Cameron proud after Gibson McCook Relays
Bertland Cameron is in his second season as head track and field coach at the Mico University College, and the man who was Jamaica's first world champion in the 400m was a delighted man on Saturday after watching his charges perform at the Gibson McCook Relays, as the institution had its best performances ever at the meet.
Despite the institution doing very well over the past five years in other sports, track and field was yet to make a statement. However, on Saturday, competing among the clubs and Institutions, both males and females made big statements, especially in the 4x400m relays. Competing among some of the best senior athletes, the Mico team stepped up to the plate and they definitely had the best showing among college teams. After good showings so far at the various development meets, expectations were high for the team, and, competing at the meet on Saturday, they did not disappoint.
It was the men who first made their grand appearance. Competing in the preliminary round of the Clubs and Colleges 4x400m, a quartet including former senior national 400 metres champion Javere Bell and former Kingston College quarter-miler representative, Marco Doodnaugthsingh, went toe-to-toe with defending champions Akan Track Club. They finished a close second in 3:06.22, which was a school record, as the Javon Francis-led team won in 3:06.04. In that race, the Mico team got the better of G.C. Foster, Sprintec and the University of the West Indies as they advanced to the finals as the second-fastest qualifier.
With Bell leading off in the final and former Calabar High athlete, Jamari Rose, who was on Akan's winning team last year, running a strong second leg, they were very competitive throughout. The run by Doodnaugthsingh on anchor, where he got the baton fifth, but made up tremendous ground to finish third in 3:07.32, behind winner Akan 3:06.22 and second-place finisher GC Striders in 3:06.71, was tremendous.
It was also a big effort from the female team in the Women's 4x400m. Led by last year's IAAF World Under-20 champion Tiffany James, along with former ISSA-GraceKennedy Boy's and Girls' Class One champion over 400m, Dawnalee Loney, and Samantha James, sister of Tiffany, were very competitive in the final. This final included a very strong Sprintec team, which had the likes of Anastasia Leroy, Verona Chambers, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby and Ristananna Tracey, who all have represented the country at the senior level. They finished second in 3:36.94, behind winner Sprintec in 3:30.87. Like the men, they showed that they have a big chance of winning both events if they get the chance to compete at the Penn Relays in two months' time in Philadelphia. Earlier, Samantha James stamped her class in the One Mile Open event, winning in 5:08.19, beating some top high school girls in the race.
"Words cannot express how happy I am to see how the team performed. They have done extremely well, beyond expectation, and they can go much faster. I am looking forward to the next local meet and, hopefully, they get more chances to compete with the big guys, as surely, they are a very talented group," Cameron said.