Hat-trick of relay wins for Calabar
Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer
FRESH off their national team title two weeks ago at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships, the impressive form of the Michael Clarke-coached Calabar High School continued on Saturday at the UTech Classic at the National Stadium.
Tuning up for the Penn Relays, Calabar had three fantastic relay runs. They broke two records and established another in winning the 4x100m, the 4x400m, and the 4x800m. Their dominance led some fans to dub the meet the 'Calabar Classic'.
The Red Hills Road-based school made its intention very early. In their first appearance on the track, they gave their fans a lot to cheer about as following record runs at the Gibson Relays and 'Champs', they made it a hat-trick of record in the 4x100m. Running without top star, Javon Francis, they showed the depth of their sprint squad as Michael O'Hara ran a brilliant second leg to push the team to a final time of 40.06 seconds, well under the previous meet mark of 40.46 set by Bridgeport in 20.11. Kingston College were second in 40.26 and St George's College third in 40.47.
Maybe the best performance from the Calabar team came in the penultimate relay event of the meet, the 4x800m open. Rojay Hamilton ran an outstanding third leg to give anchor Jorel Bellafonte a commanding lead in the event, and the team produced the fastest time by a local high school quartet in more than 20 years. They stopped the clock at 7:33.39 to better the previous best time of 7:34.96 set by St Elizabeth Technical at the 1994 Gibson Relays. The other members of the Calabar team were Gawayne Porter and Alex Hutton.
With two big wins under their belts, they completed the relay triple in style, clocking 3:10.61 to break the old record, 3:10.66, set by Munro College in 2011.
Clarke, in an interview minutes after his team's performances, stated that he was not surprised with the results.
"I knew that the boys would have done well based on what happened leading up to the meet. We had some time trials," the veteran coach said.