Talented and promising – Makeda Harding a remarkable squash and hockey player

first_imgFIFTEEN-year-old Makeda Harding credits her ability to hold her own under great pressure as the buoy that keeps her afloat when the demands as a student athlete gets just a little too much.It’s a trait that has served the Marian Academy third former well, as she juggles life as a dedicated student, and a national junior squash and hockey player.Harding takes it all in stride by ensuring that she has her plan all mapped out.“The first part of the year I mostly focus on squash, and coming down to the middle is when I have to push more, and then the second half is when I can ease off and play more hockey. Yea, there are some parts of the year when it’s really hard, but I have the ability of being able to cope well under pressure,” the Sports Personality-of-the-Week said.The four-time ‘Most Outstanding Girl’ squash player most recently copped her sixth and seventh national junior title, in just four years, due to her entering in multiple categories of the tournament over the years.Playing in the Girls’ Under-19, Under-17 and Under-15 categories this year, Harding ended with both the Girls Under-17 and Under-15 titles at last month’s Woodpecker Products Ltd Junior National Squash Championships. She finished second in the Under-19.“I like playing in multiple categories, it pushes me more, knowing that I can beat this person or get really close, and it builds my confidence,” Harding noted of her achievements.“I like my accomplishments because I like to use them to build myself against people, people who say I’m not good at anything, or who try to bring me down.”Her most recent squash accolades add to the ‘Most Promising Female Player’ award that she copped in hockey at last year’s GTT National Indoor Championships where she played for her Spartans team.Harding had been involved in hockey since she was 10 years old, encouraged to follow in the footsteps of her sister, Micaela. But it was in late 2011 when she got involved in squash. Makeda started out in a developmental programme held by the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) that offered one-hour training on Saturdays.The keen eyes of national coaches Garfield Wiltshire and Carl Ince picked up that Makeda was just a diamond in the rough, and were eager to see this talent developed.Wiltshire first offered Makeda training outside of the Saturday programme, and before long so did Ince, and she began to grow in the sport, gradually of course, but showed growth nonetheless.By 2013 she made it all the way to a third place finish in the Girls’ Under-13 category at the national junior tournament, and the GSA was confident enough to give her a spot on the national team for the Junior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships, which was held in Trinidad that year.Makeda did not disappoint. Despite finishing only seventh in the Girls’ Under-13 category, she was instrumental in gaining Guyana’s eighth consecutive Girls’ team title, and ninth consecutive overall team title.She’s been a fixture of the national team, at the annual event, ever since, each year improving just a little bit more in the individuals. When she returned in 2014 she was fifth after another year in the Girls’ Under-13 category.In 2015 she was in the Girls’ U-15 category and made her first final, but was cut down by Barbados’ Megan Best, their leading junior Girls’ player. Last year she ended third, after being stopped by Cayman Islands’ Jade Pitcairn in the semis.This year she’s facing another tall order as she enters the Girls’ U-17 category, where Best will again be joining her. Best is now a junior and senior Caribbean champion, after she won the women’s title at Senior CASA last year.last_img read more

Men’s basketball: No. 9 Wisconsin suffers first loss to No. 22 Creighton

first_imgNo Big Ten team has come into Creighton’s home court and escaped with a victory since 1978, and that streak stood Tuesday night as the No. 9 Badgers fell 79-67.First halfCreighton came out the gates and hit Wisconsin in the mouth before the reeling Badgers could find their feet. Less than two minutes from tipoff, the Badgers found themselves in an 8-0 hole after Creighton nailed back-to-back 3-pointers.Wisconsin senior point guard Bronson Koenig finally answered with a 3-pointer to put the Badgers on the board and slow down the Creighton tempo that had ignited a deafening Bluejay crowd.UW managed to tie the game at 11 behind a quick rally from Badger senior forward Nigel Hayes. Hayes hit his first three attempts from the floor, including back-to-back threes of his own to put the Badgers right back into the thick of it.Men’s basketball: No. 9 Badgers open 2016-17 with a complete win over Central ArkansasThe No. 9 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team began their 2016-17 campaign Friday night at the Kohl Center, taking Read…The Bluejays would go pound-for-pound with Wisconsin through the 10-minute mark in the first half, keeping things close at 20-20. Creighton had a chance to get the crowd on their feet on a breakaway opportunity for a slam dunk, but an indecisive Marcus Foster couldn’t finish at the rim with a wide open look.Badger freshman guard D’Mitrik Trice gave Wisconsin a spark immediately off the bench when he cashed a 3-pointer to give his team the three-point edge with around eight minutes before the half.Hayes would follow suit on the next possession with another basket from behind the arc, which would count as the Badgers’ eighth 3-pointer of the first half. For those who are familiar with Wisconsin basketball’s traditional style of play, living by the deep ball is almost taboo for the Badgers.With five minutes left before the first half, Wisconsin had taken 17 total attempts with 13 of those being threes. While UW had made a remarkably high eight of these 13 attempts, that kind of offensive imbalance simply isn’t sustainable, and the Badgers would learn this the hard way.Creighton rallied from its biggest deficit of the game ­— eight points — to pass the Badgers 33-30 at halftime thanks to a momentous dunk by junior guard Foster on a failed defensive assignment by Hayes beneath the rim.Since their red-hot start with 8-13 from downtown, the Badgers closed the first half with 12 consecutive misses from three. The shooting drought rendered Wisconsin scoreless through the final four minutes and 42 seconds of first half. Meanwhile, Creighton built a 13-2 run over the last seven minutes before the whistle.Second halfThe second half was much of the same for both teams as Wisconsin and Creighton traded blows until nine minutes remaining. The one exception: Hayes’ offensive boost for the Badgers was contained, with his first bucket coming almost halfway through the second half.Wisconsin sophomore forward Ethan Happ was M.I.A. for the Badgers down low, largely in part to being called for two travels on offense in the second half and three on the night.Men’s basketball: Three impressive high school seniors sign letters of intent for 2017-18The Wisconsin men’s basketball team notched one of their most balanced recruiting classes in program history with high school seniors Read…The turning point in the game happened with seven minutes remaining, when Creighton snagged three consecutive offensive rebounds before kicking it out to the corner for an uncontested three ball. Only seconds later, Creighton’s Thomas picked Koenig’s pocket before converting on an and-one basket on the other end.On the next possession, it was Thomas again who all but sealed the Badgers’ fate after burying a contested three ball to give the Bluejays an 11-point advantage with five minutes and some change on the clock.The Badgers gave it their best shot to respond, but the deficit proved too much as Wisconsin’s deep ball simply wasn’t falling in the final two minutes. The Badgers finished 11 for 39 total from three-point range, with their leading scorer (Koenig) going 3 for 13 from beyond the arc.Wisconsin looks to rebound at home Thursday night against Chicago State University at 7 p.m. in the Kohl Center.last_img read more