Thursday, November 8, 2018
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
VOLLEYBALL will be the first national championship on the scholastic calendar contested by student-athletes across the country as they vie for titles in their respective divisions.
Corporate sponsor, JS Johnson Insurance Agents and Brokers Ltd, will join the Ministries of Youth Sports and Culture, Education and the Bahamas Volleyball Federation to host the High School National Tournament November 15-17 in New Providence. As the title sponsor, JS Johnson presented stakeholders with a $10,000 sponsorship with just over a week of preparation for the organisers and respective participating schools.
This year's tournament will be hosted at various locations - the Anatol Rodgers, AF Adderley and DW Davis gymnasiums.
A total of 20 teams will be represented at the event including champions from the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA), Bahamas Scholastic Athletic Association (BSAA), and Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) out of New Providence and the Grand Bahama Secondary Schools Athletic Association (GBSSAA).
In addition to Grand Bahama three other family islands will be represented through the Abaco School Sports Association (ASSA), the Bimini School Sports Association (BSSA) and the Eleuthera School Sports Association (ESSA).
Evon Wisdom, director of the Sports Unit at the Ministry of Education, noted that the teams that will be selected to compete meet the "highest standard and level of play."
"This tournament is very important in that for the first time we reached out to family islands to have high school associations formed, particularly on the islands of Eleuthera and Bimini. Once the islands have a sanctioned body that directs high school sports we are then able to look at them. We know this is a technical sport, so all of the things we and the BVF have looked and scrutinised these teams to ensure our tournament will feature the best of the best the country has to offer.
Tim Munnings, director of sports, credited JS Johnson for once again carrying the mantle as a responsible corporate citizen. "I am pleased that JS Johnson will once again be a sponsor of this event and we encourage all our corporate citizens to find a sport that they can partner with. We really need these corporations, these public-private partnerships in order to bring the youth from all of the Family Islands into these competitions to participate. We know that much of our talent resides in the Family Islands so as much as we can get them involved in participation it benefits the entire country.
The event will again feature a round-robin format in the preliminary round with the top teams advancing to the playoffs.
In 2017, the National Championships were hosted in Grand Bahama at the St George's Gymnasium, void of the BAISS programmes. Abaco's Agape Christian School Eagles won the senior girls' title over the CV Bethel Stingrays while the CI Gibson Rattlers were the senior boys' champions with a win over the CC Sweeting Cobras.
The Rattlers won the bronze medal in the senior girls' division. The Teleos Christian Cherubims were fourth, the Lucaya International Buccaneers finished fifth, and the St George's Jaguars were sixth.
The Jack Hayward Wildcats won the bronze medal in the seniors boys' division, followed by the Patrick J Bethel Mighty Marlins in fourth, the Cherubims in fifth and the Tabernacle Baptist Academy Falcons sixth.