Wed | Aug 15, 2018

High school boys’ 4x4 record under threat

Published:Tuesday | April 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMRaymond Graham
Christopher Taylor
Akeem Bloomfield
Nathon Allen

AT this week's Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Obea Moore, a member of the John Muir High School (Pasadena, California) 4x400 metres relay team which set the record of 3:08.72 in 1997, will be one of the honorees of the meet.

Moore will be recognised for his 45.08-second split, which still stands as the fastest individual split by a high-school athlete at the meet.

Come this weekend, that long standing record could be history as four Jamaican teams are threatening.

Following their record-breaking performance at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships of 3:06.76, Calabar High, and runners-up Kingston College (KC), with 3:08.40, have both gone inside the old Penn Relay record.

With defending Penn Relays champions St Jago High, who won at the Gibson McCook Relays with 3:09.71, and 2014 Penn Relays runners-up St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) having a season best 3:10.15, for fourth, at Champs, all is set for a cracking encounter.

The Michael Clarke-coached Calabar High, with six Penns 4x400m wins, will be a strong factor if young Christopher Taylor is included in the team.

It has been more than 50 years since KC recorded their only victory in this event (1965). The Neil Harrison-coached team will be going all out to break the long drought. At Champs, their 4x4 team was second without their best quarter-miler, Akeem Bloomfield, who went sub-45 seconds in winning the one-lap event in a new national junior record (44.93). He and Twayne Crooks could make a big difference.

Defending champions St Jago High have relished the Penn Relays conditions over the years and, with Nathon Allen and Martin Manley in their line-up, they could repeat as champions. The Danny Hawthorne-coached team is yet to run at full strength, as they were without Manley at Gibson McCook and Champs.

With three returnees from last year's second-place team, Reynaldo Walcott-coached STETHS cannot be taken lightly. With Marvin and Okeem Williams in their final year, they will be aiming to do something special to finish their high-school careers in style, and play a role in an event that could see the first sub-3:06 clocking by a high-school team at the meet.