Tue | Sep 17, 2019

STETHS rebuilding track and field programme

Published:Friday | February 1, 2019 | 12:14 AM

The Saint Elizabeth Technical High (STETHS) track and field programme is in rebuilding mode. According to coach Reynaldo Walcott, the programme is recovering from the departure of high-quality seniors like the versatile Jauavney James and last year’s captain Shemar Salmon. He feels they have inspired the school’s younger student-athletes.

Speaking at last Saturday’s STETHS Invitational, Walcott said: “We lost a good number of kids in the senior class, so we definitely have to restart, but the good thing is that the younger class, they seem to have got the STETHS fire.”

Last Saturday, athletes from STETHS went one-two in the Class Three 200m, took the first three spots in the boys’ Class Three 400m, and first four in both the Class Three 800m and shot put.

There was also a home win in Class Three 800m for girls by Alecia Robinson, timed in two minutes 23.67 seconds.

The school placed fifth in the male section of Boys and Girls’ Championships last year, and Walcott is guardedly optimistic.

“They seem to want to continue from where the senior guys would have shown them before, so we have our fingers and toes crossed,” he hoped.

Mirroring the concern of teachers everywhere, he expanded, “It’s not easy to keep them interested and, you know, to get them to commit to the work or just to get them to compete and to convince the parents to have them out late sometimes and just to balance school and everything, so it’s a real positive sign but it’s nothing to really rest your laurels on but at least, it’s there so it’s something to build on.”

James closed his Champs career last year with a win in the Class One 800 metres and bronze in the 400 metres hurdles, while Salmon’s 1500 metres silver was his sixth and final medal.

Walcott had nothing but praise for the pair. “Most definitely they will be missed,” he said. “They echoed STETHS in all their actions, in all their character, and they will be remembered for a long time to come because they have been historic,” he praised. Among the duo’s accomplishments are two Penn Relays victories in the 4x800 metres. Last year, STETHS were second to Calabar High, with both teams well under an 11-year-old record.

The coach thinks the pair will be placed alongside STETHS greats of the past in the annals of the school’s sporting history.

“When you look at what they have done, regardless of how they looked going into the season, once they get to Champs, you could always depend on them that they’re going to be medalling or get two medals,” he evaluated.

James set a still-standing Class Three 1500 metres record of four minutes 14.51 seconds in 2013, and overall, scored 99 individual points for STETHS. “They were sure points,” Walcott reflected, “and you just don’t get that automatically and you don’t understand how valuable that is until you don’t have it anymore.”

The STETHS cupboard isn’t completely empty. Still in school is Class Two and Three 100 metres champion Sachin Dennis. Dennis, who didn’t compete on Saturday, set a stunning Class Two 100 metres record of 10.20 seconds last year.