Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Hydel's 400m boom

Published:Wednesday | February 1, 2017 | 2:00 AMHubert Lawrence

Only one Hydel High School student-athlete has ever won gold in the 400m at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.

If the results of last Saturday's St Elizabeth High School (STETHS) Invitational are anything to go by, that number could grow in 2017. The 34th staging of that development meet saw Hydel taking the top spot in each class of the girls 400m.

Speaking after the trio of Shian Salmon, Abigail Brooks and Garriel Whyte clocked the fastest times in Classes One, Two and Three, Hydel head coach Corey Bennett said his team's 400m training is a little different this year.

"You know, we've tried to take a different approach and, so far, it seems to be paying some dividends," Bennett said.

Salmon, Brooks and Whyte produced times of 56.35, 56.42 and 57.53 seconds, respectively, on the grass track at STETHS by running strongly from the start.

"Not to give away too much, but we have trained in a particular way now and we're able to attack different parts of the race the way we want to," added Bennett.

Bennett, who directed Taquece Duggan to the school's only 400m Champs gold medal in the 2015 Class Two final, says Hydel's runner-up finish in last year's 4x400m was encouraging.

BEST CHAMPS RESULT

"A very good STETHS team beat us and we can't complain too much about that", he recalled of the best-ever Hydel result in the Champs 4x400m relay.

"It's encouraging and the girls have looked at it with a different mindset now and we just want to have more girls able to compete at the 4x400m and to help the team," Bennett said.

Semoy Hemmings, the anchor leg runner on that silver-medal team, is at college in the United States now. Though she never reached the top step of the podium, she is Hydel's most consistent 400m runner. She finished her Champs career with a silver medal in Class One last year to add to her silver and bronze in Class Two and Class Three.