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Ramirez, Lestrade crowned champions

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
NAAA 2010 Nationaal cross country winners. Celine Lestrade, left, and Denzil Ramirez.

Denzil Ramirez and Celine Lestrade are the new T&T cross country champions. The pair was victorious at the 2010 National Association of Athletic Administration (NAAA) cross country championships which were held at the Sevilla Golf Course, Brechin Castle, Couva, on Sunday. Ramirez took an early lead and cruised to victory in the men’s open 8k four-lap race clocking 30 minutes 24 seconds. He beat Sherwin Stappleton (31:22) and Curtis Cox of Simplex (31:34) and Palo Seco’s George Smith (31:50). The win was the first for the 27-year-old Defence Force athlete. The Troy University criminology graduate improved from his fourth finish at the UWI SPEC half marathon in October.

Defending champion, Richard Jones did not start as he was still recovering from a hip injury sustained in his third place finish at the UWI SPEC half marathon. Lestrade of T&T Road Runners Club took the women’s 6K three-lap title ahead of Paulette Luces (Athletic Central), Dawnel Collymore (Memphis) and Kerticha John (Unattached). Again, the defending champion Shermin LaSaldo did not face the starter as she opted to rest ahead of Sunday’s Run Barbados Running Festival. Speaking after his win, Ramirez said the win was a big boost in his preparation for the Run Barbados 10K in Bridgetown.

Lestrade was competing in her first cross country race and said she went into the race with an open mind. She added that she prepared for the undulating terrain at Sevilla by training in the Hallows at the Queen’s Park Savannah. The 26-year-old Maraval resident also is looking forward to the Run Barbados event next week. Mark London defended his boys Under-19 6k four-lap title clocking 25:37, beating last year’s Under-15 winner Nicholas Landeau ( 25:37) in a sprint finish up the final stretch. London, the 2010 Carifta boys Under-17 1500m and 3000m gold medallist, prevailed over Landeau, who gave up the chase in the final metres of the event.

The victor, a student of Bishop High School, got the better at Landeau as he did at Carifta when the Belmont Boys Secondary student was second in both races. London, aged 16, was completing his fourth win in the last month as he captured the two- leg NAAA development cross country series and the Tobago Secondary Schools 5K crown. In third place was Shayne Barran (26:50) of Cougars Athletic club. Natoya Cudjoe captured the Girls Under-19 4K in 22:38. The Success and Excellence runner finished ahead of Donicia Antoine of Toco, who completed the course in 23:31 and Neon Trackers of Abiane Collymore (23:41).

Men’s 8K (four lap)
1st Denzel Ramirez Defence Force 30:34
2nd Sherwin Stappleton Unattached 31:22
3rd Curtis Cox Simplex 31:34
4th Geroge Smith Palo Seco 31:50

Women’s 6K (three lap)
1st Celine Lestrade Unattached
2nd Paulette Luces Athletic Central
3rd Dawnel Collymore Memphis
4th Kerticha John Unattached


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