GIRLS SEEK GLORY AT PENNS Holmwood more optimistic about longer relays
Posted by Dresonic on April 26, 2007
Velma Morant (front) reaches for the baton
from Vere Technical teammate Jura Levy at a practice session yesterday
ahead of today’s 113th Penn Relay Carnival at Franklin Field. Vere have
won 14 4x100m titles over the years. (Photo: Paul Reid)
PHILADELPHIA, USA – Jamaican
high school teams begin their hunt for honours as the 113th Penn Relay
Carnival gets underway here today at 10:00 am (9:00 am local time)
under challenging weather conditions at Franklin Field, University of
The girls will be on the track
today, while the boys start their schedule tomorrow morning. One relay
final will be contested today, the Distance Medley, while there will be
heats in three others – the 4x100m, 4x400m and 4x800m.
Other finals involving Jamaicans will be the 400m hurdles, javelin, long jump, triple jump, high jump and shot putt.
on the track apart, the weather could prove decisive as forecasts are
for rains and cool conditions. While there have been improvements in
the forecast from earlier this week, latest predictions yesterday were
for overcast conditions with a strong possibility of rain today.
Conditions could be worse tomorrow, with thunderstorms and cool
On the track, Holmwood Technical
will defend three of the four Championships of Americas titles in the
4x100m, 4x400m and 4x800m. And while coach Maurice Wilson is confident
in the longer events, the sprint relay is still a problem, he told the
“Passport problems” have resulted
in one of his top athletes, Petra Fanty, not making the trip and Wilson
said this is the first time in years he has had to be “scratching
around to put together a decent 4x100m team”, despite having the best
time of 44.73 secs done at Champs in March.
Wilson will, however, have the
likes of Girls’ Champs Class One 100m champion Schillione Calvert, who
will anchor the team, and Class One 200m winner Anastasia Leroy, who
will run the second leg.
The lead-off and third-leg runners will come from the pool of Class Two athletes Audrey Segree, Andrea Reid and Tamara Brown.
The other Jamaican schools entered
in the event are Alpha Academy, Clan Carthy, Manchester High, Oberlin,
STETHS, St Jago, Vere Technical, Bridgeport High, The Queen’s and St
Former winners St Jago and
Manchester, along with Edwin Allen, are likely to contend for places on
the podium. St Jago, who won their fourth title in 2005, will have an
experienced team and coach Raymond ‘KC’ Graham said they are “here to
have fun and to win”.
The seven-member team will run
both the 4x100m and 4x400m, Graham said, but added that the shorter
relays is where they should have a chance.
Natasha Ruddock and Latoya King
were on the team that upset Holmwood in 2005, and they will be joined
by Tanisha Baker and Melisa Ogbourne, who were here last year. Others
in the team are Shanike Smikle, Janique Daye and Samantha Wilburne.
Meanwhile, Edwin Allen’s Michael
Dyke was confident in his team’s chances in the 4x100m. “We’re coming
with live shots,” he said yesterday. The team should include Kimberly
Smith, Kacia Jones, Gayon Evans, Shauna Anderson and Nafine Briscoe –
all experienced campaigners.
Dyke said he was still tinkering with the line-up, but was looking to run under 45 seconds, weather permitting.
In the Mile Relay, Holmwood will
parade Leroy, Brown, Reid, Bobby-Gaye Wilkins and Keno Heaven in their
quest for a third straight title after their season’s best 3:34.29 at
the Milo Western Relays – the fastest by a Jamaican high school this
year, and faster than the record 3:34.75 they set back in 2001.
St Andrew, The Queens, Edwin Allen, STETHS, Alpha, St Jago and Manchester are the other Jamaican schools in the four-lap race.
World Youth 800m finalist, Heaven,
will join Vanessa Boyd, Salcia Slack, Wilkins and Reid in the 4x800m
race, but Susanne Hall will be missing as she stayed home to
concentrate on exams.
Holmwood have dominated the 4x800m
and will be seeking their seventh title in 10 years. They have a
season’s best 8:50.77 at the Milo Relays.
Edwin Allen are the other Jamaican school in the 4x800m and have run 8:58.11 this season.
Vere and Manchester will carry the
Jamaican colours into the finals of the Distance Medley Relay – an
event no Jamaican team has managed to win since 1995.
Vere’s coach Andrae Adams said he
thought this was their best chance of a Penn Relays plaque after coming
fourth last year. Vere will parade Petrona Layne, Kayon Robinson,
Kendra Minott and Tanesha Davis, in that order.
Manchester’s Shana-Gaye Tracey is the top seed in the 400m hurdles with a season’s best 57.90 at Champs.
Four other Jamaicans will be in
the event – Tracey’s teammate Judith Riley, Reid of Holmwood, Andre
Sutherland of Edwin Allen – who was second at Champs – and Claudia
Calder of Alpha.
Vere’s Champs record-holder
Kimberly Williams will seek her third straight triple jump title and
will be hoping to pass the 12.47m she has posted the past two years.
She has surpassed 13 metres on
three occasions this season, including her personal best 13.52m at
Champs and should win here, extending Jamaica’s streak to four straight
after Andrea Linton of St Jago won in 2004.
National Junior record-holder
Tanesha Blair of Holmwood will defend her javelin title. Her 47.85m
ranks her second behind Karlee McQuillen of Westmont Hilltop,
Vere’s Rose-Ann Jones and St Jago’s Ogbourne are the Jamaicans in the long jump.
Khadeen Isaacs of Manchester, who
has a season’s best 1.70m at both Girls’ Champs and Central Champs, is
the lone Jamaican in the high jump.
Vere’s Kenisha Throughsingh is
also in the shot putt event with her season’s best 12.83m done at the
Youngster/ Goldsmith meet.
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