TO say that last year was a mixed bag for Jamaica College's Racquil Broderick would be an understatement.
On one hand, Broderick rued inconsistency across his performances, which resulted in him missing the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships, as well as spots on the various national junior teams.
However, he did find some success from an academic perspective, as he secured passes after his CAPE studies and later copped a discus silver at the Penn Relays with a new school record of 59.43m.
Still, Broderick is hoping to make amends for his championship absence, and if his performances to date are anything to go by, then he will certainly be leading his Old Hope Road team from the front at the five-day spectacle scheduled for March 28 to April 1 at the National Stadium.
Broderick's personal best of 16.94m in the shot put (6kg) and 60.85m for the discus while throwing the 1.750kg instrument, were both achieved on his first two outings this year.
"Last year's disappointments underscored that there was more room for improvement and a lot of untapped potential so it is just a matter of working harder and smarter towards my goals — which is why I'm really looking forward to this season — and I am impressed with what I have achieved so far and I know there's more to come," he told the Jamaica Observer.
"My start this season has been, by far, the best yet and my preparation has been nothing but positive so I really have nothing to complain about heading into Champs," he added.
Such is Broderick's confidence that the pressure of expectations that he will captain Jamaica College to a 23rd championship lien to end his high school chapter on a high, matters very little.
Instead, the 19-year-old final-year Class 1 athlete is laser-focused on executing accordingly in both his events and is channelling the same energy throughout his team.
"There is definitely some pressure; however I've come to the realisation that such a leading role was meant for me. I have not changed; I've just improved whilst being the captain of this team," Broderick shared.
"I'm hoping to be more relaxed and focused during competitions as [this approach has] been working well for me so far. Also, I'm setting my short-term and long-term goals not only to track my progress, but to also serve as a reminder that I have a purpose," he noted.
Jamaica College's last win in 2021 broke a 10-year drought but they failed to follow up last year, finishing second some 72 points behind reigning champions Kingston College.
While not tooting his proverbial horn, Broderick used the ancient Greek story of the Parthenon to cautiously hint at quieting the doubters.
"I've heard a lot of speculation that we are going to lose by 11 points, some say we will lose by one point, among others. The story of the Parthenon is a perfect example; the Greek builders used tiles that were said to be of less value than all other tiles, but in the end those said tiles turned out to be the highest-quality marble on the building," he said.
Should he in fact lead the "True Blues" to triumph, Broderick believes it would set him up nicely moving on to bigger things.
"My main goals for this year are to be victorious at the championships and to get into university on a full scholarship, because on a longer term I'd love to run and operate my own business while also being a project manager," he declared.