Ackeem Blake makes Merlene Ottey High proud
Despite being named in honour of an Olympian, Merlene Ottey High School is not one known for its exploits in track and field.
However, sprint sensation Ackeem Blake certainly put the school on the radar after he was crowned national under-18 100m champion, clocking 10.41 seconds at the Supreme Ventures/Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Senior Championships last Friday at the National Stadium.
Blake is excited about the opportunity to represent his country for the first time at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under-18 and Under-23 Championships in Queretaro, Mexico, from July 5 to 7.
He is optimistic about posting another personal best (PB) and a spot on the podium.
“I wasn’t really nervous because I knew I could do it. I felt really great. When I came up out of my drive phase, I didn’t see anyone beside me so I just continued pumping; inhale and go. From there, I continued pushing to the finish line,” Blake said. “This means a lot to me, I was really happy after the race. Next week, if given the opportunity, I want to put on another good performance, hopefully, I can PB again and get on the podium.”
Assistant coach at Merlene Ottey High, Trevaughn Marsh, who has been guiding Blake’s progress, is pleased with the teen’s improvement over the past two years.
He said he is expecting great thing from him in the future.
“For me personally, it has been a fun journey, one that is filled with obstacles to this very day. I remember the first time I saw him running. We were doing hills at training. I was like ‘wow, where did this guy come from? He is so talented’. His speed ratio at that time impressed me a lot. From there on then I spoke to the head coach and told him I was going to take personal responsibility of guiding this one. Since then, he has improved a lot,” said Marsh, who is in just his second year coaching.
He noted that Blake clocked 11.45 seconds in his first 100-metre race last year.
“At Champs this year, he did 10.55 and now he is down to 10.41. It shows that over the past two years he has improved immensely. He still has room to improve because his training age is basically just two years and the sky is the limit for him as I think he will be able to make that transition,” he said.