Jamaica’s top high-school athletes will be seeking glory once again in North America as this year’s staging of the Penn Relays gets under way tomorrow inside the Franklinfield Stadium in Philadelphia.
The country’s high schools have dominated this event for many years and when competition starts tomorrow with the females in action it should be no different, as many of the athletes are fresh from outstanding performances at the Carifta Games in the Bermuda where some 78 medals were garnered.
Tomorrow’s opening day will feature several field event finals with preliminary-round action in three relays.
Adriana Brown of St Elizabeth Technical will be the first Jamaican in a final as at 9:20 a.m. (Jamaica time) she will line up in the high school girls’ 400 metres hurdles. With a best of 58.97 seconds, she is the top seed and will be hoping to give Jamaica two wins in a row, following a win in the event last year by former Edwin Allen athlete Ristananna Tracy.
World Youth and girls’ Class One long jump champion Chanice Porter of Manchester High, who won with a record leap of 6.52 metres looks set to win the event here when she competes in the early afternoon. Her biggest challenge should come from Sha’keela Saunders out of Nonsenad River High in Suffolk, Virginia. Other Jamaicans down to compete are the Alpha duo of Tatiana Wolfe and Kimberly Golding and Opal James of St Elizabeth Technical.
Defending high jump champion Kimberly Williamson should give Edwin Allen High their first of many successes at the meet when she defends her title starting at 2:30 p.m. Also down to contest this event are Wolmer’s Girls’ Shanice Hall, Alpha’s Krista Gaye Taylor and St Andrew High’s Anastasia Forrester.
Jamaican athletes also look set to dominate the shot put. Defending champion SashaGaye Marston of Edwin Allen High will be hoping to win back-to-back titles but she faces stiff competition.
She should play second fiddle to her teammates Danniel Thomas and TaraSue Barnett. Barnett, who won at Champs with a record throw of 50.76m, is the top seed while Thomas, who finished second with a season best 50.42m, could upstage her. St Jago High’s Fayon Gonzales who was third at Champs with 46.14m is also entered.
In the triple jump final, Vere Technical’s Shardia Lawrence who was second at Champs behind teammate Sabina Allen, is the top seed with her 12.59m from Central Championships. Allen will not contest the event.
Following the success of Vere Technical and Edwin Allen in the 4x400m and 4x800m last year, the teams will be hoping for more success as preliminary-round action will get under way in the 4×100, 4x400m and 4x800m relays