Thu | Apr 25, 2019

JC made an impression at Gibson McCook ’92

Published:Saturday | February 23, 2019 | 12:23 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Twenty-seven years ago, the Jamaica College (JC) Class One team gave a banner performance at the Gibson McCook Relays. Led by silky smooth Rudolph Mighty, the boys in blue won the 4x100m and 4x200m in record time and added the 4x400m for good measure. The coach who tutored that team isn’t surprised that the 4x200m record still stands.

Edward Clarke, Jermaine Grant, Mighty, and Karl McPherson clocked 1 minute 24.67 seconds to win by a mile. Only the men’s 400 metre record, 45.5 seconds by Bert Cameron, and the women’s high jump record,1.89 metres by Karen Beautle, have stayed longer on the Gibson McCook Relays record books.

With then-JC head coach Michael Clarke studying abroad, Lloyd Clarke took them through their paces in 1992.

“No, not really, you know”, he replied recently when asked if the survival of the record was a shock.

Mighty and McPherson had won the Class One 200 and 400 metres at Boys’ Championships in 1991, with Clarke taking both events in Class Two and setting a record of 47.49 seconds in the 400m.

“Handovers were definitely a key part of the performance,” the G.C. Foster College graduate asserted. “One of the things is that we wanted to create an impression.”

JC had won the 1991 Boys’ Championships after a recount and Grant said that the team wanted to show that the victory wasn’t a fluke.

“Leading into 1992, because of what happened with Champs in 1991, we always have a point to prove the entire season,” Clarke recounted. “I said, ‘Look here guys. If you want to create an impression, you have to put in the work,’ and they did just that.”

After a third-place finish in the 1991 Pan-Am Junior Championships 200 metres, Mighty could have been the anchorman, but Clarke said that the team’s running order was based on practice.

“You found out who would do this leg better, and we did plenty of practising and who would hand off the baton smoother, who would catch this one easier,” he explained. “They realised they were better than everyone else.”

The 1992 results spoke volumes. Rudolph James, Grant, McPherson, and Mighty set a 4x100m record of 40.49 seconds before the 4x200m quartet beat Excelsior into the distance at 1 minute 28.05 seconds. Later, JC won the 4x400m as well.

Mighty also won the men’s 100 metres and continued his fine form all the way to the Barcelona Olympic team.

Clarke praised the support of team manager Harry Grant, who died in 2016, and JC past student Laurie Foster.

“Maybe he’s forgotten, but Laurie Foster saved many lives,” sub­mitted the man who later coached Olympians-to-be Latoya Greaves, Samantha Henry-Robinson, and Danielle Williams, the 2015 World Champion, in a 20-year tenure at The Queen’s School.