Mon | Aug 8, 2022

Hydel could go for the 4x400m record next year

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:08 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
The Hydel High School team of  (from left) Oneika McAnuff, Bryanna Lyston, Kerrica Hill, and Aliah Baker celebrate winning the Championship of America Girls’ 4x400-metre relay at the recent Penn Relays.
The Hydel High School team of (from left) Oneika McAnuff, Bryanna Lyston, Kerrica Hill, and Aliah Baker celebrate winning the Championship of America Girls’ 4x400-metre relay at the recent Penn Relays.
Bennett
Bennett
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With three straight wins at ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships (Champs), Hydel High are the current queens of the 4x400 metres. The future is bright since each member of Corey Bennett’s 2022 Penn Relay record wreckers is eligible to...

With three straight wins at ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships (Champs), Hydel High are the current queens of the 4x400 metres. The future is bright since each member of Corey Bennett’s 2022 Penn Relay record wreckers is eligible to return to high school competition next year.

Hydel polished off a Gibson McCook Relays – Champs – Penn Relays triple crown with Alliah Baker, Oneika McAnuff, Kerrica Hill, and Brianna Lyston clocking three minutes 32.77 seconds. Looming in the distance is Vere’s world high school record of three minutes 30.51 seconds from the 2013 edition of Champs with Shericka Jackson aboard. Bennett knows his 2023 squad, enriched by possible returners, could make a run at the record.

“Nothing is guaranteed from one year to the next, but I think that once these girls remain healthy and stay motivated ... ,” he began before the thought morphed into praise for Hill, the sprinter/hurdler who clocked 54.4 seconds for the third leg at Penn. “Kerrica Hill ran on the 4x400m for the first time in her life,” Bennett recalled, “and that’s because (Central Champs 400 metre hurdles winner) Daena Dyer was hurt before Champs, and I thought she did very well. Running 54.4 on any given day is a very good split at the high school level. I think once she understands the event, she can split 52 or faster because she’s afraid of the event.”

Hill tiptoed through the heats and got a word of advice from Bennett.

“I figured we would have a lead going into that third leg so she could step off the gas and then apply her natural speed. In the finals, all I asked her to do was just run a little more the first 30 metres, and I thought the results were excellent,” he said of the young prospect.

With McAnuff churning out sub-53 legs all season, 11.14/22.53 sprinter Lyston slotted into the anchor leg role. “Lyston has one of the greatest ranges I’ve seen in a schoolgirl, of athletes in high school period. She’s not very far from Yohan Blake from St Jago, and Nickel Ashmeade, persons who could run from short to midrange,” the coach said in a reference to Blake and Ashmeade, who ran on all-conquering Monk Street 4x100m and 4x400m sides in 2007 and 2008.

“Lyston doesn’t train for the 400m. She trains for her sprints. She just has the ability to run back-to-back 200s better than most,” Bennett revealed. That ability produced a winning 50.8 second split at Champs and a 51.42 anchor at the Penn Relays.

That triumph was Hydel’s third in the last four editions of the Philadelphia relay carnival. The next staging could see Hydel in pursuit of a Vere standard set by Jackson, Olivia James, Yanique McNeil, and Andrenette Knight.