Jamaican Athletes Shine On Return To Penn Relays

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The Edwin Allen High 4x100m team of (from left) Tina Clayton, Brandy Hall, Tia Clayton and Serena Cole react after breaking the record at the Penn Relays on Friday, April 29, 2022. (Photo: Collin Reid courtesy of Courts, Supreme Ventures, Team Jamaica Bickle and Flow)

By NAN Sports Editor

News Americas, PHILADELPHIA, PA, May 2, 2022: Jamaica’s athletes made their presence felt with an exclamation point over the weekend as the Caribbean country returned to the Penn Relays, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Edwin Allen High and Hydel High broke the 4×100-m and 4×400-m high school relays competition, respectively, at the 126th staging of the Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Edwin Allen won two relays, adding the 4×800-m, and just missed their first sweep after they were second in the 4×400-m. It was the fourth staging in a row during which Jamaican schools had swept the high school girls relays.

The Michael Dyke-coached Edwin Allen team ran 43.18 seconds to break the 4x100m record, while Hydel clocked 3:32.77 minutes in the mile relay about an hour later.

Hydel clocked 3:32.77 minutes in the 4×400-m.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Jamaica College won the high school boys Championships of Americas 4×800-m to complete Jamaica’s sweep of the relays on Saturday’s final day of the 126th Penn Relays Carnival at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

JC led from the start to win in 7:28.38 seconds, the third best time ever.

Camperdown High won the 4×100-m and Kingston College took the 4×400-m to match the sweep by the girls.

The team of Omarion Davis, Handal Roban, Kemarrio Bygrave and J’Voughnn Blake was unchallenged as they beat Ridge High of New Jersey – 7:41.59 seconds and West Springfield of Virginia – 7:45.14 seconds. It was their second win in the 4x800m and first since 1999 and comes after a second place in the 4x100m and sixth in the 4x400m.

Meanwhile, despite competing with an injured ankle, Kingston College’s (KC) Jaydon Hibbert still managed to outclass his rivals to win the Championship of America triple jump event at the 2022 Penn Relays at the Franklin Field Stadium.

Hibbert, had a best of 15.94 metres to win the event. Ryan John from Valley Stream North High School in New York was second with a mark of 15.05m while Brandon Hutchinson of St Augustine’s College, Bahamas finished third with 14.39m.

And St Elizabeth Technical’s Dejone Raymond leapt to a new personal best mark to mine gold in the Championship of America high jump event at the Penn Relays.

Raymond, who finished second in the event at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, cleared the bar at 2.05 metres to erase his previous best of 2.00m. Kingston College’s Aaron Lawrence, who has jumped 2.13m this season, was third with a mark of 1.99m.

SOMBER MOMENT

There was one somber note, however, as Holmwood Technical’s Samantha Pryce fell and broke her leg in the 4x800m relays.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, said Pryce, was taken to the Penn Medical Centre and had to have surgery.

The athletes are all registered on the ministry’s Athletes’ Insurance Programme; and the minister said she is making arrangements to ensure that Pryce gets the best care.

Pryce won the Under-20 girls’ 3000 metres while competing for Jamaica at the recent Carifta Games in Kingston.

TEAM JAMAICA BICKLE

For another year, Team Jamaica Bickle, founded by Jamaican immigrant, Irwine Clare, Sr. O.D., and an army of volunteers, were back at the Relays, dishing up ‘bickle’ with love to Caribbean athletes and providing services such as massages to athletes, transportation and accommodation thanks to donations secured earlier this year. TJB was also in the Carnival Village this year for the first time, flying the flag of Jamaica high as the prime minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, also made a foray to the prestigious relays this year.