Akeem Bloomfield and Lisa Buchanan have won the 20th Carl March Awards for Excellence for 2015. Bloomfield, a lanky Kingston College sixth former and Buchanan, a triple gold medalist for Holmwood at Boys and Girls Championships, were in the spotlight recently at an event staged in Old Harbour to celebrate the life and spirit of the late Carl March, who was a star high school athlete, track and field coach, philanthropist and motivator.
Bloomfield emerged as the male awardee on the strength of an undefeated season and his national junior 400 metre record of 44.93 seconds while Buchanan’s Champs 800/1500/3000 triple and a Carifta gold medal earned her the girls’ award.
Bloomfield, also a winner at the Carifta Games accepted the award modestly noting fine performances from other outstanding boys including last year’s winner Jaheel Hyde, Michael O’Hara and Demar Gayle. After receiving the award, he said. “It was a very good experience and I’m satisfied”, he said with a smile.
His coach Neil Harrison said the recognition was well deserved. “He’s very disciplined, very committed, very dedicated, works very hard”, said the coach, “and I think it’s just a testimony of his hard work and dedication.”
He said that the 44.93 didn’t really shock him. “I expected something fantastic”, he recalled. “Maybe it just has come faster than I anticipated but when you work hard anything is possible”, he said.
Buchanan said her coach Dave Anderson had prepared her well. After getting her award, she reflected on Holmwood’s Penn Relay 4×800 victory , her first win there in three trips to the century old relay carnival, and her success at the Carifta Games. She said her 1500 metre win at Carifta was the biggest moment for her. “The Carifta gold medal, the 1500 Carifta Gold medal was the highlight for me because I didn’t really train to go to Carifta and to see that I come out on top, I’m very proud of myself.”
Coach Anderson had high praises for her. Complimenting her work ethic and fighting spirit, he said, “She’s a leader and she is one that whenever she turns up, the others feed off her.”
Bloomfield is currently getting treatment for a minor hamstring strain. Coach Harrison reports that it’s becoming more likely that his start pupil won’t run again this year. “When it comes to that bridge”, he forecast, “I guess we will cross it but from this standpoint, I think it’s more looking towards maybe shutting it down because he’s seriously concentrating on exams.” Bloomfield passed 10 CXC exams last year.
Carl March was a star athlete at Boys Championships for Kingston College and went on coach with distinction at Vere Technical and St Jago High. The Awards function is staged annually by the Friends of Carl March and the Lions Club of Old Harbour. Past honourees include Veronica Campbell-Brown, Yohan Blake, Kimberly Williams, Trecia Smith and Elva Goulbourne.