Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Petersfield High - new 4x400m power

Published:Thursday | February 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Machel Woolery, coach of Petersfield High.

Thanks to throwers like Kevin Nedrick, Sanjay Lawrence, Daniel Cope and Glenfield Watson, track and field fans don't think of Petersfield High School as a place for sprinters. Yet, in the last few weeks, the Machel Woolery-coached team has emerged as a shaker and mover in the boys' 4x400 metres. Coach Woolery says this development is part of a plan.

Last Saturday at the Western Relays in Montego Bay, Petersfield led Kingston College until the last leg. Deshawn Morris, KC's 2017 Boys and Girls' Championships Class One bronze medal winner, had to hustle to bring KC home in front. Petersfield arrived at the finish in a school record time of 3 minutes 11.83 seconds, just 0.25 behind.

"It's a good feeling to run 3.11," said Coach Woolery just after the race, "but it's not a nice feeling to lose."

His speedsters were Rod Stewart, 2017 World and Carifta Under-18 400 metres champion Antonio Watson, Kevin Stone and Romario Taylor. The only teams faster this season are KC, the winners in Montego Bay at 3 minutes 11.58 seconds, and Calabar High, the leaders at the Grace Jackson/Queen's meet in 3 minutes 11.25 seconds.




Woolery's boys won on grass at the STETHS Invitational in 3 minutes 17.41 seconds on January 27, but even with these two successes, he isn't saying when they will run the 4-lap relay next.

"Just have to wait and see and we'll keep that one close to us," he said coyly.

Even though Western Championships and the Gibson-McCook Relays follow on February 17 and 24, fans can only be certain that Petersfield will run the 4x400m at Boys and Girls' Championships next month.

"We pride 4x400m and we want to do well in it," he asserted. "We have a plan and we want to win it at Champs," he resolved.

He reminds that Petersfield had sprinters and 400 metres runners in the past. "People won't remember because we had Asanie Hall in the 400m and we had Devaughn Ellington, we had Jordan Scott, who passed away the other day," he recalled of Hall, a 2014 Class One 400m Championships bronze medal winner, 2015 Carifta Under-18 400 metres third-place finisher Ellington, and Scott, who was killed last year in a tragic accident.

Noting that his charges ran 3 minutes and 13 seconds flat in the 2015 Boys and Girls' Championships final, he said, "We have it in the plan each year, we're a bit short each year but we're working on it."

Actually, Petersfield first scored in middle-distance racing. Notably, Oshane Turner became a hero when he won the Champs Class Two 1500 metres. Understandably, Coach Woolery is eyeing a return there.

"We're working hard to start that next year," he reported, "and we've started to see some dividends pay off since we started the hurdles programme this year."

H. L.