Sprint Factory reopens
“Athletes like to be part of a rich culture and Camperdown had a rich culture, as the Sprint Factory. We have lost that in recent years and we’re trying to see if we can get back to that light. We now have a cadre of sprinters. I believe, as a team...
“Athletes like to be part of a rich culture and Camperdown had a rich culture, as the Sprint Factory. We have lost that in recent years and we’re trying to see if we can get back to that light. We now have a cadre of sprinters. I believe, as a team, we’ll do well. In a long while, we haven’t gone 40 seconds in the 4x100m. At the Corporate Area Championships, I don’t think anyone was even looking forward to see us in Class One at 40.99, and I believe the team is able to do a lot better,” Okeile Stewart, head coach at Camperdown High School, promised on March 25.
After Stewart’s boys placed third in the Class One 4x100m at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in 40.04 seconds, Rimando Thomas, Junior Harris, Jason Lewis and 400 metres hurdler Roshawn Clarke delivered on the coach’s promise with a dramatic win at the prestigious Penn Relays last Saturday. Thomas, Harris and Lewis gave Clarke a slight lead and the tall hurdler cranked out a good anchor leg to close an effort timed on 40.13 seconds, which, incidentally, is the same time that earned Camperdown their last Penn Relays victory in 2006. Jamaica College, 40.16, and St Jago, 40.17, were second and third.
Those who missed a similar effort by Clarke at Champs were surprised the Class One 400m hurdles champion was so fast. “A lot of people never knew Roshawn was a sprinter before he became a hurdler,” the coach reminded.
The success has been brewing for several seasons. “Over the years, we would have started putting some guys together but we lost some along the way, whether it be through recruiting from other schools or athletes just decided to stop working. But, this group of guys that we have right now, along with the coaching team that we have, we have pretty much been weathering the storm and, as you see the result today, it is something that we will enjoy and to grow from it,” Stewart pronounced.
The victory gave Camperdown a record ninth victory in the Penn Relays 4x100m.
The success was a model of baton-passing efficiency, as the high point of Camperdown sprinting at Champs was the bronze won by Lewis in the Class Two 100m. One of Stewart’s former teams, the Swept TC 4x100m, had shown similar efficiency in a 38.84 - 38.97 upset of the MVP Track Club at the 2012 Western Relays. “It is very satisfying. One of the things that I understand about the relays, you can’t go in half-hearted. You have to go to the limits and that’s what we did in Montego Bay, and that’s what we did here today,” said the man who guided Rushell Clayton to the bronze medal in the 400 metres hurdles at the 2019 World Championships.