Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Keep your eyes on Prince

Published:Friday | April 29, 2022 | 12:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
St Jago High School’s Gregory Prince
St Jago High School’s Gregory Prince

Talent scouts at this week’s Penn Relays in Philadelphia may well cast an eye on Gregory Prince, the winner of the Class One 400 metres at the recent ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships (Champs). Prince, a strapping lad from St Jago High School, is a late convert to the one-lap event and will feature for the Monk Street school in the 4x100m and the 4x400m. Ushered into the 400m by hapless luck with starts in the shorter sprints, he says St Jago is running to win.

Jamaica College (JC) have the fastest high school times in both relay events at 39.43 seconds and three minutes 09.96 seconds but St Jago are second-fastest at 39.89 behind JC at Champs and 3:10.48 to win at the Gibson McCook Relays. With just one other team – Kingston College at 3:10.68 – under three minutes and 11 seconds, Prince is hopeful. Asked about his school’s prospects, he replied, “Time will tell. So we want to win so we’re just going for it,” he promised.

The 2021 National under-20 200 metres champion has produced memorable relay runs throughout the season. At the Queen’s/Grace Jackson meet in January, he led St Jago to victory with a 45.8-second dash on the third leg. At Gibson McCook, he charged from fifth place to reach the finish first in the Class One 4x100m before adding a 46.3 leg to the St Jago triumph in the 4x400m.

His efforts were in vain at Champs but included another 46.3 second leg.

Nevertheless, the 2022 edition of the greatest high school meet in the world remains a landmark for Prince. He circled the track in 45.99 seconds, blasting from the start and finishing strongly to win.

“It was a great feeling, a great feeling, a great personal record. It brings me right at the place that I wanted to be so it’s really great,” he recalled as he and his teammates awaited their flight to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

He doesn’t seem to fear the 400m the way most sprinters do.

“It’s a really nice race. I really enjoy it,” Prince said with genuine relish. He has personal bests of 10.69 and 20.92 seconds for the 100m and 200m but said on Wednesday, “I think the 4oom/200m is for me. That’s where I’m at so I’ll just continue at that,” he replied when asked for a preference.

“I really have a poor start so I just took my mind off the 100m and just focused on my quarter-mile,” he explained further.

Prince has the voice of experience in his ear in the presence of 1983 World Champion Bert Cameron on the St Jago coaching staff and he’s imbibing every bit of wisdom Cameron has to impart.

“Most definitely and he’s the best, so I just follow instructions,” the young man said gratefully.

His speed, and Cameron’s wise counsel, has put him on the Penn Relays radar.

High school boys’ action at Penn begins today.