Jamaica’s Edwin Allen High School Girls 4x100 relay team closed their magnificent 2012 track and field season in fine form with a sterling performance at the New York adidas Grand Prix, the sixth leg of the IAAF Samsung Diamond League circuit on Saturday, June 9.
The relay quartet of Saqukine Cameron (lead off), Shawnette Lewin, Christania Williams, and Claudette Allen, in that running order, dominated an all-star field with superb and crisp baton passes and stopped the clock at 44:78secs ahead of their archrival Vere Technical High School, who finished second in 45.51.
Vere Tech's Shericka Jackson chases Edwin Allen's Claudette Allen to the line.-Kwesi Peters photo
In the High School Boys 100m race, Jamaica’s national junior representative and Bridgeport High School’s Jazeel Murphy was defeated into second place with a time of 10.47secs (-0.9w), much slower than the 10:39 he ran at the Jamaica National Boys and Girls Championship earlier this year.
Murphy was beaten by Levonte Whitfield, arguably the most recruited high school athlete in the US (13 universities and colleges). Whitfield, who is from Orlando, Florida and who is best known for his skills and prowess on the American football field, clocked 10:43secs.
Whitfield, the High School 100m champion. -Kwesi Peters photo
In the two other high school events, The High School Dream Mile boys and girls races, the New York Tri-State area had one athlete in each section, Edward Cheserek and Alexis Panisse, respectively. Both got a true measure of where they rank among high school milers in America. In the girls race, Panisse of Dominican Republic heritage and Benjamin Cardozo High chool in Queens, New York finished in ninth place with a time of 4:50.41, far below her personal best (PB) of 4:44.06 which she ran only a few weeks ago in May 2012.
Cheserek, a native of Kenya and a New Jersey High School junior, turned in an exciting and enthusiastic performance as he led the four-lap race for three and a half laps but could not keep up with the stronger, older and more experience milers. He finished in 4:07.29 for ninth place behind the winner Bernie Montoya in a 4:01.32 PB.
Caribbean professional male and female quarter-milers gave their fans much to cheer about. The men’s race was won by Dominican Republic’s Luguelín Santos (45:24) over the USA’s Jeremy Wariner (45.30), while the Bahamas’s Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown finished third (45:36). Jamaica’s National Record holder Jermaine Gonzalez posted a season best (SB) 45:63 as he continues his preparation for the Jamaica National Trials to select the Olympic team later this month.
Santos in full blue at the 300m mark gets ready for the overdrive down the homestraight.
The women’s 400m was even more competitive as six of the eight competitors finished with season best. Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills, currently ranked number three in the world in this event, continued her fine form. One of two Jamaicans who did not post PBs, she was beaten at the line (50:10) by a mere fraction of a second by Americas Francena McCorory (50:06). Rosemarie Whyte, another Jamaican, finished third with a SB of 50.60.