J’Voughnn Blake’s college destination to be announced this week
Jamaica College middle distance runner J’Voughnn Blake (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

Some time this week, Jamaica College’s middle-distance maestro J’Voughnn Blake’s next destination will be announced as he makes the transition from high school to college.

If there was one thing that really challenged him this year, it was deciding where to go to continue his education.

Blake basically swept all before him this year, winning the boys’ Class One 800m/1500m combination at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Championships in mid-April and the Carifta Games Under-20 double a week later.

He wrapped up his high school career last Saturday, leading the Jamaica College 4x800m to victory in the high school boys’ championships of Americas final at the 126th staging of the Penn Relays Carnival at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, running 7:28.38 minutes, the third-fastest time ever at the event.

Earlier this year, they had broken the meet records at the Western Relays when the team of Khandale Frue, Blake, Omarion Davis and Handal Roban ran 7:36.76. Two weeks later they ran even faster at the Gibson Relays, winning with 7:24.30.

And with all of that, Blake says the most outstanding result for him was his personal best 1:47.62 minutes in the 800m “at Carifta trial where I ran by myself”, he told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday at Penn Relays even as the interview was interrupted on two occasions for photo ops with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was in attendance along with Minister of Sports Olivia “Babsy” Grange and other officials.

His 1:48.86 for third in the Class One 800m at Champs 2021 where Edwin Allen’s Chevonne Hall set the current record 1:48.58.

“This year we were definitely going after times and that was one of the targets that I caught.”

He, however, hastened to add that while the doubles at Champs and Carifta were among the highlights of the season he did not think they were totally unexpected.

“It’s been an awesome season but not a surprise,” he pointed out.

“Last year I should have been farther ahead than I was and I am just glad that I was able to believe in coach (Duayne Johnson) this year and to trust what he was saying, he set goals for us and we were hell bent on achieving them.”

Blake boasts an impressive academic record with 19 CXC, 13 CSEC and six CAPE subjects and hopes to study either molecular and cellular biology or astrophysics. He said the decision about which college offer to accept was one of the toughest decisions he has had to make.

“I have decided but it is not public, it is not my news to share, it will be out (this) week,” he said, admitting he was inundated with offers from some of the top universities in the United States.

“Oh, my! It was quite a lot, it was definitely a hard process, selecting a school, it was my most frustrating decision but I left it to my coach and he selected one that we are both comfortable with.”

The relationship between Blake and Johnson was described as “more than a coach and an athlete, but more like father and son,” Neil Harrison, the Jamaica College head coach, told the Observer.

While he held the decision close to his chest, Blake did allow that they went for a combination of academics and a programme with a good technical staff.

“We believe the choice was based on all of those and we think the academics is one of the best and coaching staff is also one of the best,” Blake said.

Paul Reid

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