Versatile Hydel runner McAnuff targets PB this season
Hydel High's Oneika McAnuff (right) on her way to winning the Class 1 Girls 400m at last weekend's 38th Grace/STETHS Invitational held in Santa Cruz. McAnuff won the 400m in 54.34 seconds as well as the Class 1 100m in 11.91 seconds. At left is her teammate Alliah Baker who was second. (Photo: Paul Reid)

SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — World Under-20 relay silver medallist Oneika McAnuff will again be doubling in her final season in high school track and field but such is the rage of the athlete that Hydel High's Head Coach Corey Bennett is still weighing up her options.

McAnuff, the ISSA Champs 2022 400m hurdles gold medallist and 400m silver medallist and Carifta Games 400m silver medallist, opened her 2023 season with a sparkling 54.34 seconds to win the Class One girls' 400m at Saturday's 38th Grace/STETHS Invitational in Santa Cruz.

Bennett said the only surety for his season was "to be right by the athlete".

McAnuff, who also topped the girls' Class One 100m in 11.91 seconds (-0.2m/s), had little to say about her start to the season.

"This year the objective is just to do better than last year," she told the Jamaica Observer. "I was just expecting to have a good opener, I did not have any time in mind, but I am pleased with the time."

Bennett also agreed that lowering her personal best was a priority.

"We are looking to PB [personal best] this season, [and] we can't sit here and guarantee what the other competitors will be doing...we can only talk about what we are doing. I think she is in PB shape, her 200m indicators and 100m have indicated that she is healthy and we are just looking for her to remain healthy and continue to have the best season so far," he said.

As far as which events McAnuff would be contesting this season, Bennett typically was keeping his cards close to his chest.

"She doubled last season, let's see... we want to do what is right by them, she has good 200m times as well, it is either going to be the 400m/400m hurdles or the 200m/400m," he said with a smile.

"She smiles when I tell her she might have to do the 100m/200m as she has been doing well so we just want to send her off to college in good spirits she is in good shape and we just have to do right by them."

Despite a long 2022 season that she ended with a silver medal in the 4x400m relays at the World Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, in August where she also made it to the semi-finals in the 400m hurdles, Bennett said she was fully recovered.

— Paul Reid

Paul Reid

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