V.I. flourishes nationally, internationally


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Virgin Islands natives made their presence felt on the biggest stages of international and American sports in 2012. A Crucian helped the New York Giants to the Super Bowl, and seven athletes competed in the London Summer Olympics. Here are the Top 10 sports stories in the USVI from 2012 as chosen by The Daily News' sports staff. The stories are listed in no particular order.

V.I. represented in London

Seven athletes competed in three sports in the 30th Olympic Games. Sprinter Laverne Jones-Ferrette, a 30-year-old native of St. Croix, advanced to the semifinals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She was just .05 seconds off a finals appearance in the 200. It was Jones-Ferrette's third consecutive appearance in the Games. Fellow Crucian Allison Peter, 20, advanced to the 200 semifinals.

St. Thomas native Tabarie Henry advanced to the men's semifinals in the 400. St. Croix native Muhammad Halim, 25, competed in the triple jump to round out the track and field athletes. All four competitors have aspirations to compete in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

St. Thomas native Cy Thompson, 24, finished in the middle of the pack in the Laser fleet for sailing. St. John native Mimi Roller, 21, sailed in the Laser Radial class and finished 40th out of 41. Both sailors are eager for another shot at an Olympic medal.

Branden Whitehurst, a 22-year-old swimmer from St. Croix, swam the 100-meter freestyle. Whitehurst did not advance past the preliminary heat and is focusing on a career in the U.S. Navy.

First V.I. Paralympian competes

Lee Frawley, who was born in New York but was raised on St. Thomas, became the first athlete to represent the territory in the Paralympic Games. The equestrian competed in the Individual Freestyle Test, Individual Championship Test and the Team Championship in equestrian.

Linval Joseph and Giants win Super Bowl XLVI

In just his second year in the NFL, St. Croix native Linval Joseph achieved the ultimate goal of any football player. Joseph, 24, became the first Virgin Islander to play in and win a Super Bowl.

The defensive tackle for the New York Giants started 15 regular season games after making just six appearances with no starts as a rookie in 2010. The Giants beat New England, 21-17, in February for their second title in five years.

Joseph finished his second season with 49 tackles, two sacks and two passes defended. The 6-foot-4, 323-pound lineman started all 16 games in 2012, but the Giants failed to make the playoffs.

Volleyball stars shine

St. Thomas native Megan Hodge won a silver medal with the U.S. women's volleyball team at the London Olympics. Hodge did not play in the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, but scored six points in the final. The U.S. fell to Brazil, 3-1. In her Olympic debut, Hodge came off the bench and recorded a team-high 18 points in 3-0 win over China.

Hodge, a four-time NCAA All-American at Penn State, plays professionally in Europe.

Antilles School graduate Danielle Selkridge finished her college career at the University of Tampa as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

Lance Armstrong competes on St. Croix

Cycling legend Lance Armstrong took third in the 24th annual St. Croix Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in May.

"I may have waited a little long to make my move on the bike," Armstrong told the Daily News. "Every one of these triathlons is a learning experience for me."

Five months later, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport's governing body, after a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

St. Croix regatta postponed

The biggest regatta on the territory's biggest island almost did not happen. Scheduled for March, the 20th St. Croix International Regatta was not held until November. The St. Croix Yacht Club failed to secure adequate sponsorship before February and a new administration was elected soon after.

Fittingly, St. Croix's Peter Stanton won the Rhodes 19 Class and the event had a solid turnout with 24 boats competing across four classes.

The SCYC honored the regatta's founder Nick Castruccio, 86, who competed with his son and granddaughter.

CAHS wins 7th straight title; Pirates don't play

Despite not actually playing in the territory championship, which was canceled, the Charlotte Amalie High School football team continued its reign. The Chickenhawks topped the standings for the seventh straight season behind the stellar play of dual-threat quarterback Elisha Arnold.

CAHS was 6-0 in the territory and the team's only loss came in a road game on Puerto Rico against one of their high school teams. The Chickenhawks outscored IAA opponents, 228-50. Arnold rushed for 11 touchdowns and threw for six more in just five games.

The territory championship game was to be played against St. Croix division winner Educational Complex, but poor planning and a lack of interest resulted in the cancellation.

On St. Croix, the Private Schools Pirates did not have enough players to field a team and missed the season, so the league played with just five teams.

MMA in Paradise

One of the world's fastest growing sports made its debut in the territory. The Paradise Fighting Championships held two amateur Mixed Martial Arts cards at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School's Digna Marie Wheatley Gymnasium.

The first card took place in July and the second in December. The latter had hundreds of locals in attendance to see two St. Thomas residents make their debuts in the sport. Justin Canfield suffered a loss by premature stoppage, and David Charlton was knocked out by a head kick. Both fighters have aspirations to fight again and earned respect from a growing fan base on the island.

Good Prospecting repeats at Governor's Cup

The horse from the British Virgin Islands electrified an estimated crowd of 6,000 to repeat as Governor's Cup champion during the annual Carnival races in April. Jockeyed by Eddie Luisvaz, Good Prospecting beat Bud White by two lengths for the win.

He ran the 1-mile, 70-yard race in 1 minute and 41.4 seconds to beat a loaded field of top stallions and geldings from across the Virgin Islands and secure a majority of the $22,500 purse.

Monster year for Taylor Canfield

St. Thomas native Taylor Canfield established himself as one of the top match race sailors in the world with a strong year. Canfield, 23, capped the season by winning the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia. It is the Alpari World Match Racing Tour's signature event, and the tour is the top circuit for match racing.

Canfield raced two other times on the tour and won the King Edward VII Gold Cup at the 2012 Argo Group Gold Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda, in October.

He and his crew on U.S. One will likely be offered a tour card this year after proving his worth against the world's best.

"I definitely think in these last two events, we proved we can compete at the level the tour has to offer," Canfield said. "Obviously, as a newer team, it will be tough to keep performing, but I think we'll continue to grow and put up strong results."

Honorable mention

- St. Thomas native John Jackson, the son of former heavyweight champion Julian Jackson, suffered his first loss as a professional boxer in September. Jackson lost a 10-round unanimous decision to Willie Nelson in a bout for the vacant NABF light middleweight title in Las Vegas. Jackson, 23, won his next fight in December to improve to 14-1.

- Women's college basketball's powerhouse program dominated in the Paradise Jam. The University of Connecticut won all three games and saw freshman Breanna Stewart establish herself as one of the best in the country. The rangy forward was named tournament MVP.

The University of New Mexico's Tony Snell hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining in the game to send the Lobos to the Paradise Jam men's championship game in a thrilling 70-69 win over George Mason University. UNM followed the tournament's top play with a 66-60 championship win over UConn. The Lobos' Kendall Williams was named tournament MVP.

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

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