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St Jago to cop Penn Relays double

Published:Tuesday | April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM
St Jago's Natalliah Whyte

It's hard to believe. Despite a famous history with speedsters like Michelle Freeman, Juliet Campbell, Peta-Gaye Dowdie, Kerron Stewart, and Melaine Walker, the 2015 St Jago High 4x100m and 4x400m teams are the fastest ever in the school's history.

Led by quiet star Natalliah Whyte, St Jago head to this month's Penn Relays with a chance to win two events.

At Boys and Girls' Championships, St Jago continued an undefeated season in the Class One 4x100m with a polished win in 44.39 seconds. It was the first sub-45-second run in the school's history.

More important, the Keilando Goburn-coached quartet - Tasheena Ewan, Peta-Gaye Williams, Shanice Reid, and Whyte - moved into number four on the Jamaican all-time 4x100m performance list behind Edwin Allen High, Vere Technical, and Holmwood Technical.

With Class Three double winner Kimone Shaw, St Jago could have even more speed on tap.

Even so, winning at the Penn Relays won't be as easy as ABC. Edwin Allen High was just as wonderful at Champs ... in Class Two.

Coached by Michael Dyke, Kashieka Cameron, Patrice Moody, Shanice Clarke, and Aaliyah Hopkins scooted to victory in 44.88 seconds. That's the first time a Class Two team had ever broken 45.

Dyke's ace is Saqukine Cameron, who ran the third leg on last year's record-breaking team. If she comes in, perhaps for Hopkins at Penn, Edwin Allen should be even more formidable.

This season, Cameron's presence has seemed to guarantee Edwin Allen success in the 4x400m. She was absent when St Jago won at Girls' Champs in a season-leading time of three

minutes, 35.78 seconds. With Cameron consistently running sub-53 legs, Edwin Allen have won at the Milo Western Relays, the Gibson McCook Relays, the GC Foster Classic, and at last Saturday's UTech Classic.

o'hara ineligible

On the boys' side, Calabar's chance of Penn Relay dominance has taken a dip with the news that its captain, Michael O'Hara, is ineligible for high school competition there.

A ruling from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Asso-

ciation (PIAA), the body that oversees athletics in Philadelphia, indicates that O'Hara and reigning Penn Relays High School 400-metre hurdles champion Jaheel Hyde of Wolmer's are out because they have "received benefits related to their athletic skills and performance which are not available to other students at their high schools".

This advice was conveyed from the PIAA via ISSA, Jamaica's governing body for high school sports.

This appears to be a direct reference to sponsorships both O'Hara and Hyde have received recently.

O'Hara is a key member of both Calabar's 4x100m and 4x400m, and last year, he ran a brilliant 45.7 second anchor leg in the longer relay.

In any case, as reported elsewhere in these pages, Calabar's first leg 4x100m runner, Edward Clarke, has run out of eligibility at Penn.

n Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.