The NSAF is pleased to announce the return of the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational and Team NSAF to Havana, Cuba for the 3rd time this year. As was the case in 2016, CSI will be incorporated into the historic Barrientos Memorial, which will take place Friday-Sunday, May 26-28, 2017.
Above: Team NSAF in Havana last year. Below: Hurdlers Trey Cunningham and Marcus Krah; hammer thrower Sydnee Walker; 800 runner Joy Ripslinger. All photos by Dr. Liz Wheeler Julich, NSAF Medical Staff.
The NSAF started the meet in 2006 in Puerto Rico, but in 2015 we were able to move the meet to Cuba (see this story for the history), giving our Team NSAF squad members – 28 strong each year – the amazing bounty of not only their first international team training and competitive experience, but the chance to do so as historic “athletic diplomats,” if you will, to the eternally unique city of Havana and it’s incomparable venue, Estadio Panamericano. It’s been something each of them will never forget – the team, the meet, the experience.
In 2015, Team NSAF – featuring record-setters and future world champions like Noah Lyles, Grant Holloway and Anna Cockrell – battled many top Cuban Youth and Junior athletes to produce two days’ worth of stellar performances. The hospitality shown Team NSAF by our Cuban hosts was also unforgettable, highlighted by an opening ceremony that featured outstanding musical performances and a finale that featured both NSAF and Cuban teams in the stage waving their national flags together!
Last year (see below), competing as part of the Barrientos Memorial, Team NSAF athletes also had opportunities to go up against Youth and Junior athletes from other Caribbean nations, plus Olympians and aspiring Olympians.
The NSAF administrative staff for CSI will likely include the following:
There’s no doubt, with additional nations and some older Junior and even Senior athletes involved, the competition was tougher than ever for Team NSAF in last spring’s CSI. But our kids shone brightly with several individual triumphs, some outstanding non-winning efforts, and a spectacular finish in final day’s relays – winning three of four.
First, it was a near-miss, but fast 45.38 girls’ 4x100 runner-up finish by the Team NSAF quartet of Caitlyn Little, Tamara Clark, Daija Lampkin and Kaylor Harris. Then Marcus Krah, Darrell Singleton, Eric Harrison Jr. and Noah Igbinoghene dashed to a thrilling 40.63 boys’ 4x1 victory – and the rally was on. In the girls’ 4x400, Miami Southridge teammates Symone Mason and Kayla Johnson bookended a 3:44.62 NSAF winning effort around Joy Ripslinger and Timetria Mitchell. Then finally, it was Trey Cunningham, Champ Allison, Jayson Baldridge and Ryne Bevan authoring a dramatic come-from-behind 3:13.16 boys’ 4x4 win.
Earlier, the first day’s successes had been highlighted by a thrilling 110-meter hurdles victory by Cunningham over Krah, 13.36-13.37. It would be Krah’s only outdoor loss of 2016, as he went on to NBNO, USA Junior and World Junior triumphs. Cunningham has since broken Grant Holloway’s national 60-meter hurdles record three times, twice last weekend while winning the NBNI title.
Other Team NSAF victories came from throwers Meghan Owens (girls’ javelin), Turner Washington (boys’ discus), Sydnee Walker (girls’ hammer) and KD Young (girls’ shot put), as well as Ripslinger (1500m). Also representing us well all weekend were throwers Khayla Dawson, Liam Christensen and Michael Feldman, jumpers Kenya Livingston, Jaimie Robinson, Jalen Seals and Arielle Mack, and hurdler Milan Young.