Dec. 1, 2002- The Virgin Islands has collected two gold medals, in cycling and sailing events, at the XIX Central American and Caribbean Games, now under way mainly in San Salvador, capital of the host nation of El Salvador.
Chesen Beattie Frey, a St. Croix son, won the men's Scratch race, a 15-kilometer (9.4-mile) cycling event, on Wednesday, becoming first Virgin Islander ever to take a gold medal in cycling competition. The silver went to the Dominican Republic and the bronze, to Colombia.
Anthony Kouton, who grew up on St. Thomas, finished first in the men's Laser Standard sailing event on Friday. Second place went to Puerto Rico and third, to Mexico.
Had there been a next-place medal, the V.I. would have won it, for 15-year-old Thomas S. Barrows III came in fourth. And a third Virgin Islanders in the event, Christopher Schreiber, finished 10th.
The quadrennial games — held on years between the Olympic and Pan American Games — opened on Nov. 23 and continue through Saturday. Most events are being held at the University of San Salvador. The sailing events, however, took place in Mexico, on Lake Avandaro at the hillside town of Valle de Bravo, known as "the Switzerland of Mexico," about three hours' drive from Mexico City.
More information on the games can be found at the official CAC Games Web site. As of Sunday night, the most recent standings posted were as of Friday.
Frey, who goes by "Che," attended Good Hope and Country Day Schools. He currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is in training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
According to information provided by Dr. Cora Christian, V.I. CAC delegation physician, Frey had told others that the 15-meter Scratch race — an individual distance event raced in laps — was his to win, and while others relaxed and enjoyed themselves, he continued his workout routine.
His coach, Des Dickey, described him as "a very disciplined young man" who "rode a race with perfection and made all the right moves."
Aaron Hutchins, cycling team leader and vice president of the V.I. Cycling Federation, said the territory is entering a newly competitive stage in which "the prospects of success for Che and other cyclists are improving."
Frey finished first in a field of 11 in the Scratch event. He also was to compete in three other men's cycling events, and Sarah Michele Brown-Forster was to represent the Virgin Islands in two women's cycling events.
Kouton, a graduate of Antilles School, garnered his gold by finishing first in a field of 22 Laser single-handed sailing competitors.
Selected as an All-American competition sailor in 1999 and 2000, Kouton also represented the Virgin Islands in Laser competition at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1999. His mother, Juliette Kouton, still lives on St. Thomas.
Showings in other sailing events
In other CAC sailing events, the Virgin Islands had these showings:
– Paul Stoeken placed fifth among 10 racers in the men's Mistral boardsailing competition. Mexico took the gold and bronze medals; Venezuela, the silver.
– Sarah Swan, a product of the Kids And The Sea (KATS) program on St. John, placed fifth out of eight in the women's Laser Radials. Again, Mexico took the gold and bronze medals and Venezuela, the silver.
– The team of John Foster, Thomas Kozyn, Timothy Smith, Augusto Tromben and Phillip Woodward finished last in a field of eight in the J-24 Open. Venezuela took the gold; Puerto Rico, the silver; and Mexico, the bronze.
Terry Jackson and Chris Thompson teamed up on the Hobie Cat 16 event; their final finish was not available, but they were in eighth place among 11 entries after 11 of 16 races. Puerto Rico won the gold and the silver; Mexico, the bronze.
. As the sailing events came to a close on Friday, Nick Castruccio of St. Croix said in a message e-mailed to family: "Without a doubt, this is the best V.I. sailing team I have had the privilege to be part of." He call the youthful Barrows' fourth-place Laser Standard finish "stunning," noting that the teen-ager had two second-place finishes on the final day of competition.
Also, Castruccio said, despite its last-place finish, "our J-24 crew got better with each race."
He added: "All in all, it was a most memorable regatta in beautiful surroundings, organized and run by the warm and compassionate Mexican Sailing Federation." Of the lake and the historic hillside town with its white-walled, red-roofed buildings in some ways suggestive of the Virgin Islands, he added that the sailors would leave "with the hope we will be able to return here again in the future."
V.I. standings in six other sports
In other CAC events, in San Salvador, Virgin Islands athletes Nicholas Bass and Lenin Mongerie were eliminated in the men's tennis singles. And the V.I. shooting team of James Cuthbert, Ned Gerard, Robert Kurt Isherwood, Bruce Meredith, Thomas Mizak and Christopher Condon Rice placed out of the winners' circle in 10m air rifle, 25m center fire pistol, 50m free pistol and 10m air pistol events.
In bowling, the territory was represented by Alwyn Baptiste, Valencio Jackson, Ronald Moorehead, Alan Neubauer and Ronald Osborne in the men's events; and Shirley Clendinen, Theresa Depka, Anastasie Jackson and Winona Seales Lester in the women's events. Among the women, Depka led the territory overall, placing 30th out of 60. In the men's events overall, Osborne ranked the highest among the V.I. keglers, finishing 56th out of 64.
Julio Felix, Adrian Durant and K. Telemaque are representing the Virgin Islands in track and field competition — Felix in the men's 100-meter sprint and the others in the men's 400-meter event. In the semifinals, Felix finished 10th out of 20 in one of three heats; and Durant and Telemaque each finished fifth in two of the three heats. The track and field events are continuing but the schedule was not posted as of Sunday night on the CAC Web site.
Hugo Moolenaar is representing the territory in boxing in the welterweight division. Friday's statistics showed him winning his first match and advancing to the next round. The boxing schedule was not posted on the Web site.
Lucy Hamilton Hewitt will represent the territory in equestrian jumping, which begins on Monday and continues through Saturday.
In September, Hans Lawaetz, V.I. Olympic Committee president, noted that while the CAC games usually are held in the summer, facilities at this year's venue, the University of San Salvador, were available only in November and December, when El Salvador schools are on vacation. He said the scheduling posed problems for the V.I. track and field and swimming teams because most of the athletes in those sports are high school or college students who would have to skip classes to compete.
Lawaetz said El Salvador was the only country that bid to host the games and that there had been some organizational problems. The country has no suitable sailing grounds, he said, so the sailing events were moved to Mexico.
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