O’Neil triumphs, Joseph rises to the occasion, Harrikissoon makes it four straight and participating in her first event, Villafana dominates the female walk.
Guardian Group men combined to take the male cross country title while Sagicor women took the female title.
Port of Spain, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Around 4.30 pm on Sunday June 07, 2015 the anticipation, thrill, expectation and excitement that emanates from the CariFin Games cross country race was run off.
CariFin fans were anxious and excited as ever to see who the winners would be; as they converged on Sevilla golf course. When the race started it sought to settle a number of scores; like who is the best overall runner and walker in the series, as well the cross country team winners. Kristy Comissiong, Sagicor’s team captain said excitedly, “We knew we had a strong team going in and Adona would take first place and overall, but we were pleasantly surprised to learn we took the female cross country by our top female performances, this is just motivation for us to do much better in the future after only three years in the competition.”
In the male cross country race Ryan O’Neil of Guardian Group who won the previous races in the series took command of the three- lap cross country race very early, after about 400 meters as they entered the golf course. At the end of the first 2.2k lap he had already opened up a 30 seconds gap which increased to a 2.16 lead at the end of the 7.2k course. He eventually won in a time of 30.30. Kris Deonanan also of Guardian Group was in second position after the first lap leading the pack of runners. If only he could have held on to that position to the end. John Donaldson the 2014 cross country champion and Scotiabank’s Alvin Brown a first timer in the event ended in front of him in 32.46 and 32.48 respectively. Deonanan was in fourth spot for 33.10. Jedidiah Benjamin of RBC Bank who finished second was only to complete the three lap course 33.29 for 5th position coming off participating in the ‘Fusion’ race on the Saturday.
“I am just feeling happy as I won, everyone likes to win.” said Ryan O’Neil after his fourth consecutive win in the series. He felt that his football fitness was what had given him the edge and guided him through all the events. His advice to would be aspirants who would like to reach his level was, “Train hard and never give up!”
Guardian Group copped the winning cross country team title of the combined time of their top three finishers (O’Neil, Kris Deonananan and Corey Joseph 30.30+33. 10+36.06 30.30+33.10+36.06 = 99.46.
Adona Joseph of Sagicor culminated a great CariFin season by crowning it off by winning the female cross country title. She had two second placings in the One Lap Savannah and the Green Mile and two firsts in the Chancellor Challenge and the Aerobics Burnout. Joseph was able to claim victory easily in 25.41 as she didn’t have strong competition in the race and ran the race in her own zone. She was quite elated after her Sevilla win. Her closest competition would of come from Jillette Landeau of Guardian Group who was also a ‘Fusion’ participant the day before and finished 1.25 minutes behind and did a time 26.26 for second place. Third place went to Simone Balkissoon of Guardian Group who completed the 2 lap journey in 28.12. Vitra George of Sagicor took fourth place honours with a time of 28.58 and 5th spot went to Stacyann Jack of First Citizens who completed the race in 30.41. “I must say it was quite challenging, was Joseph’s feelings after the race. “My teammates and I ran a couple days in the Queen’s Park Savannah Hollows just to get an idea of what to expect. I must say, that was quite misleading as the Sevilla Golf Course was 10 times more intense but this also made my victory a more fulfilling one. I look forward to 2016.”
Team Sagicor women runners combine times for their top three runners was the lowest aggregate time in the female cross country team title. The top three were Adona Joseph, Vitra George and Danielle Cazabon 25.41+ 28.58+ 30.57 = 84.56.
In the walk Deodath Harrikissoon of First Citizens didn’t have an easy day as he was one of the people who also participated the day before in the Fusion race but held on to the lead on the 2.2k course to ensure his fourth lien on the title and bringing glory to First Citizens. He completed the race in 18:51. He noted after his victory in the walk, “Winning for the 4th time feels great, knowing I dominated the walking category.” In second place was Clem Jubrasingh of RBC Bank with a time of 19.44 and Christopher Reid of Guardian Group in 20.54 for third.
Among the female first timers Christine Villafana representing Republic Bank impressed on the day by winning the female walk in 20:52. She was elated after and said, “As a first time participant all I wanted was to have fun, placing first was not on my mind. After learning I dethroned the 3 time fun walk winner, I felt nothing short of victorious!! I hope to participate next year and build a streak for myself.” Aliya Marisa Henry unbeaten thus far after three events in the series had to take second place with a time of 20.58. Tessa Weeks also representing Republic Bank in third place. Republic bank took all top three places.
For the fun run another 1 lap event the male finishers are Dirk Boyce was the winner followed by Caleb Wales and Louis Garraway.
For the women Wendy Shallow won, followed in 2nd place by Joy Ryan and Alicia Johnson-Steward in 3rd.
We would like to thank the following sponsors who have supported us so far. Bluewaters the official water of the games. Subway – The official Sandwich, Brixel Design Studio, Unicom, Lezama Electrical, TATEC Limited, Massy Motors, Massy Finance, True Green, Eastern Credit Union and Topmark Limited.
The nine teams participating in CariFin Games this year are:
Unit Trust Corporation