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Edwin Allen set for relay sweep at Penns

Published:Wednesday | April 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Members of the Edwin Allen High sprint relay team which set a world high school record, 43.95 seconds, in placing second at the 2014 UTech Classics at the National Stadium. The event was won in a meet record 43.31 by MVP. From left: Christania Williams, Saqukine Cameron, Monique Spencer and Claudette Allen. - photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Dyke - File

Raymond Graham, Gleaner Writer

After winning their second National High schools title at 'Champs', Edwin Allen's girls look set for some sizzling performances at the 120th staging of Penn Relays, which begins tomorrow and runs through to Saturday.

The team from Frankfield, Clarendon, had five second-place finishes a year ago, including three in relay events. On that basis, head coach Michael Dyke is very confident that things will be different this time.

"Last year, we were a bit unlucky, as we came so close on several occasions. But we have worked hard over the past years and we expect a very successful Penn Relays, as the girls are on a high, and we hope to carry that momentum into the meet," said Dyke.

They will start as big favourites to win the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800 metres.

Ten years ago, a quartet from Vere Technical, which included Simone Facey, dazzled the Franklin Field crowd with an eye-popping 44.32 seconds win in record time in the 4x100m. If the weather is right, Edwin Allen could produce the first sub-44 seconds run by a schoolgirl team at Penns.

Three times this season, the quartet of Christania Williams, Claudette Allen, Saqukine Cameron and Monique Spencer has gone under the Penn Relays record, with their most impressive clocking coming at the UTech Classics where they became the first schoolgirl team to go sub-44, stopping the clock at 43.95 seconds while finishing second to a strong MVP Track Club team.

It should be a good send-off for veteran Marleena Eubanks, who will be competing in her fourth and final year at the meet. She is expected to play pivotal roles in both the 4x400 and 4x800 metres, where Edwin Allen has the fastest times in both events going into the meet. Holmwood Technical (3:34.75) set the 4x400m record in 2001. Based on Edwin Allen's 3:34.69 clocking at Gibson Relays, they can erase that mark. Defending champions Vere Technical recorded 3:37.42 at Champs when finishing second, while St Jago High clocked 3:36.89 at the UTech Classics.

Despite a strong challenge at Gibson by Holmwood Technical in the 4x800, Edwin Allen should win, although they should not threaten the record of 8:37.71 set by Vere in 1991 with the Turner sisters, Inez and Janice.

Edwin Allen will look to lower their season best of 8:52.81, which was done at Gibson Relays in February.

Unlike former years, there is not expected to be a strong challenge from North American institutions, as Jamaican teams look set to dominate.