Smith sends warning signal for champs
WOLMER'S High School''s Jonielle Smith sent out a warning to her opponents leading up to the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships when she won the Under-20 100-metre final in a tight finish at the Carifta Trials at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Smith, running out of lane seven, clocked a personal best of 11:44 seconds to get the better of Holmwood Technical's Diana Johnson, and Kedisha Dallas of GC Foster College. Smith's teammate Shauna Helps equalled her personal best of 11:50 seconds, even though she ended in fifth position.
The 18-year-old Smith was very surprised about her performance, and even doubted the time.
"I was actually scared because I know that there are competitors from college who have been running sub-12 for the season. So I am surprised, and a little fear was there, but the Almighty brought me through," she told the Jamaica Observer.
"I still don't think the time is right...It is a big jump for me to improve my PB (personal best) from 11:58 to 11:44 in such a competitive race...," said the elated young lady.
Smith, who will run her first year in Class One at the Boys' and Girls' Championships, said she is now focused and is taking it one step at a time leading up to each major event.
"Well, the aim is to do well at Champs, after that the focus will be on the Carifta Games, then the Penn Relays and if everything goes well, then I will try out for the World Juniors team."
Michael Carr, who is the coach at Wolmer's, expressed his satisfaction at both performances and is predicting better from his athletes at the championships.
"It is a pleasant surprise, but then again the work was done and it just goes to show that if you put in the work the results will come. Shauna came fifth, but she equalled her PB, which as a coach, you can't ask for much more than that," said Carr.
He continued: "For Jonielle, I am very happy that she came out on top in a field of such calibre, and I hope that she will go forward and represent Jamaica well at the Carifta Games."
Carr further added that he is hoping that both athletes will use the race as a motivating factor to do better and to raise the bar higher.
The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships is set for March 25-29.