Jamaican schools vie to extend Penn Relays 4x800m win streak

April 24, 2017
Class 1 800m Boys final at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on April 1.

Calabar, Saint Elizabeth Technical and St Jago High Schools have won the 4x800 metres at the last three renewals of the world renowned Penn Relays.

Alongside Kingston College, they will battle to extend that mini-streak when the boys run into action in Philadelphia on Friday. Resistance will come from a local school, Carlisle High.

It's hard to pinpoint the best Jamaican team. The STETHS pair of Rayon Butler and Javauney James went one-two in the Boys and Girls Championships Class One 800m in 1:50.24 seconds and 1:50.27 seconds. Kingston College beat STETHS at the Western Relays but lost to St Jago at the Gibson-McCook Relays. That's where the boys from Monk Street set a Jamaican high school record of 7 minutes 32.76 seconds.

Since then, St Jago has lost ace Keenan Lawrence to injury. In the meantime, the Calabar pair of Kimar Farquharson and Kevroy Venson bashed the Championship class 2 800 and 1500 records with quick times of 1 minute 51.26 seconds and 3.55.38 respectively.

The old Class Two 1500 mark belonged to Lawrence.

While St Jago will be without him in Philadelphia, Kingston College could add Aryamanya Rogers, the Champs 5000 winner, to the team that chased St Jago in vain at Gibson-McCook Relays. If the Ugandan is back in prime 800 metre form, the purple-and-whites could battle for the title they last won 10 years ago.

The rounded KC squad includes Tarees Rhoden who ran 1.52.53 to be second to Farquharson at Champs, 1:52.62 runner Collin Rowe and do-it-distance dynamo Kristoff Darby. They could win.

During the US indoor season, Carlisle clocked 7:45.86 seconds in the 4x800 relay. Indoor tracks are generally 200 metres in circumference and therefore have tighter turns and shorter straights than the 400 metre tracks used outdoors. That alone could put Carlisle well below 7 minutes 40 seconds this week at the Penn

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