Edwin Allen hunt sweep of relays today
PHILADELPHIA, USA -- Edwin Allen High girls appear poised to complete a clean sweep of the three major Championships of Americas relays on today's second day of the 120th Penn Relays Carnival here in Philadelphia after what coach Michael Dyke described as an "excellent day" yesterday.
Edwin Allen had the fastest times in yesterday's qualifying in the 4x100m with 45.6 seconds, 4x400m with 3:41.29 minutes and the 4x800m with 9:09.23 minutes, and Dyke said while the weather did not co-operate, they were "satisfied" with the day's proceedings.
The day started under cold and windy conditions but gradually warmed up as the Jamaicans showed their true colours with a series of good performances, setting up what is expected to be a brilliant day two.
Forecasts are for rainy conditions today, but attendance is expected to top the announced turnout of 21,422 yesterday.
The last Jamaican girls' high school team to sweep the 4x100m, 4x400 and 4x800m races was Holmwood Technical in 2008, and Edwin Allen will be seeking their first sweep after twice winning two of the three events.
They will be mindful of last year's disappointment when after a good Friday, went home empty handed, taking second place in all three relays as well as two field events.
Meanwhile, Vere Technical's Andrenetta Knight came out of her sick bed to win the 400m hurdles title, running 59.58 seconds in the second heat after missing the first heat.
Knight was taken to the medical area after feeling "tightness in her chest" caused by an asthmatic condition and had some patches placed on her chest to help her breathe.
Rusea's High's Shanice Cannigan was seventh in 1:02.48.
Today, Jamaica will be well represented in the Championships of Americas finals, as Holmwood Technical are also in all three finals. Five Jamaican schools will line up in the 4x100m Championships of Americas final, including Wolmer's Girls, defending champions Holmwood Technical, St Jago and newcomers Hydel High.
Six Jamaican schools are in the 4x400m final, including Holmwood Technical, St Jago High, St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and defending champions Vere Technical, who got the eighth and last place, and two in the 4x800m where Holmwood will join Edwin Allen.
Dyke told the Observer they will bring in Monique Spencer to replace Shanice Lewis, who anchored the 4x100m team in the qualifying as they go after the championships record 44.32 seconds set by Vere Technical in 2004.
Edwin Allen ran 43.95 seconds two weeks ago at the UTech Classic in Kingston and Dyke said on Wednesday that if all things go well they are expecting to erase the Vere Technical time from the top of the pile.
Wolmer's Girls were impressive running 46.36 seconds, the second fastest time of the day yesterday, while Holmwood clocked 46.70 seconds, slower than long Beach Poly's 46.50 seconds; St Jago ran 47.15 seconds, while Hydel ran 47.22 seconds.
First-time entrants St Catherine High are the only Jamaican school in the Large Schools consolation final, while Alpha Academy will contest the Small Schools final.
Four Jamaican schools led by Edwin Allen topped the 4x400m qualification with Holmwood Technical, St Jago and St Elizabeth Technical.
Of the three teams Dyke said when pressed he was most impressed with the 4x400m team that will see two changes today -- Marleena Eubanks and Saqukine Cameron coming in to join the team.
Dyke is still not certain if he would make any changes to the 4x800m team, however, but said they had to change their race tactics after their lead off leg handed over fifth yesterday, giving Eubanks a lot of work to do to get them back in the race.