CARIFTA Games bronze medallist Sarah Belle is among a 17-member team chosen by the champion Christ Church Foundation School for next week’s Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States.
Belle, who secured bronze in the Under-17 Girls’ 100 metres hurdles at this year’s CARIFTA Games in The Bahamas, will race in both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays alongside Kyla Cummins, Leilani Haddock, Hannah Connell, Rosette Hoyte and Chloe Lucas.
Head coach Seibert Straughn told the Weekend Nation this was a chance to expose some of his top athletes to an international meet and to also put in line for scholarships as many scouts would be on hand for the annual meet hosted by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
“This is a chance for the scouts to see their talent and the possibility of them obtaining athletic scholarships. This is a massive meet with great competition involving the United States and Jamaica. Justin Gatlin will be among the global stars competing once more so our athletes will get the chance to see the best,” he said.
In 2012, there were 116 events run at the meet, and more athletes run in the Penn Relays than any other track and field meet in the world. It regularly attracts more than 15 000 participants from high schools, colleges, and track clubs throughout North America and abroad, notably Jamaica.
This is the third time that Foundation will be representing at the Penn Relays and Straughn made it clear that it was the school’s policy to provide its athletes with regular top-flight competition.
“You have to reward your athletes. This is our third trip to the Penn Relays and I don’t think there are any other schools that have done it three times in a row. We have been to Canada and it is our goal to go to Canada every two years.
“We have to expose the children. Everyone is not going to make a national team, so you have to find other avenues to give the athletes opportunity for people to see them,” he added.
A few weeks ago, Foundation marched to their third successive secondary schools’ girls title while the boys team came second. Straughn is keeping his athletes busy as four of them will leave the island this morning to take part in the Grenada Invitational Track and Field Meet at the Kirani James Stadium slated for tomorrow.
Straughn, a two-time Olympian, is manager/coach of the 4x 400m relay team which comprises Ondre Callender, Brendon Hoyte, Dalano Wickham and Josiah Atkins.
Former national athlete Denise Blackman will manage the team for the Penn Relays, with Ricky Carter assisting Straughn with the coaching duties. (MK)
The full team for the Penn Relays is:
4 x 100m Relay/4x 400m Relay Girls: Sarah Belle, Kyla Cummins, Leilani Haddock, Hannah Connell, Rosette Hoyte, Chloe Lucas
4 x 100m Relay Boys: Jean Pierre Hinds, Jameel Walkes-Miller Laquan Trotman Josiah Atkins Brendon Hoyte
4×400 metre-relay Boys: Ondre Callender,Raheem Taitt-Best, Brendon Hoyte,
Dalano Wickham, Josiah Atkins
Long jump: Anderson Greaves