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The Penn Relays and Jamaica

Article by: 
Dr. Patrick Robinson
August 24, 2019

WHEN the 43rd staging of this year’s Gibson McCook Relays get underway, fans are in for some special performances as with this year’s ISSA Boy’s and Girl’s Championships expected to be the closest in both sections for several years, teams vying for top honours will be hoping for exceptional performances as they hope to send big warning signals going into the Championships. Both Championships could be decided on the relay points and this year’s relay carnival will definitely give good indications going into those Championships. After a phenomenal 2018 season where their quartet went sub 45 seconds some five times, including a record 44.76 seconds at Gibson McCook relays it was all about Edwin Allen Class 111 4x100 metre relay team coming into the 2019 season. At the Central Hurdles and Relay Meet in mid-January at GC Foster College they continued that momentum after a scorching 44.83 seconds for another sub 45 seconds in only their first appearance of the year. However, since then things have changed dramatically as it will be another quartet from the Frankfield based school in Clarendon which has taken the spotlight after their Class 11 quartet which included ISSA and Boy’s Championships 100 and 200 metres record holder, Kevona Davis created history at the recent Milo Western Relays held at GC Foster College. The quartet brought high school sprinting to another level after a record breaking 43.94 seconds, becoming the first local high school team in history to go sub 44 seconds in the 4x100 metres in the Class. Davis who was making her first appearance for the season and who ran a scorching second leg was joined by Salecia Myles, Bethany Bridge and Brandy Hall who all are competing in Class 11 for the first time this season. It was also the third time in school history an Edwin Allen team was going sub 44 seconds as in 2014 at the UTECH Classics a Class 1 quartet did so while at last year’s Penn Relays in Philadelphia, USA, a team which included Davis also went sub 44 seconds. Fans will be on the edges of their seats once again as another fast time is expected and the record of 45.00 seconds jointly held by Edwin Allen and Vere Technical look’s certain to be erased . Despite problems on the first and second exchange the Edwin Allen Class 111 team which included twin sisters, Tia and Tina, the two fastest schoolgirls this season over the 100 metres they were able to clock another sub 45 seconds at the Milo Western Relays and with new kid on the block Britney Johnson along with Serena Cole in the team, their Gibson McCook Relay record of 44.76 seconds done last year could be history once they sort out their changes and for the third year in a row it could be another record breaking feat after doing so in 2017 when they became the first Class 111 team to go sub 45 seconds after winning in 44.91 seconds. Edwin Allen will be hoping for a clean sweep of the sprint relays but Holmwood Technical after four second place finishes at the Milo Western Relays will be hoping to bounce back here especially in Class 1 where they lost narrowly and after defeating them at the Central Hurdle and Relay Meet will be hoping to return to winning ways. Hydel and St. Jago will also be in the mix especially in Class 11 which should be fiercely contested. Holmwood has been a model of consistency so far this season in the 4x400 metre and after three wins so far in the event this season, they will be hoping to make it four out of four. However, defending champions, Hydel with the outstanding Charokee Young, showed at the Camperdown Classics that they are rounding into good form and could upset here. Edwin Allen looks a cinch in the 4x800m relay after impressive winning performances in three meets so far. CALABAR SET TO RETURN IN STYLE After missing last year’s Meet, the Michael Clarke coached Calabar team from Red Hills Road will make a return to the Meet and with whispers going around that they could lose their Mortimer Geddes title this year they will want to show that they are not yet ready to do so and will want to put out a strong statement by dominating the relays, despite over the years not really showing their hands at the Meet. The Red Hills Road based team with the likes of Christopher Taylor, Dejour Russell, Michael Stephens, Brandon Heath and Rosean Young in their squad look set to bounce back in style by taking the 4x100m relay and will be aiming for their 2015 record of 39.32 seconds. In their absence last year, Jamaica College ruled supreme here after wining the Class 1 event ahead of Kingston College and after clocking 40.12 seconds to win at the Milo Western Relays they are the fastest quartet this year as Calabar could only produce a 40.74 clocking on the same day at the Camperdown Classics . However any team with Taylor and Stephens will be hard to be contained and Calabar could challenge their record here. While Calabar also look set to win the 4x400 metres relay the race of the day among the Boys could be the 4x800m event as defending champions, Kingston College , Calabar and Jamaica College are expected to have a battle royal here . All three teams are loaded with quality half milers and despite KC being the favourite going into the event after their 7:35.76, just behind GC Foster College at Central Hurdles and Relay Meet and their 7:38.64 clocking to defeat Jamaica College at Milo Western Relays it should be a different affair this time around as with Calabar in the mix now it is expected to be a cracker and St. Jago high record of 7:32.16 done in 2017 could be in danger here.