Making strides

Calabar stand tall as curtains fall on Penn Relays

Observer writer

Sunday, April 28, 2019

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PHILADELPHIA, USA — Calabar High are the kings of boys high schools at the Penn Relays Carnival after retaining two of their three titles from last year — the 4x400m and 4x800m — to move into the lead with 22 titles overall, one more than New York's Bishop Loughlin.

The Jamaican boys swept the relays once again as St Jago upset the field to win the 4x100m title.

After losing their 4x100m title to St Jago High, Calabar rebounded with two solid wins, first taking the 4x800m before ending the three-day event on a high with the 4x400m crown.

The team of Nile McLaymont (48.9), Romario Northover (48.7), Shevoir Reid (48.34) and Evaldo Whitehorn (46.77) ran 3:12.66 minutes to hand Calabar their third-straight win in the mile relays and 10th overall, the most by any high school.

Earlier, they won back-to-back 4x800m titles, running 7:36.61 minutes, well off the 7:26.09 they ran last year to set the record despite retaining three members of the team from a year ago.

They trailed after the first two legs before Rivaldo Marshall surged to the front of the race and opened up a lead for Kimar Farquharson, who slowed down over the last 120 metres but still won comfortably over Kingston College (7:40.96) and St Benedict's Prep of New Jersey (7:41.13).

Jamaica College, who led after the first two legs, finished fourth in 7:42.41.

Devannah Gayle led off with 1:55.04 and Kevroy Venson, who did not run in the final last year, ran the second leg in 1:53.08 before Marshall's split of 1:53.60 on the third and Farquharson, who jogged the final 1:54.90.

Floyd Howell, a member of the Calabar coaching staff, said the race was not easy, despite the comfortable margin of victory.

“The guys were focused and competitive and wanted to leave a mark out there to uphold the good name of the school. We knew that this was one of our strongest teams, and we ran 7:36 after we ran 7:31 earlier in the year; this team can run 7:25, but the good thing is that three of the four will be back next year,” he said.

St Jago surprised with a big win in the 4x100m Championships of Americas final, running 40.83 seconds with the team of Rasheed Broadbell, Vashaun Vascianna, Javari Thomas and Kavian Kerr.

It was their fourth ever win in the event, and first in 12 years since 2007, and the 15th-straight by a Jamaican team.

Kingston College was second in 40.86 seconds. Defending champions Calabar High, who set the record last year, was third in 41.05 seconds, and Rusea's High fourth in 41.76 seconds. Wolmer's were sixth in 41.82 and Jamaica College eighth in 42.07 seconds.

Head coach for St Jago Marlon Gayle told the Jamaica Observer he was not surprised by his team's performance.

“We saw what the other teams were doing and we knew the set-up for most of the other teams and also the workloads that they were under. And based on what we did on Friday, we knew the boys were in shape to execute the work today... it was not a perfect race, but a win is a win, and I am just happy for the team,” he noted.

St Jago made one change to the team that ran 41.40 seconds in the preliminaries on Friday, second fastest on the day, bringing in Thomas on the third leg.

“We knew every one was going to come with the third leg loaded, and the track is mainly corners, so we had to ensure we put the better corner people on the corners,” Gayle explained.

“Also they did not expect us to be running so fast at the start and we have to give credit to sprint coach Xavier Brown,” he added.

Petersfield High finished second in the International race in 41.65 seconds, behind winners Tabernacle from Freeport, Bahamas (41.60 seconds), with Camperdown third in 41.77 seconds.

Munro College were fourth in 42.06 seconds, Herbert Morrison fifth in 42.73 seconds, followed by Papine High (43.06), Garvey Maceo (43.16), and St Catherine High (43.28).

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