Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Titania Markland of St Mary's High School has no regrets regarding her decision to abandon the sprints and focus on the middle distance. And why would she, after turning in another scintillating performance at the Eastern Secondary Schools' Sports Association/Jamaica National Building Society Track and Field Championships, which was staged over two days at the National Stadium last week.
"I used to do the sprints in my first two years competing for St Mary's High, but they (100m and 200m) turned out not to be my favourite events, as I couldn't make finals," Markland disclosed to The Gleaner.
"My first year in Class Two I tried the 400m and came second at Eastern Championships; then I went on from there to winning the second year and I have just been good at it from then and got to love it, so it (400m) is my pet event," she continued. "As for the 800m, I started running it just by chance, trying something I would say."
The 19-year-old ended the two-day championships with four gold medals and three records. She won the Class One girls 1,500m on the opening day ahead of pre-race favourite Margaret McKay, of Oberlin High. Markland won in a new record 4:56.70, as she smashed the old record of 5:07.19 which was set by McKay in 2010. McKay also dipped below the old record, as she finished second in 5:05.82.
"She (McKay) is good at it (1,500m), so she pushed me in the race," Markland shared. "I kept with her for the first 2 3/4 laps, then in the last lap I decided it was my time to make my move and I was able to push, and now I am the record holder."
Markland followed up on day two with victories in the Class One girls' 400m and 800m. She posted a new record in the 800m, as her winning time of 2:16.59 bettered her own time of 2:20.92 that was set last year. In the 400m, she stopped the clock at 55.21 seconds.
"I was expecting to win the 400m and the 800m, but not the 1,500m, as Margaret McKay from Oberlin was the favourite for the race. But thank God, I came out victorious," Markland revealed.
She closed out the championships by anchoring her school to a record-breaking win in the girls' 4x400m relay open, as she and her teammates got the baton around in 3:55.02 to eclipse their school's 2012 record of 3:56.44.
Markland, who represented Jamaica at the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador last year, where she placed fifth in the 800m before running the opening leg on the 4x400m gold medal-winning team, plans on sticking to the one-lap and two-lap events.
"I want to do the 400m and the 800m for the country, the 1,500m I just run at Eastern Champs," Markland shared. "In the future, I want to represent the country at least at two Olympics and get a medal."
The deputy head girl, who has eight CXCs and four CAPE passes and will be sitting four more CAPE subjects this year, will be hunting her first medal in this, her final year, when she competes at the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys & Girls' Championships.