Calabar gunning for world bests at Penn Relays

April 26, 2018
Members of Calabar High School's sprint relay team (from left: Michael Stephens, Christopher Taylor, Tyreke Wilson and DeJour Russell), after winning the Championship of America 4x100m relay in a record 39.00 seconds at the Penn Relays last year.

No school has won the Penn Relays 4x400m more often than Calabar High School. Coached by Michael Clarke, Calabar should add to its collection when the 124th staging of the venerable relay carnival gets started today in Philadelphia. If weather permits, the 2018 Calabar team could break its Penn Relays and the world high school best in the process.

Anchored by 2015 World Under 18 400m victor Christopher Taylor, Calabar won the high school boys Championship of America 4x400 for a record eighth time last year in the record time of 3:08.59 minutes. This year, Calabar has finished in front in all four of its 4x400m races and at the Corporate Area Championships, Shemar Chambers, Taylor, Anthony Carpenter and Malik James-King set a world best of 3:05.04 minutes.


High school quartet


At the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships (Champs), Calabar finished in front but lost the gold medals as the inclusion of class 2 runner Evaldo Whitehorne contravened the rules. Even so, the time of 3:05.60 was the second fastest ever by a high school quartet and came without the reliably fast Carpenter.

He is reportedly fit and ready to go and if the weather cooperates, Calabar could go even faster. The best relay splits by his teammates - 47.2 for Whitehorne, and 46.5 for Chambers at Champs, 44.7 for Taylor, and 46.1 for James-King at the Corporate Area Championships - add up to a phenomenal time of 3:04.5 minutes.

A win for Calabar would be fitting as the school's 1990 team of Everton Rhoden, Chris Gallimore, Daniel England and Hugh Powell is being inducted into the Penn Relays Wall of Fame.

Though Kingston College and Petersfield High both have fine teams, the real worry for those watching the big Franklin Field clock is the weather. The forecast is for temperatures ranging from 8 to 20 degrees Celsius. If the worst of that projected chill becomes a reality, fast sprint times will not come easily.

The 4x400m final could be run in better conditions as an improvement in the weather is in the forecast.

Winners when Calabar were absent at the Gibson-McCook Relays in 3:09.98 seconds, Kingston College is led by Deshawn Morris who ran 45.09 seconds to win the Boys Championships Class 1 400m. Petersfield, who inherited the Champs gold medals when Calabar was disqualified, has World under 18 400m champion Antonio Watson as team leader.

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