National Weekend Rundown for March 19

Five Jamaican Names To Remember For Penn Relays

Jamaicans are the stars of the show every year at the Penn Relays Carnival, thanks in part to a racing schedule that sees them peak in late March and April while American athletes are just starting the outdoor season. The Jamaican prep championships, the ISSA Boys & Girls Champs, took place this past weekend. Below are a few names to remember as Penn Relays approaches.

1. Christopher Taylor, Calabar

The Age 15 World Record holder for 400m (watch his 45.69 record here) set two meet records by running 20.8 (-0.4) in the 200m and 46.33 in the 400m to sweep the Boys 14-15 Class 2 Finals. He produced the performance of the meet in the Open 4x400m Relay, where he faced Class 1 rival Akeem Bloomfield, the Jamaican National Junior Record holder at 44.93, on the anchor leg. In a dramatic finale, Bloomfield surged ahead of Taylor before the Calabar leader closed the gap in the final 70 meters to secure the win, 3:09.77 to 3:10.26. Taylor split 45.3 and Bloomfield split 44.5. Taylor's anchor as well as his individual wins aided Calabar to their fifth consecutive Champs title.

2. Akeem Bloomfield, Kingston College

Bloomfield defended his Boys 16-19 Class 1 400m title in 46.12, which stood as the fastest time of the day. In the 4x400m Relay OPEN Finals, he ran a gutsy 44.5 anchor leg to take Kingston College from third to second. Last year, Bloomfield became the first Jamaican prep to break 45 seconds last year with his 44.93 National Junior Record. 

3. Junelle Bromfield, St. Elizabeth Technical

The defending Penn Relays 400-meter hurdles champion swept three events in Girls 17-18 Class 1: the 1500m in 4:40.77, the 800m in 2:09.7, and, most impressively, the 400m in 51.74.

4. Nigel Ellis, St. Elizabeth Technical

Nigel Ellis pulled off the short sprint double in the Boys 16-19 Class 1 section, as he ran times of 10.19 (no wind!) and 20.76 (-3.1) into a headwind. These were his first medals at the Champs.

Ellis had a poor start in the 100m, but closed well to overtake Raheem Chambers of St. Jago, who placed second in 10.25.

Watch the video below to see Ellis' race and a post-race interview, where he said he overcame his typical poor start by listening to his coach's advice: "swing my hands over my head and stay near to the ground."

5. Kingston College Boys 4x100m Relay

The Kingston College quartet clocked an outstanding 39.87 to win the Boys 16-19 Class 1 4x100-meter Relay, as Jamaica College took runner-up honors in 40.24. For reference, only two U.S. teams have ever broken 40 seconds in the 400-meter relay. The National High School Record is 39.76, set by Wyatt High School of Texas in 1998.


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