BIG BOOST! - Rusea's High welcomes Myles, Heywood to track team

Sport

BIG BOOST! - Rusea's High welcomes Myles, Heywood to track team

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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Despite planning to field a much reduced team in this year's high school track and field season, the Rusea's High team will be boosted by the addition of two talented athletes who have transferred to the Hanover-based institution.

Salieci Myles, who has ran on some very fast relay teams at Edwin Allen High, and the promising former Munro College quarter-miler Devante Heywood are now in 12th and 13th grades at Rusea's, and will be wearing the green, blue and yellow colours later this year when the season gets underway.

Roderick Myles, head coach of the Rusea's High track and field team, said when he was approached by both athletes he had little or no reservations in welcoming them to the team and expressed optimism that they would continue to improve under his watch.

He said by virtue of the school's top five placing at the 2019 Inter-secondary Schools Sports Assocation (ISSA) Champs, he thinks “the programme has arrived” and thus would attract top athletes.

“We are working with a small squad of about 12 athletes, those who will be leaving school [this year] and those who have the potential to earn scholarships to US colleges, those are who we are working with and trying to help as best as possible,” he told the Jamaica Observer West.

Myles added that both Salieci and Heywood have been doing well in training since they started in October “and we expect them to do well in the season.”

Both athletes have roots in western Jamaica.

Salieci hails from Westmorland and is the daughter of People's National Party (PNP) Councillor Ian Myles, while Heywood is from Trelawny.

Heywood, who grabbed national attention when he won the Class 3 400m at the ISSA Champs in 2017, has been hampered by injuries.

Last week, he told the Observer West that he had options, but chose Rusea's.

“My situation required a lot of attention that I didn't believe I would get if I enrolled in a bigger team,” he said, adding that “right now my health is way better than before, but there is still room for improvement.”

He argued that the expected rescheduling of ISSA Champs this year to May could work in his favour.

“Well, if Champs ends up being pushed back it only means I have even more time to prepare and come back even stronger. I definitely have goals set for this season and I'm working really closely with the team to achieve the most despite the setbacks,” he argued.

The three-time COCAA Western Champs gold medallist, who has nine distinctions in CSEC and five in CAPE, admitted that his track career has “been quite testing “.

“Between Class 3 and where I am now has been a bumpy road, but the journey has yet to come to an end, better days are ahead,” he stressed.

He cited his outstanding performance in the Class 3 00m final at Champs in 2016, when he won the silver medal, as the highlight of his career to date.

“I went into that championship with a personal best of 52.8 and managed to run a huge personal best of 50.92 to get the silver. That's my favourite race to date. That was also the season I set the Class 4 400m record at Western Champs,” he shared.

Salieci said the decision to leave the powerful Edwin Allen team where she was part of six winning teams at the ISSA Champs was made with the assistance of her parents.

“I left Edwin Allen because of the impending coronavirus. After having discussions with my parents, we have taken the decision to avoid crowd and mass gatherings to include boarding which is a must at Edwin Allen, so we decided that I would attend a school closer to home, and I found Rusea's High as the best choice,” she told the Observer West.

She pointed out that while she has two years left in high school, this season could be her last.

“I am comfortable with the progress being made on a daily basis as I am looking forward to running some exciting times this season and to lower my personal bests,” added Salieci, who already has six CSEC passes and two CAPE subjects to her credit.

And while she has competed in most of the sprints, she revealed that it is the sprints hurdles that she has grown to love.

“Reason being, as I got older I became better and better at it, which allows me to fall in love with the event,” she argued.

Like Heywood, Salieci has no issues with Champs being held later this year.

“To be honest, Champs being pushed back is not a bad thing, as I will use the time to get in more preparations due to the fact that my training season began late,” she told the Observer West.

With a lot of highlights to choose from Edwin Allen, Salieci told the Observer West that her first year in Class 2 when she was third in the 100m hurdles final at Champs, despite what she said was “the worst start ever” and winning the gold with the sprint relay team, are her memorable moments.


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