ISV Golfer Maintain Solid Marks for Medal Contention

U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) golfers increased in rankings on Tuesday, and maintain an opportunity for medal contention after two days of competition at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

Amira Alexander and Kevin O’Connell are representing Team ISV in the women’s and men’s golf events. O’Connell, 36, jumped three spots to tie for 6th place after round two on Tuesday. Alexander, 24, rose one spot and is tied for third place—maintaining a solid reach for a medal with just two more days of competition to go.

After ranking fourth on the first day of play with +2 over par, Alexander, who hails from St. Thomas, ended round two on Tuesday just one over par and placing second for the day, which ultimately rose her into third place overall.

The rainy weather, a rare occurrence in Barranquilla according to residents, was a major factor to consider for both golfers after the tournament had to be delayed twice because of downpours and thunder.

“The first couple of holes were a little shaky, but I feel like my rhythm is coming,” Alexander said. “The breaks are kind of annoying, but I’m just trying to keep my mind in the game.”

Alexander, who has been doing physical training and competing in several mini tour and open events to prepare for the CAC Games, said the course has some challenges that she plans to focus moving forward.

“I’ve noticed the greens are a little tricky on some holes. Some of them go a little faster, some go slower, so I just need to pay attention to that when I get to those holes, and make sure I make a firm put for each downhill and uphill puts that I have,” she said.

With two more days to go, Alexander says she feels good about her pace so far and looks forward to the rest of the tournament.

Athletics and Men’s Basketball begin competition for Team ISV at the 2018 CAC Games

The U.S. Virgin Islands Olympic Committee announced, on Sunday, the results of their delegation’s Athletics and Men’s Basketball teams’ first day performances at the 2018 CAC Games, as well as an update on beach volleyball.

Team ISV’s Athletics team had four athletes compete in semifinal races Sunday evening.  Laverne Jones and Nia Jack both ran the women’s 100m race.  Fred Dorsey III competed in the men’s 100m, and Malique Smith ran the men’s 800m race.

Eduardo Garcia, 25, competed in the men’s 10,000m final and finished 8th with a time of 31:48.41.

Smith, 20, ran a time of 1:52.86, a season best, to place 9th in his 800m semifinal race.

Doresy, 22, ran a time of 10.59 and placed 7th in his 100m semifinal race. Jack, 19, finished 7th with of time of 11.93.  Jones, 36, ran a time of 11.69 and placed 7th.

“Going into this race, I wanted to run a season best, because I was lacking competition, so I did that in the first round.  Advancing to the semis was the goal, and then I’m not making any changes until my coach reviews the race and he tells me I need to make changes,” Jones said.

Men’s Basketball also began on Sunday, where Team ISV was defeated by host country, Colombia, 82-72.

The ISV Women’s Beach Volleyball team defeated Panamá, however, in two back to back sets.

Monday begins Golf and Archery for Team ISV, as well as a continuation of Athletics, Beach Volleyball and Men’s Basketball.

Beach Volleyball and Fencing Kickstart Second Week of VI Competition at 2018 CAC Games

The second and final week of competition began on Saturday for the U.S. Virgin Islands delegation with Men’s and Women’s Beach Volleyball, as well as Fencing.

Both the men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams lost their matches against Cayman Islands and Venezuela, respectively. Fencer, Theodore Weller, 28, was defeated by Anthony Deans of Jamaica, 15-8, in the Men’s Individual Sabre Round of 16.

The men’s beach volleyball team, represented by Edward Peter, Jr., 23, and Miguel Lopez, Jr., 18, lost two back to back sets against the Cayman Islands to end the match 2-0. Peter said the high heat and humidity are major factors to consider moving forward.

“I feel we played okay [considering] that my partner is new,” he said. “I feel like our strategy for the next game: we just keep hydrated and just be ready and play hard.”

Lopez, who is traditionally an indoor volleyball player, is competing in his first major beach volleyball tournament, and expects to adjust more and more to the sand over the coming days.

“The transition is very difficult, but adjustments during the game coming easier and easier [with] each point. The more you play and the more you can adjust, the more the game kind of comes to you,” he said. “If you can play volleyball indoors, it’s just slight adjustments on the sand that’s going to make the game come easier.”

Amber Bennet, 26, and Mannika Charles, 30 are representing Team ISV in women’s beach volleyball. They also lost back to back sets against Venezuela to end the game 0-2.

Bennett said the team didn’t make any errors, but they need to do more than that when competing at this level.

“You really have to put the ball away, and I think tomorrow that’s going to be the main thing that we’re going to focus on: being okay with making more mistakes, but being more aggressive,” she said.

On Sunday, the women’s team will be playing Panamá, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. The men will be playing Curaçao and México.

Team ISV also begins competition on Sunday in Athletics and Men’s Basketball, where the team will be playing host country, Colombia.

VI Women’s Basketball Place 5th Overall, Hedrington Completes Successful Surgery

The U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) Women’s Basketball team beat out Guatemala, Barbados, and Jamaica to place fifth out of eight teams at the 2018 Central and American and Caribbean Games.

Team ISV finished with three wins in a row after a slow start to the tournament in the preliminary rounds, and after losing several players including forward Cheyenne Hedrington who tore her Achilles’ tendon in their game 2 loss against Cuba on Saturday, July 21.

The team initially announced that Hedrinton, 24, would have her surgery in the United States. Hedrington was advised and agreed afterword to have the surgery as soon as possible. The surgery took place in Barranquilla yesterday morning at the Laboratorio Clínica Portoazul.

Hedrington was discharged from the hospital on the same day, is doing well and in good spirits, according to Virgin Islands Olympic Committee President Angel Morales.

The team’s head coach, Clint Williams said he is very proud of team despite the challenges they faced, including injuries.

“The girls did a great job of getting treatment from Jerry [Smith] and Paul [Almonte], our trainers, and being ready to compete each day. It was a lot of fun, and good experience for our ladies,” Williams said. “The future of our women’s national team is extremely bright!”

St. Croix Sailor Wins First Medal for USVI at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games

Peter Stanton, 34, won a bronze medal for the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Open Sunfish class for Sailing on Wednesday, the first medal for the USVI in the 2018 CAC Games.

Stanton, who hails from the island of St. Croix, competed against 12 other sailors in his class over the course of the 6-day regatta at Puerto Vela in Barranquilla. Lester Luis Hernández Martínez of Cuba took home the silver medal and David Misael Hernández Guzmán of Guatemala won gold.

“Since 2003, I’ve been trying to medal at one of these games. It’s a huge monkey off my back for not getting fourth,” he said. “Probably one of my bigger accomplishments in sailing.”

The Crucian sailor solidified his 3rd place standing in the last race of the regatta on Wednesday by placing 2nd after hovering in the middle of the pack throughout week. He won the bronze medal by one point over Augustin Lazaro Lugo from Puerto Rico.

Team ISV was also represented by Mayumi Roller, 27, who, competed in the Radial Laser Class. Roller, who was happy to improve every day over the course of the regatta, placed 7th out of 11 competitors overall. Strong winds proved to be the largest battle for the sailors, according to both Roller and Stanton.

“The conditions here are real challenging and it’s real windy, so I’m pretty beat up physically…,” Stanton said.

That didn’t stop the bronze medal winner who entered the last race in 5th place overall, despite some equipment issues, and said he’d planned to focus on simply enduring the winds more in the last three races.

“That’s what sailing is. It’s when there’s more wind, your just hiking harder and just everything is just so much harder,” he said. “I like to think that everyone is in as much pain as me when I’m sailing.”

Stanton will be traveling to Chicago in a few days to compete in the 2018 USSCA North American Championship, where he hopes to qualify for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Team ISV Women’s Basketball Suffers Losses in Games and Players during 2018 CAC Tournament, Remain Confident Moving Forward

The U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) National Women’s Basketball team remain confident after suffering two losses and completing their 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games preliminary round with a 1-2 series on Sunday.

Team ISV played host country, Colombia, as well as Cuba and Jamaica respectively over the last three days. They lost to Colombia, 55-67, and to Cuba, 81-54. However, they did defeat Jamaica by a massive 30 points with a score of 67-37 in the final preliminary round game on Sunday.

The team’s head coach, Clint Williams, said that when he joined the team last year, he wanted to focus on adding more talent to support the team’s seasoned players, which proved fruitful when they became the 2017 Centrobasket Champions in St. Thomas last summer, as well as achieving a highlighted upset over Brazil, ranked 9th in the world, in the 2017 Americup. It’s an element that gave the team confidence moving into this year’s CAC Games.

“I feel like our athleticism is what helped us, and it kind of added some more pieces and some more help around the core—Lanese Bough, Victoria Hamilton, Natalie Day—those three young ladies have been playing for 10 plus years on the national team,” he said. ‘So, we added some pieces like Anisha George, homegrown talent that’s young, you know, Imani Tate—pieces like that, that were able to come in and help us right away. So, I felt like that definitely gave us a big boost.”

In their 2018 CAC Games debut against Colombia on Friday, July 20, Team ISV competed in a packed house and came out ending the first quarter with a two-point lead. However, after a stagnant second quarter with an only 4-17 point rally, the team never gained enough momentum in the second half to bring it home. Tate, 22, who played every minute of the game brought in nearly half the points for the team with a solid 60 percent conversion rate from the three-point line.

The squad suffered a similar fate the following day on Saturday against Cuba—leading the first quarter by one point, falling behind in an 8-19 rally in the second, and then struggling to get back on their feet throughout the final half. Day, a 28-year-old forward, and Tate, a shooting guard, both gave the team double digit numbers, 11 and 15 points respectively. The team’s 25-year-old point guard, Bough, who contributed three rebounds and two assists, came up just short with nine points.

Unfortunately, Game 2 against Cuba ended with Cheyenne Hedrington, 24, suffering a major injury. The ISV forward tore her Achilles’ tendon in her left foot. Hedrington will not play for the remainder of the tournament, but plans to stay and support her teammates. She will be having surgery when she returns the United States, according to Coach Williams.

Coach Williams said lack of training has been a major contributor to the squad’s performance in the tournament. The team only had a couple days of training camp in St. Thomas prior to the CAC Games and few days of practice upon arriving in Barranquilla.

“We can’t finish at the rim like we normally do, shots are flat, can’t make layups…,” Williams said. “When we’re not in shape, we can’t sustain that for the rest of the game. We just fell behind and [couldn’t] get out that hole we dug ourselves into.”

Bough agreed saying that the team knew they weren’t in the best condition to compete, however she believes that the unity of the team is what gets them through the games and keeps them going moving forward.

“We just need to stick together. We get tired. We’re a small group, so throughout 40 minutes of play, we’re going to get tired, so we just need to stick together at the ending. In the games ahead, we’re going to have to learn how to do that,” she said after their loss against Cuba.

Bough words were heard loud and clear in their sweeping win against Jamaica on day three after back to back losses. The team will play Barbados today for overall placement, where they’ll have a shot to increase their rank within the tournament amongst the eight teams competing.

Coach Williams remains very confident in the overall talent and potential of the team moving beyond these games. “I definitely feel like we have the athletes and we’re more athletic, but if we’re not in shape, then that doesn’t count,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time in this tournament to get in shape, but we’re still feeling confident and taking it one game at a time.”

Bough added that she and her teammates plan to stay positive, play their best, and work hard to get better as a unit.

“As a team, we was just trying to make the best of it, because we wasn’t prepared like how we was last year, so we just tried to make the best of our competition ahead of us yesterday, today and whatever we have forward,” she said. “So that’s what we’re doing right now, playing together, staying together, enjoying our little time that we have here [sic]. ”

This is the first time the USVI’s national women’s team has played in these games since their 2010 appearance in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico where they placed fourth overall after losing in the bronze medal match against Jamaica.

Sanes Doubles Down on VI Swimming Records at CAC Games

U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) swimmer, Adriel Sanes, 19, broke numerous ISV swimming records on Saturday in the second day of competition at the 2018 CAC Games.

Sanes beat the best ISV times on record in the men’s 100m breaststroke and the men’s 200m individual medley (IM), twice in each event, while also qualifying to compete in each events’ Final B round. He also broke the ISV 50m breaststroke record during his 50m split of the 100m breaststroke Finals B round with a time of 29.27 seconds.

During the 100m breaststroke event, Sanes broke the record with a time of 1:04.37 in his first heat and then topped it again in the finals round in 1:03.71. He additionally broke the 200m IM record in his first heat with 2:10.29, and then again in the finals round in 2:09.53.

Sanes placed second in both Final B event appearances.

ISV Swim Team Finish Strong on First Day of Competition

The U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) swim team had a strong finish after day one of competition at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games on Friday, ending with several athletes advancing to medal rounds and a new U.S. Virgin Islands record.

Team ISV advanced to the men’s 200m butterfly final, and automatically advanced to the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay final. Carter Maltby, 15, also advanced to the women’s 400m freestyle final. All three finals were completed the same day.

Though they did not medal in their finals appearances, Frank Odlum, president of the USVI Swimming Federation, said he was very pleased with the team’s overall performance, especially since most swimmers dropped seconds off their best times.

“We tell the kids all the time that they’re racing themselves, so each one of them dropped time and made improvements,” Odlum said. ‘They just swam at the [Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation Championships] two weeks ago, so to drop time from just two weeks back—we’re very pleased with that.”

One of the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team members, Adriel Sanes, 19, said he felt comfortable going into today’s competition. “It was a good start to the meet. I felt good in the water, so as the days go on I know it’ll be even better,” he said.

Matthew Mays, 19, made a lifetime best and broke his own Virgin Islands record in the men’s 200m butterfly with a time of 2:05.48 in his first heat. He said the team is used to long meets such as this and warming up, rolling out, and keeping your body in racing condition is key.

Webster Bozzo, 18, was proud to drop a second off his best time in the men’s 100m freestyle, with a time of 53.30, in his first ever CAC Games appearance.

“This is a first time, big swim meet for me like this so it was kind of nerve wrecking at first, but when I got out there it was just amazing,” he said. “It’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing you get to do.” Moving forward through the next few days of competition, Odlum said Team ISV is ready and anxious to get in the pool.

“Just the fact that they meet the qualifications to come, they don’t need any motivation. They train more than ten hours a week. They are there every day except Sunday training [at home],” he said. “It’s easy. We don’t have to motivate them, we don’t have to coax them, they want to come.”

On Friday overall, Team ISV competed in the mixed 4x100m medley relay, men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, men’s 200m butterfly, men’s 100m freestyle, women’s 50m backstroke, and women’s 400m freestyle.

Delegation of Virgin Islands Athletes set to compete in 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games

BARRANQUILLA , Colombia – The Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC) announced that a delegation of 70 Virgin Islanders will be participating the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Baranquilla, Colombia from July 19 to August 3, 2018.

The CAC Games, is a multi-sport event which occurs once every four years and includes athletes from Central America, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, and Colombia. This year’s games will host 37 countries and over 5,000 athletes competing in 470 events.

The U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) delegation, which consists of athletes, coaches and support staff, will be participating in several competitions, including archery, athletics, basketball, fencing, golf, sailing, swimming, and volleyball.

Angel Morales, president of VIOC, expressed the Committee’s excitement for witnessing the athletes compete in one the region’s largest competitive sporting events.

“[The athletes] have put in a lot of hard work and sacrifices to qualify, and it is now their time to compete and make all Virgin Islanders proud,” he said.

The US Virgin Islands has been participating in the CAC Games since 1966 and has amassed a total of 50 medals, including 11 gold medals. During the last CAC Games in 2014, which took in Veracruz, Mexico, Team ISV took home six medals including one gold, two silver, and three bronze medals.