Tue | Feb 25, 2020

Former Petersfield star eyes Olympics

Published:Wednesday | December 18, 2019 | 12:25 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Lawrence
Lawrence

In March, Courtney Lawrence won the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Championships Athletics Championships Class One shot put after three years of trying.

Now, the Cloud County Junior College freshman is learning how to compete at the next level.

On Saturday, he started his Christmas holidays at the Tyser Mills Classic at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education and Sport with a win that could pave the way to success on his first season on the US junior college circuit.

Looking a touch bigger than when he won at Champs for Petersfield High School, Lawrence produced a winner measured at 16. 63 metres.

When he stepped out of the throwing circle, he spoke about his experience so far at Cloud County.

“It’s very different, but at the same time good, because you get to compete with bigger persons and get to be more experienced,” he reflected on his time so far in Kansas. “It’s very nice to come home, but at the same time, I’m here to better myself, with training also with my old coach Machel Woolery.”

When he returns to Kansas, he will begin his first junior college season in earnest. His old Petersfield teammate Kevin Nedrick won the indoor title but has moved on to NCAA competition, leaving Lawrence to tackle a field led by German Silas Ristl, the reigning outdoor champion.

Lawrence is quietly optimistic.

Not far from goal

“Well, I think it can be good if I do what I’m supposed to do and keep what I’ve learnt in mind, because I’m pretty much not far off from the best person so far,” he measured.

His best throw, 17.75 metres for fourth at the National Senior Championships in June, puts him close to Ristl’s 2019 winning mark of 17.89m.

Beyond that, Lawrence is eyeing a shot at making the Jamaican Olympic team next year or in 2024.

“My plans are for me to qualify for the Olympics, at least qualify, I’m trying to make it from now,” he reasoned.

The 2020 Olympic qualifying mark is 21.10 metres.

The 20-year-old thrower also had some wise words for Jamaican high-school student-athletes.

“I would tell them that they need to train hard and at the same time remember that school comes first because their track and field career might not last forever, because one injury can take it away; but at the same time, train and give it your very best because only your best is acceptable,” Lawrence advised.

His Champs victory came after he placed ninth in 2017 and third last year.