Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Young vows to give her best at Trials

Published:Friday | June 25, 2021 | 12:12 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
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The final race of the recent NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships revealed a new candidate for Jamaica’s powerful women’s 4x400m squad: Charokee Young. The former Hydel High School captain produced the relay leg of her life to help Texas A...

The final race of the recent NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships revealed a new candidate for Jamaica’s powerful women’s 4x400m squad: Charokee Young. The former Hydel High School captain produced the relay leg of her life to help Texas A&M University to a record time and to announce herself as a challenger for a place on the Jamaican Olympic team.

Young ran judiciously through traffic on the second leg to cover her leg in 49.7 seconds, the team’s second-fastest stint.

“I knew I had to go on the outside because that’s just common sense,” she said. “You can’t go on the inside and expect to hand over because you can easily get blocked out. You have to be smart and you have to be smart quick.”

When her sensational American teammate Athing Mu anchored in 48.9s, she finished a collegiate record time of 3:22.34 minutes, fast enough to win the bronze at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

For Young, who was fifth in 51.13 seconds behind Mu in the 400m, the effort crowned a season where she lowered her personal best from 52.48s during her days at Hydel, to 50.85s, which is third on the 2021 Jamaica performance list.

LONG SEASON

“I went out there and gave it my best, and I think it was a pretty long season, but it was just like one of the other meets that I knew I had to go out there and execute,” she said.

Asked what it would take to make the Jamaican Olympic team, she replied, “Oh, I’m not sure. I think that if I can go out there and do my best, hopefully, that should be enough to help me to make the team.”

Young did a 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships Class One 400m and 800m double, but she has dropped the longer event.

“Personally, I did not like the 800m as much,” she said. “I had to come to a decision whether I was going to do it or do the 400m, and I was leaning more towards the 400m because I have more passion for that.”

Corey Bennett, who coached her at Hydel, believes the two-lapper could be a good fit for the 20-year-old runner.

“She had all the tools and quality to do well at it, but she has picked the 400m and, you know, she has gone sub-51s once for the season, and 51.35s is the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games,” he said.

Bennett hopes that Young, who helped Hydel to win the 4x400m twice at the Penn Relays, will be rested enough to make the Jamaican team.

“She loves it,” he said. “Her passion from high school is to represent her country at the highest level, and I hope she will stay fresh enough to compete.”

Young will be in action in the women’s 400m at the National Senior Championships when the heats start at 5:15 p.m. today.

sports@gleanerjm.com