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COB recruits new track and field athletes

They are expected to bolster the college’s rapidly improving program
  • BAAA President Mike Sands speaks during the press conference which was held yesterday to introduce nine new student-athletes to The College of The Bahamas. The nine athletes will officially enter the college in the fall of 2013. TORRELL GLINTON 2013

Published: Jul 01, 2013

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A total of nine student-athletes, who distinguished themselves in track and field events, will join The College of The Bahamas’ (COB) athletics program in the Fall 2013 semester.

The athletes signed letters of commitment yesterday, sealing their allegiance in the first ever ‘Signing Day’ held by the Athletics Department of COB. Among the new student-athletes are recent public and private school graduates, as well as transfer students from Dickinson State University.

Director of Athletics Kimberley Rolle, who was flanked by Dr. Eslyn Jones, COB’s vice president of Student Affairs, COB coaches and BAAA President Mike Sands, expressed confidence in the progress and capacity of the college’s varsity teams and the new student-athletes who will be joining them.

“We are very excited with the core of talent that we have before us. We believe that this group, in addition to who we have returning next year, will bring quite a bit of recognition to our athletics program, particularly as we travel more and more to compete against colleges in the United States,” said Rolle as the student-athlete recruits looked on.

Beginning in August, Selina Brown (discus, shot put); Naim Bourne (100/200m); Dominic Collie (100/200/400m); Justin Gray (100/200m/long jump); Julio Jemison (400m); Clarence Major (100/200m); Perry Roberts (100/200m); Eyeissa Darville (400/800m); and Avery Thompson (110m hurdles) will pursue various academic programs at COB while performing as student-athletes. Each recruit has earned a level of excellence in his or her field. Jemison is the National High School Champion in the Senior Boys 400 meters (m).

“What you see before you today is just the beginning of what will be a very productive program as we continue to build and extend the athletics program at The College of The Bahamas,” said Rolle.

Sands congratulated COB for its vision in building the athletics program and characterized it as an ideal vehicle to retain elite Bahamian athletes.

“It is always a good measure to look and see what your neighbors to the south are doing,” he said.

“There is no secret, Jamaica has a program where the vast majority, if not all of their elite athletes, stay home and train.

“We are known as a small country with great athletes. It is because of the talent that comes from the coaches that they give to the athletes, and the athletes maximize their abilities and their potential to cause this country to be known as a great country with great athletes.”

The BAAA president also urged the student-athletes to leverage their athletic ability to earn a solid college education, become productive citizens and contribute to the growth and development of The Bahamas. Dr. Jones added: “I can assure you that when the team here is finished with these young men and women, they will become great athletes not just here in The Bahamas but indeed the world.”

COB coaches Bradley Cooper and Mark Humes will train the new student-athletes. They welcomed them to the college’s athletic family and urged them to remain focused on their respective goals.

Cooper, who started the track and field program at the college, thanked the parents for investing in The College of The Bahamas. Since the program’s inception, five track and field student-athletes have graduated from the college including noted thrower Julianna Duncanson. Duncanson was a member of the 2013 Commencement Class, and has been offered a position as an assistant coach at Missouri Baptist College. Cooper spoke about the high quality of the college’s athletics and academics programs.

“It is not a cakewalk. COB is not the easiest place to walk through, but if you do your work, if you study, you will get through the program. You have to work for what you get here. Once you get a degree from COB, you have a top notch degree,” Cooper noted.

Humes commended the group for choosing COB and helping to expand the base of elite athletes who train at home.

“Each of you was recruited because of your abilities, capabilities and your promise. Sometimes, most of the athletes who sometimes feel like they are top tier athletes, see it necessary to run away from The Bahamas to succeed and they go and light a fire in somebody else’s program. I appreciate you because one of the things I recognize is that it only takes a spark to get a fire going. You are going to be the spark to light a fire that none of us has ever seen before. You are going to be paving the way for COB to become NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Champions and when NAIA is too small, NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Champions. You are going to be the pacesetters,” said Humes.

As each student-athlete signed a letter of commitment following the press conference in the Wellness Centre at the college’s Oakes Field campus on Sunday, they were supported by proud family members.

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