The sprint hurdles has become one of the most competitive events in Jamaica, with a number of world-class athletes vying to represent the island at the highest level.
Omar McLeod and Hansle Parchment have won back-to-back Olympic Games 110m hurdles gold medals, and among the youngsters putting their hands up to take up the mantle is former Jamaica College and Barton County standout Phillip Lemonious, who has been biding his time despite his rapid improvement at the University of Arkansas.
Without making any predictions, Lemonious said he plans to throw his name in the hat come June at the National Trials.
“I will be in the mix...no expectations or prediction, just take thing as it comes.”
Lemonious won the college men’s 110m hurdles championships on Saturday at the 126th staging of the Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, running a season’s best 13.48 seconds (1.5m/s).
Lemonious ran his college personal best 13.39 seconds at the NCAA Division One championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon last year, placing third, improving on his fourth place at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) finals.
At the Jamaican National Championships last year, he lowered his lifetime best to 13.21 seconds in the semi-final before placing fourth with 14.22 seconds in the final.
As to what has aided his consistency, Lemonious said: “I basically just listen to what the coach tells me to do, work hard, trust God.”
Despite the big names that he will face at the Jamaican Trials later this year for a place on the national team to the World Athletics Championships, Lemonious said that was not his focus and cited the uncertain nature of the obstacle race.
“In sprint hurdles anything can happen,” he pointed out, “I am not going to say anything like I am the best or anything like that, that is a race that nobody can bet on, on any given day anyone can win.”
The SEC is the toughest track and field conference in the NCAA system and success there could mean success elsewhere, and while he knows what he will face, Lemonious says he plans to take things one race at a time, “I never make any such things like setting targets and times,” he said.
“I never put any times out there, I just go out there and compete and allow things to fall into place,” Lemonious ended.