Rusea's revel in Western Champs success
Rusea's female title success at last week's Western Championships came as a surprise for many, but coach Roderick Miles says it's been in the making after a collaborative effort from the entire school community.
The Lucea, Hanover-based school upstaged some of their more fancied rivals such as St Elizabeth Technical (272.50), tallying 344.50 points, to claim their first ever track and field title.
Petersfield finished third with 182.50 points.
Miles told The Gleaner that their success has been in the cards, pointing to the work of principal, Linvern Wright, and past student, Seymour Panton, towards the improvement of the school's track programme.
"It's a number of things put together. It did not happen overnight," Miles noted. "We were steadily building up last year, but lost some athletes who left on transfer. So last year should have been the big year for us, but many top athletes moved to so-called bigger name schools and we lost to STETHS by 18 points, so we were supposed to win last year, especially if Tara Bert didn't leave for St Jago.
"But we have been rising steadily over the years, and Mr Wright has been instrumental. He wants to do things different, he and Mr Panton, so it's a plan. Three seasons ago, we sat down and outlined the plan and put it together, so it's the vision of a number of people coming together," he continued.
Miles was convinced to take over the programme in 2013 after good work at Frome Technical. In three years, both the boys and girls' teams have seen marked improvements at the national and regional championships.
The current aim of the programme, he says, is to enhance the school's track and field reputation and give their students an opportunity to take advantage of the countless athletic scholarships granted to Jamaican athletes each year.
"The goal for the girls was to finish top eight at Girls' Champs, win Western Champs, and get some scholarships," he said.
Their success has created a stir in the small town, and Miles is hoping to create a similar impact at the national championships.
"A lot of 'Russian' past students are excited, and everyone is congratulating us. Schools like Mount Alvernia [and] Maggotty have called me and told me I am an inspiration, that I give them hope and they believe they can do the same. And that is the biggest thing for me," Miles added.