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Mar 27, 2023

Sports Filled Weekend across the Country, These Are the Highlights.

Goodnight and welcome to another edition of Sports Monday, I am Paul Lopez. What a weekend for sports in Belize and tonight we have all the action for you right here.


We begin our coverage with what was a highly anticipated football match between Belize and Guatemala in the CONCAF Nations League Tournament. Both teams rumbled in front of a sold-out F.F.B. Stadium, with a record three thousand, two hundred fans in attendance. Three minutes and fifty-five seconds into the first half, a pass from Jordy Polanco to Michael Salazar. He sees number three Eldon Reneau to his right, sets up the pass. Jordy Polanco finds the ball. He takes the shot, but that one went just a bit too high over the cross bar. On the other end of the field, at the fifth minute of play, the ball is received inside the penalty box. A quick pass over the heads of the Belizean defenders, goal keeper Charles Tillett sacrificing his body to save that one and the offside flag is up.


Fifteen minutes and thirty-eight seconds into the first half and Guatemala looks to attack the goal once again. Guatemalan Alejandro Galindo into the penalty box from the right corner, a missed kick in front of the goalpost by Carlos Mejia, Guatemalan Darwin Lom tries to save the play and he is fouled inside the penalty area for the first and only penalty kick of the match. Mejia lines up to take the shot and a save by goal keeper Charles Tillett. Twenty-eight minutes, forty-three seconds into the game, a corner kick for Belize’s Jordy Polanco, deflected by Guatemala as they make a quick dash across the field, pass to number six Carlos Mejia who floats it across to Oscar Castellanos for the header into the goal. Guatemala now leading by one.


At the forty-third minute and twentieth second, Guatemala in possession of the ball, Galindo to Morales on the right wing, outside to Santis. He shakes off Eldon Reneau, gets to the top of the penalty box and fires from outside, straight into the net for a second goal for Guatemala. Team Belize was down two-nil, but they were not yet out of the fight. Forty seconds into the two-minute extra time for the first half of the match, number seventeen for Belize, Kyle Flowers, takes the corner kick, directly to Jordy Polanco who sends it into the goal with a header. What a stunning play. The first half ended two to one goals in favor of Guatemala.

Two minutes into the second half, Carlos Mejia sees the opening on top of the penalty box, fires a missile, deflected by Tillett, Lom tries to recover with a kick, deflected again by Tillett, a header to the goal for a third attempt, and the ball is cleared out by Belize’s Darrel Myvett.  Team Belize would go on to lose the match, two goals to one. We heard from number sixteen Jordy Polanco following the match.


Jordy Polanco

Jordy Polanco, Belize National Football Team

“It was a very special moment, scoring a goal for our national team is our great feeling. It took us to two-one and that gave us a nice boost, but unfortunately we were not able to win the game. But, it was a privilege to score that goal.”


Paul Lopez

“Some may suggest that we weren’t pushing enough or being as offensive as we could have been. Was that your view on the field?”


Jordy Polanco

“Yup, that is my view. They were playing very good defensively. They had a very good defensive line. We tried to break that block, but unfortunately we couldn’t, but I am proud of my team. I am proud of what we come out and play the game today so.”


We say hats off to team Belize for a hard fought battle and congratulations to team Guatemala.


And now for some junior cycling action, as we gear up for the upcoming 2023 Cross Country Cycling Classic. The annual seventy-mile race, known as the Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic, from Columbus Park in San Ignacio Town to the Marion Jones Sporting Complex in Belize City was held on Sunday. A total of thirty junior riders took off from the starting line. Twenty-six minutes into the race just outside of Unitedville, Jalen Briceño for G-Flow Junior and Delton Rojas for Rolling Shattaz-BZ Boyz, made their break away from the main peloton and folks that would be the story of this race. Though attempted, none of the other riders were able to catch up with these two all the way up to the finish line in Belize City. So, the battle for first place was between Briceño and Rojas for seventy percent of the race. After roughly three hours and forty minutes of riding, Briceño and Rojas are side by side, seconds away from the finish line. Following that spectacular finish, Rojas would officially be declared the 2023 Junior Cross Country Cycling Champion.


Delton Rojas

Delton Rojas, Winner, 2023 Junior Cross Country

“The plan dah mih mek I get weh solo and my team would have worked for me but the break just gone early. I had to chase it. Me and Jalen organize and we get weh. Then pan the finish I let ah go. He ketch me back and a beat ah pan the sprint. Dah mih wah hard race, kudos to Jaden. He is a really tough rider, really, really tough.”


Jaylen Briceño

Jaylen Briceño, 2nd Place, 2023 Junior Cross Country

“It was a good race, but I don’t believe the ending was fair because Rojas came out in front of me, which they have it at the end of the video and he shouldn’t do that because when he is in front of me I can’t over take him cause he is there covering me when he should stay in his lane.”


A bit of frustration there from Briceño, but in the end, Rojas was declared the champion of the race.


The National Secondary School Sports Association hosted its softball nationals on Friday and Saturday inside Roger’s Stadium in Belize City. Following the playoff rounds on Friday night, Belmopan Comprehensive High school females faced off against Independence High School for third place. Belmopan Comprehensive High School defeated IHS females, fourteen to seven runs. The first place matchup in the female category was between Edward P. Yorke High School and Ladyville Technical High School on Saturday afternoon.  At the top of the first inning, number three for EP Yorke is on the home plate ready to bat. The pitcher throws a low ball and the batter is down. She gets to advance to first base.  And then, a steal from second to third base, but the play is called off. Number seven makes a second attempt at the steal to third with a new batter on the home base. She is successful. A hit into the left field, as Ladyville Tech fielders scramble to recover, one player makes it home safely, and then a second runner, with a dramatic slide to  home base, as the back stopper loses her helmet and her hair is in the wind. A second hit into the left field for EP Yorke sends a third


At the bottom of the first inning, with a batter up for Ladyville Tech, an attempt is made to steal from second base to third base, but the back stopper reads the play in a timely fashion and passes it for the out, much to the dismay of Ladyville’s head coach. At the bottom of the second, with a runner on third base, the pass from the back stopper is fumbled, clearing the way for Ladyville to make a needed run.  EP Yorke Females would go on to win the match and be crowned the 2023 High School Softball Females Champions.


The male championship matchup saw the San Pedro High School Tigers face off against the St. Johns Junior College Wild Cats. San Pedro High School fielding at the top of the first inning, a hard hit into the left field send one runnner in for SJC.  Bottom of the first, with a player on third base, the back stopper misses the pitched ball which leads to a steal at the home base. San Pedro High secured their first run. Top of the third inning, it’s a one-one ball game with a runner on second base for SJC. The ball is hit to the right off the field securing a second run for SJC.  Number fifteen for SJC positions himself, swings, and it goes into the left field. That’s yet another run for SJC and a runner on second base. Still at the top of the third, the back stopper loses site of the ball after the pitch and the runner on third base for SJC takes advantage. At the top of the fourth, with the game score at four to one runs in favor of SJC, the night skies quickly overtook the stadium. A missed ball by San Pedro’s back stopper sends in another run for SJC.


At the bottom of the fifth and final inning, San Pedro is up to bat and they must secure four points to keep their chances alive.  The batter hits the ball to the left; it is stopped by number thirteen, a throw to first base for a first out. Batter up, the ball is hit down the right side. The runner on third base makes it home for another points. A hit into the left field sends a runner to second base and one to third. The batter times the pitcher perfectly and sends the ball down to the second base fielder. The Sharks took advantage of the play and scores two additional points, bringing the match back to a one point difference. Number ten for the Sharks on third base, with one out in the inning. Ball down the center, first base gets the out, but number ten makes it homes safely to tie game at five a piece. We are now at the bottom of the second extra inning, with SJC in the lead, seven to six points. Runner on third base, the ball goes down center field and another run for San Pedro to once again tie the game, at seven a piece. Runner on third, a hit into the open field from the batter sends that runner home to secure the win for San Pedro High School Sharks!

Ernesto Lopez

Ernesto Lopez, Captain, SP High School Sharks

“As I said before, my team dah wah strong family and we coaches train we hard and good to let we nuh get nervous throughout deh plays right so. We came in strong and we wah finish strong and we team dah one big family and we comfort each other and come back.”


Paul Lopez

“What was the greatest challenge for you guys against SJC?”


Ernesto Lopez

“I think the greatest challenge was most of our players didn’t  expect the speed he was pitching at and we slowly got accustomed to it and we started making our hits and coming back to the game.”


Congratulations’ to both champions. The second Inter-District Rugby Tournament was held on Sunday inside the MCC Grounds. The tournament saw the Belize City Vikings, the Cayo Baymen and the Orange Walk Lions face over against each other. The second match of the day was between the Vikings and the Baymen. Vikings in the striped jerseys and Baymen in the solid blue. Viking’s Ashton Usher with the ball as he sprints down the line and cannot be caught. He makes the first try for team Vikings. Baymen with the ball, its fumbled and turned over. The Vikings makes a dash to the boundary line, brought down by a tackle. Quick thinking leads to the pass, ball is lose and the referee makes a call. The player gets into scrum position, ball goes to the Vikings, Usher again easily slips away from his opponents for another try. That match ended with Vikings on top.

In the third and final matchup, it was the Cayo Baymen against the Orange Walk Lions. Lions with the ball, runs into trouble and passes to his teammate who attempts to barrel his way through the defense. Moments later, a second attempt at a try, the Lions makes it into the in-goal area but it wasn’t enough to country the try. In the second half, the Lions attempt to move towards the in-goal area, taken down, whistle is blown. That matchup ended in favor of the Baymens.


Well folks, that is all we have for you in tonight’s coverage of Sports Monday. Until Next Time, “Always Be Mindful that, Nature is the Best Playground”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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