PHILADELPHIA, USA — Wolmer's Boys' quest for a record-equalling fourth consecutive hold on the Championships of Americas high school boys' 4x100m at the Penn Relays is on thin ice going into today's third day of competition.
The Heroes Circle-based school that has won the last three titles is seeking to join Mercersburg Academy of Pennsylvania which won titles between 1932 and 1935.
Six Jamaican teams led by Kingston College's 41.08 seconds, and two from the USA are in the finals set for 1:50 pm today (12:50 pm Jamaica time). Wolmer's Boys, who ran 41.22 seconds, Calabar High, Munro College, first-time entrants Green Island High and surprise finalists Herbert Morrison will seek to add to the eight straight titles won by Jamaican schools here.
Herbert Morrison, who were third last year, were running the best team for the first time as injuries prevented this from happening all season, coach Claude Grant told the Jamaica Observer.
The Jamaican high school boys will also be in action in the heats and finals of the 4x400m, the 400m hurdles where Omar McLeod of Kingston College will start favourite to win; the long, triple and high jumps, where Jamaicans are also expected to take the gold-plated Penn Relays watch presented to winners here.
Yesterday, Kingston College, who won the Class One 4x100m at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Championships last month, returned an easy looking 41.08 seconds, the fastest time coming into today's final, ahead of Forest Park of Woodbridge, Virginia (41.15 seconds), and will have the option of including McLeod in the squad.
This 4x100m promises to be one of the best in years with a number of talented squads, and the meet record 39.78 seconds set by Wolmer's Boys in 2010 could be in danger.
Delano Williams will be ending his illustrious career at Munro College and his presence on the anchor leg will be crucial to their chances of winning. Calabar High, who ran Jason Hylton, Javon Francis, Ackeem McLean and Michael O'Hara, the latter in his first competition since being withdrawn from the Carifta squad with chicken pox, cannot be overlooked as well.
Four more Jamaican teams will run in the Small Schools consolation final — Jamaica College, Hydel High, Ardenne High and St Jago with Garvey Maceo the first alternate.
None of the Jamaican teams managed to qualify for the 4x800m final today after a series of disappointing runs in the
Calabar had the best time of the four Jamaican teams that showed up with 7:56.48 for eighth place in their heat, as former champions Kingston College finished well back in 16th place in 8:02.75.
Meanwhile, Munro will be chasing history of their own as they seek to become the second Jamaican school after Jamaica College to win the 4x400m three straight years.
Fifteen Jamaican schools are down to take part in the race that will see the heats start at 9:10 am (8:10 am Jamaica time) with the top 12 advancing to the final set for 5:30 pm (4:30 pm Jamaica time).
Manchester High are dark horses to win, while Hydel High, Kingston College, Calabar High, St Jago, Jamaica College, Excelsior High, Garvey Maceo High, Tacius Golding High, Mannings School, Wolmer's Boys, Holmwood Technical and Green Island will also take part.
Meanwhile, in the field events, Christoffe Bryan undefeated all season with a best of 2.19m attained at Boys Champs, will defend his high jump title starting at 10:00 am (9:00 am Jamaica time).
The Calabar pair of Demar Robinson and Javon Swaby, as well as Jamaica College's Ashani Wright and Ardenne High's Mathew Campbell are down to compete.
Kingston College's Clive Pullen, who won the long jump last year, is the top-ranked athlete in the triple jump, where Hydel's Aubrey Allen, Rajay Mills of Excelsior, Munro College's Anthony Bailey, Calabar's Owen Smith and the Jamaica College pair of Clayton Brown and O'Brien Waysome will also be in action.
The Kingston College pair of Nicholas Phynn and Keneil Grant are ranked one and two in the long jump that will also see Sadiki Eddie, Adrian Riley and Jullanie Walker of Calabar; Gavin Gibson, Sharlanjo Nelson and Ajani James of Jamaica College, Javauny Hyde of Wolmer's Boys and Jauvoy Jones of Holmwood Technical.