Nekita Saintvil whizzes up and down the field for Anytime Fitness Wolverines and is one of their key players, which is partly why they were crowned women’s flag football champs last week.
Saintvil’s speed, versatility and energy is apparent in every sport she tries, which makes her an invaluable asset for the Wolverines.
She has been playing flag for two years and enjoys every aspect flag offers – raising her fitness, relieving stress and socializing.
The Anytime Fitness Wolverines beat Maples Lynx 7-6 in the championship match and Saintvil’s surging runs throughout the season contributed to their success.
She played on the offensive line as the center and offensive lineman and on the defensive side as a pass rusher and has been a quarterback and cornerback in the past.
Saintvil puts the Wolverines’ success down to their unity on and off the field, and a willingness to fit in. “All of our players are versatile and each player knows at least three or more positions,” she said. “What has made us the best team in my opinion though, is we play with heart. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
“This season we had a couple of hiccups but nonetheless we kept our eye on the prize. And honestly we have to commend our coaches Phillip Brown and Adrean Russell. It’s not easy coaching women, especially a group of strong-minded females. Without them our team would not be the best.”
So keen is she to play, Saintvil wears a leg brace due to an injury she received in an international flag tournament in Orlando in July.
“My leg brace doesn’t hamper me, but assists my performance and I probably would not be able to play without it. However, I do feel pain after a match.”
She feels the Wolverines will become a better team next season. “With the talent and experience we have I can honestly say all of our supporters can look forward to seeing us in the finals again next season.”
She’s not sure who their closest rivals will be next term as every team evolves. “I can, however, say the Wolverines will be ready.”
The 29-year-old Caymanian is a processing clerk for the Cayman Islands Immigration Department and from a young age has been heavily into sport. On a competitive level she has competed in basketball “being my first love above all sports,” netball, softball, soccer and now flag. She has also dipped into cricket, volleyball, track and field, badminton and tennis.
Saintvil cites Merta Day, sports coordinator for women in the Department of Sports, as being one of her early motivators. Day was one of Cayman’s first international sports medalists, in tae kwon do, and was a brilliant squash player too.
“Merta’s dedication with mentoring young Caymanians in all sports and putting extra focus on women in sports has inspired me over the years,” Saintvil said.
Right now, flag is her sole sporting interest and Saintvil hopes the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association can continue to grow. “It has created its own community with flag football which has been an interesting and exciting experience for me, being able to play in all the leagues CIFFA offers, assist with coaching in their junior league and playing for the national team.
“I feel they still need to put more focus on the junior league and start exposing the youths to the same opportunities as the adults.”
Saintvil is still open to trying any sport and reaching her potential. “At my age – which is still young – I’m just looking to have fun in any sport I’m in and if my skill set provides me with opportunities to represent my country, that would just be a plus.”
The fun and unpredictable nature of sport is always a source of entertainment for her. “One the funniest thing that has happened to me was this past season, while playing center on the offensive line, I was responsible for snapping the ball.
“The quarterback went through the motions of the down, set, hut while not realizing the ball was not on the field. I pretty much snapped thin air, not realizing. Both offense and defense played as if there was a ball on the field. Even though we suffered a penalty, both sides and the people in the stands had a good laugh.”