth form sprinter Kezlon Providence hails from the East Kingstown community of Sion Hill. Coming from a commendable performance at the 2012 Inter Secondary Schools Track and Field Championship, Kezlon is looking to give a good account of himself as he represents Thomas Saunders Secondary School and by extension SVG abroad for the second time. TSSS head- boy 17-year-old Shaquille Browne is no

Maranda Spencer

stranger to the limelight, having represented TSSS, SVG and the Windward Islands as an outstanding youth cricketer at home and abroad. This time the multitalented Form 5-Business student, who resides in the East Kingstown community of Cane Garden, brings a combination of experience, commitment and discipline to the team headed to Pennsylvania.

From the Central Kingstown district of Montrose comes 16-year-old Abiola K.Z. Hinds. The Form 5 Arts student is another of Thomas Saunders’s multifaceted young athletes. He is expected to boost the fortunes of the sprint relay team at the Penn Relays.

Abiola K.Z. Hinds

TSSS head girl, 16-year old Rossania Stephens captained SVG’s Under-16 netball team at the OECS championship in St Kitts in 2011. This year she leads the first female team ever to represent SVG at the prestigious Penn Relays. A daughter of the South Leeward community of Campden Park, this Form 5 Arts student is travelling abroad to represent her school for the second time this year.

Kerina Hooper, left, hails from the Park Hill community. The 14-year old third former was named intermediate champ at the just concluded Inter secondary schools sports. One of the youngest members of the team, Kerina is already known for her dogged determination and drive.

Rossania Stephens

Sixteen-year-old Nicky-Ann Stephens is a fourth-former at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School. The lanky lass, who hails from the Central Leeward village of Buccament, has represented SVG at several regional and international meets, including the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games on the Isle of Man. She was named Victrix Ludorum following the just concluded 2012 Inter Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships. An outstanding athlete, Nicky-Ann will add depth and maturity to the Penn Relays team.

Thirteen-year- old second former Shafiqua Maloney of Richland Park in the Marriaqua Valley is the youngest member of the team. She was named most outstanding female athlete in the junior division of the 2012 Inter Secondary Schools Track and Field Championship. A talented all-rounder, she plays football, netball and runs sprints and middle distance events. She is expecting that this will be the first of many trips she will make to the prestigious Penn Relays.

From left: Kerina Hooper, Nicky-Ann Stephens, Shafiqua Maloney.

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9 thoughts on “St. Vincent high school makes history again at Penn Relay Carnival


    Posted by F.U.D.Z. | April 26, 2012, 07:30
  2. Good to see the young athletes making strides. I wish them many successes on their trip and in the year to come.

    Posted by Darrien | April 26, 2012, 10:14
  3. I always admire the indefatigably hard work and smart sporting decisions of my colleague, Fuzzy. Ever since he foresightedly recruited me to join him in having his former institution compete in the early training season against my North Union guys in Soccer and Netball. That level of early preparation was very beneficial to both our schools, as we would only meet in official competition in the very latest stages of the competition schedule — as we had strategically calculated.

    Godfrey Harry’s endurance, patience, and resourcefulness in coaching is truly amazing. He seems never to miss any index of every so slight improved performance of his, yes his, athletes. Fantastically, he has been at it for so many years, from a quite youthful age. I had an earlier stint at TOURAMA cricket and athletics, then returned essentially as specialized in table tennis much later on. Harry is deeply involved in several sports disciplines, but more so in track and field athletics, the very queen of the sports. He operates at school level, club level, national federation level, and at the inter-schools. I was privileged to share birthing as an SVG official with him at a Windward Islands Inter-Schools Games in ST. LUCIA some years ago. Godfrey performed splendidly, and was adept at motivating and incentivizing our young charges.

    There should be absolutely no doubt but that THOMAS SAUNDERS SS. would perform to their very level best, under the capable guidance of Godfrey “Fuzzy” HARRY and his experienced management team. Incidentally — life is so often filled with co-incidences — I may be biased in favour of TSSS, as Mr. Tommy Saunders’ charming sister was married all their natural lives to my grand-dad’s beloved first-cousin, George. So, then, GO TSSS AND HARRY AND CO! This Vincy is eagerly routing for you!

    Posted by STEVE_HUGGINS | April 26, 2012, 17:23
  4. I am extremely proud of the Athletic Team ; their Coach ; and the whole School , First I went to that School when it was a Primary School , and my Father Thomas M. Saunders was the Headmaster of the then Richmond Hill Government School .

    My brothers ;Sister and I

    are very proud of the fact that the School , when it was made a Secondary School , was named after our Father by the Government . I was enormously proud that when the School celebrated its 50 years ,
    I was passing there one day and saw that they had Sports day with the various Houses , I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of the Houses was named Saunders House .

    We have always taken a keen interest in the School and its activities ., and continue to do so . Obviously we were also proud of the fact that The Thomas Saunders Secondary School was the First Secondary School , in St. Vincent to go to the Penn Relays last year . If my father was alive , he would have been enormously proud of the Students and Teachers of the School , also our late Mother , who in your youth played Netball .

    I know that their Coach is also very good , I first swa him when he was the Coach of the SVG Netball Team . The co;our of their Blazers is also my favourite Colour , I wish them the Best of Luck at the Penn Relays . . The Vincentians living in New York and also in Pennsylvania are to be heartly commended , for Supporting the TSSS
    Athletes , their Coach , and other Personnel , and making them feel at home . This should inspire confidence in them to perform well .

    Posted by Chesley A. Saunders | April 27, 2012, 20:07
  5. Go TSSS am so proud of u guys. Good job by the girls yesterday and to the boys wonderful race yesterday also. Today boys God speed I know u all gonna ” eat ah food” lol lol and to my son Brandon “The Machine” Parris good luck and weeeeeeeee luvvvvvvv uuuuuu

    Posted by Lesanne Valentine | April 28, 2012, 07:21
  6. That’s one proud mom 🙂 The school, no doubt, is growing by leaps and bounds.

    Posted by Luke | April 28, 2012, 19:05
  7. FINE POST, LUKE. And, I do think that Ms. VALENTINE is a justifiably proud one, indeed.

    Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | April 30, 2012, 16:39
  8. Congratulations to the SVG young men and women for and outstanding and excellent performance at the Penn Relays 2012. I was frotunate enough to witness their performances this year and could not be any prouder as a Vincentian and aunt of Brandon Parris. These young men and women need our support so, I challenge each and everyone to find a way to help and assist in the development of our young people and the future of our beautiful Island. GREAT JOB!!!! To vincy section on Saturday – LOOKING GOOD!!! 🙂

    Posted by Dre Nix | May 1, 2012, 15:28
  9. SEEMS like THE MACHINE have the most famo up NARTH ?!! Wey to GO, guys !

    Posted by STEVE_ HUGGINS | May 1, 2012, 21:37

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