Wolmer's runner beats books with eight ones at CSEC
Brains, and not all brawn, in a big way describes Wolmer's Boys' School student athlete, Damani Sulph, who though yet to medal on the sporting stage, has achieved an academic high of eight Caribbean Secondary Examinations Council (CSEC) subjects - all Grade Ones - in the recently concluded exam sitting.
Young Sulph got distinctions in seven of his subjects - chemistry, physics, technical drawing, English literature, English language, mathematics and, visual arts, all with straight-'A' profiles. For mechanical technology, he got an AAB profile.
The teen started Wolmer's five years ago with much sporting potential, having clinched gold and bronze in the 100 and 200 metres, respectively, at the JISA/Seprod Prep Schools' Champs.
In 2011, as an eighth-grader, Sulph struck double gold in the 4x100 and 4x200 metres, while anchoring at the Gibson/McCook Relays.
It wasn't always smooth sailing, however, as Sulph has been slowed by injury. But as the youngster saw his track progression held back due to persistent injuries, he surged for the ultimate balance with academics.
"Once I balance tracks and any sport with my schoolwork it will put me in pole position to get scholarships," Sulph, who intends to be a top graphic designer, told The Gleaner.
"I pay very keen attention, so that when I plan to study after school I have already retained much of the information," he said, describing his method of balancing school and athletics.
Due to injuries, his career hasn't quite taken off in the way he hopes to at Champs, as he has not yet made it to an individual final.
At Wolmer's, though, he has peers of proven success and notes that 110m World Junior champion hurdler, Jaheel Hyde, serves as inspiration.
"I want to achieve a final, at least at Champs, before I leave Wolmer's, and go through a season injury-free," he continued.
"There were high hopes for me from second form after I got those two medals, and I want at least to live up to the expectations," he stressed.
Sulph will head to sixth form, then college, here in Jamaica or overseas.
In the meantime, Wolmer's Boys' track coach, Christopher Harley, said he is proud of Sulph's academic achievements and noted that it speaks well of Wolmer's sporting and academic philosophy.
Outside the classroom, Harley believes Sulph has not maxed out his potential and remains confident that if he overcomes injuries, he can achieve big things.
"I don't get a chance to see Damani at his best on the track side of things, but where discipline and academics are concerned, I have no complaints," said Harley.
"He (Sulph) didn't get a chance to really showcase himself and to really show how far track and field could have taken him. He has another two years in school, so if he decides to put some work in (athletics), anything is possible," Harley stressed.
The student's parents, Dwight and Marcia Sulph, are proud of their son's straight-'A' profiles.
"We are supportive parents; we always trusted his judgement from prep school days, I support him and I support every student athlete," Dwight explained.
His father describes himself as part of a fraternity that goes to all the track meets.
"We support student athletes to ensure they go to class, get to training, and when I go to Stadium East training field to pick up my son after training I pack eight or nine of them (students) into my car to take to Wolmer's," he explained.