Another dominant display by Jamaican schools

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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A new Penn Relays high school boys 4x100m Championships of Americas record by Jamaica College and two wins by Edwin Allen girls highlighted yet another brilliant Penn Relays for Jamaican high schools at the 120th renewal of the Relays Carnival held in Philadelphia last weekend.

The Jamaican high schools won five relays with the high school girls' 4x800m title the only one to slip through the grasp, as well as seven victories in individual events made for a lot of celebrations by the Jamaicans, who were among the three-day crowd of 108,660 that turned in chilly conditions all three days.

In addition to Jamaica College's 4x100m win that took most by surprise, St Jago lived up to expectations and won the 4x400m, while Calabar won the 4x800m among the boys, with Edwin Allen High winning the girls' 4x100m and 4x400m events.

St Elizabeth Technical boys also equalled the Small Schools 4x100m record 41.13-second set by Manchester High in 2009, while The Queens School won the girls' Large School final.

After being ignored in the build up to the 4x100m relays, Jamaica College sent a strong signal in Friday's qualifications with a smooth 40.97-second run, the best of all the teams taking part.

JC went even faster in cool conditions on Saturday when just under 50,000 showed up, clocking 39.72 seconds in the fastest high school boys' 4x100m race ever. Incidentally, the top five finishers were among the top eight times ever run here, with the six Jamaican teams in the race finishing ahead of the two American schools.

This was JC's second win in the event and first since 1985, as Waseem Williams, Tyler Mason, Keneil Patterson and Devaughn Baker crossed the line first.

Calabar, who were second in 40.23 seconds, the third fastest time ever; St Jago, who were third in 40.23 seconds now have the sixth fastest, St George's College were fourth with 40.32 seconds, now having the seventh fastest time, while Kingston College, who were fifth in 40.35 seconds, are the eighth fastest ever, with Wolmer's Boys sixth.

The St Jago team of Ivan Henry, Martin Manley, Shamar Barnes and Nathon Allen clocked 3 minutes 11.73 seconds, slower than expected by coach Danny Hawthorne, who told the Jamaica Observer, "a win is a win and that's what we came here for".

St Elizabeth Technical were second in 3 minutes 13.07 seconds with Calabar, without Javon Francis, third in 3 minutes 13.70 seconds.

Calabar's coach Michael Clarke had said he thought the 4x800m team gave them their best chance to win here and the team of Norman Pittersgill, Alex Hutton, Rajay Hamilton and Jorel Bellafante proved him right in a race that saw the lead change hands several times before they won in 7 minutes 37.36 seconds for only their second win in the event after winning here first in 1995.

On Friday, Edwin Allen bounced back from their loss in the 4x800m to Colombia High of New Jersey to win the 4x100m in 44.32 seconds, the fifth fastest ever at Penn Relays, and the 4x400m in 3 minutes 34.76 seconds to just miss the Penn Relays record of 3 minutes 34.75 seconds set in 2001 by Holmwood Technical.

The team of Saqukine Cameron, Monique Spencer, Marleena Eubanks and Camira Haughton left nothing to chance as they opened up a big lead early in the mile relay and never let up, winning by a commanding margin over Holmwood Technical, who ran 3 minutes 41.17 seconds.

St Jago High (3 minutes 42.79 seconds) and St Elizabeth Technical (3 minutes 43.34 seconds) rounded out the top four for Jamaican teams, while defending champions Vere Technical were seventh.

Edwin Allen lived up to their favourites billing by winning the 4x100m with the team of Christania Williams, long jump champion Claudette Allen, Saqukine Cameron and Monique Spencer.

Last year's champions Holmwood Technical were second with 45.53 seconds with Wolmer's Girls third in 45.62 seconds.

Long Beach Poly were fourth with St Jago fifth in 46.20 seconds and Hydel High sixth in their first appearance in 47.01 seconds.

In the individual events, Vere Technical's Andretta Knight came off a bed in the medical tent to win the high school girls' 400m hurdles; Wolmer's Boys' Jaheel Hyde won 400m hurdles on his first trip to the event; Rochelle Frazer of Edwin Allen and Hydel's Shadae Lawrence were first and second in the high school girls discus throw; Edwin Allen's Allen took the high school girls long jump, while Krista-gay Taylor of Alpha won the high jump for high schools and Jamaica College's Clayton Brown won the high school triple jump.

Christoffe Bryan of Wolmer's created a new Penn Relays record by winning his third straight high school high jump title.

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