‘SHE’S MY ROCK!’
Few athletes are as admired in the high school track and field arena as much as Hydel’s outgoing captain, Oneika McAnnuff.
McAnnuff has laid the foundation of her budding career over the past seven years at Hydel High and has been about as good an ambassador for the Ferry-based school and the sport as one could ask for, but she readily admits that the knack for leadership and commitment to task are attributes imparted by her mother, Jascinth Johnson.
In fact, the 19-year-old, who is preparing to begin the university phase of her career, is adamant her current success would not have been possible without the matriarch in her life, whose love, tenderness, and unwavering support has been the drive and motivation that fuels her journey.
“Like most people, I think I have the best mother ever. My mother is a huge part of my career. She is my rock and a major influence on who I am personality-wise. Whenever I am faced with disappointment and failures, she is always there to motivate me and remind me of why I started this journey, I just cannot fail because of her,” McAnnuff told the Jamaica Observer.
Being the second of two kids for her mother, McAnnuff recalled how she encouraged her participation in track and field growing up, but beyond that was a strict disciplinarian who instilled lessons of humility, social duty, self-discipline, and respect.
“My mother was strict growing up, and she believed in a good education before anything else. She’s the most hard-working person I know and I admire that about her. It really gives me the drive when I feel like giving up. She taught me that anything I want I have to work hard for,” she shared.
“My mom was always caring, giving, loving, and very respectful to anyone that she comes across. She instilled values, love, and discipline in her children and because of that I don’t think she ever worried about us going down the wrong path. If she did, it wasn’t evident,” McAnnuff added.
It is for this very reason why the tall multi-event athlete wears her heart and faith on her sleeves, both on and off the track, and she intends to take the examples from her mother with her to the University of Kentucky this fall.
McAnnuff contested the 400m, 400m hurdles as well as the 4x100m and 4x400m relays to lead her team to their first Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association/GraceKennedy Girls’ Athletics Championship title earlier this year.
“Those lessons remain a part of me and a big part of my career path. Being humble, disciplined, committed, and respectful are maybe my biggest character traits on and off the track. I consider myself very blessed and grateful to have such an incredible mother,” McAnnuff said.
“Both on and off the track, I’ve really seen where I have to work hard for what I want, especially in 2021, when I had to balance doing my CXC [Caribbean Examinations Council] exams and train for the World Under-20 Games. She told me that if I believe and work hard I will be successful in both, so like I said, everything I have achieved so far is because of her,” she noted.
With today being celebrated as Mother’s Day, the bubbly McAnnuff, who is always sporting her infectious smile, is unable to spend the day with her mother in Portland, but is certain that her love will be felt all the same.
“My mother and I talk every single day, no matter what we have going on or where we are in the world. Those calls are literally the highlight of my day,” said McAnnuff, who spends most of her time in Kingston for school.
“She encourages me to just do my best and everything else will come. Every chance she gets I’m guaranteed an inspiring word as she ensures I’m never overwhelmed.
“So, to my mom, my superwoman, I just want to wish a happy Mother’s Day. Thank you so much for everything you do and is still doing for me. You are amazing! All that I am and hope to be, I owe to you. I love you so much,” she ended.