Sat | Sep 23, 2023

10.8 sprinter Alfred still on the improve – coach

Published:Wednesday | June 1, 2022 | 12:08 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

EVEN THOUGH she has been impressive so far this season for the University of Texas, former St Catherine High School sprinter Julien Alfred is a work in progress. According to Texas head coach Edrick Floreal, Alfred is moving into a positive place as she targets the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

Alfred, the 2018 Commonwealth Youth 100-metre champion for St Lucia, has run 7.04 for the indoor 60 and 10.81 seconds to win the Big 12 Conference outdoor 100 title, but Floreal is working to tidy the finish of her race.

“I think we’re mechanically not yet there,” he assessed.

“The first 70 metres of her race are beautiful, the last 30, not so beautiful. So we’re really working on the execution at the end of the race because she’s going so fast and there’s a sense of panic when the legs feel like they’re moving faster than the brain can comprehend, so we’re just trying to get to the point where she can relax at the end and really work on getting better position and execution,” explained the man whose Texas Caribbean crew also includes Jamaicans Stacey-Ann Williams and Kevona Davis, and Barbadian 400-800 ace Jonathan Jones.

Only Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Elaine Thompson Herah have faster 100-metre times this year at 10.67 and 10.79 seconds, respectively. If she improves her finish, she could come away from the June 8-11 NCAA Championships as a winner. Favour Ofili of Nigeria and Davis are the only others under 11 seconds on the NCAA circuit with times of 10.93 and 10.95.

Even though the 20-year-old St Lucian clocked 22.46 seconds for the 200 at the Big 12, she didn’t run it last week at the NCAA regional qualifier at the University of Arkansas.

“She’s not a fan of the 200. She can run 22.2, but again I can shove her in the 200 and force her to run but she’s not going to run the 200 at the Regionals,” Floreal declared.

He explained why.

“I can push it and get two or three points, but then I take a chance to maybe mess up the 100. So in the end, it’s some give and take and coaching is about, sometimes it’s about negotiating with the athlete, in realising what the athlete is about. So I’ve taken the athlete out of the 200 for the Regionals because I just want her to be in a positive place going to World Championships and I want to be in a positive place going to Commonwealth Games,” he stated.

With Alfred aboard, Texas leads the NCAA performance list of 42.35 seconds in the 4x100. American Kennedy Simon, 51.3, Rhasidat Adeleke of Ireland, 50.6, Alfred, 51.1, and Williams, 49.8 – are number four in the 4x400 at 3:22.94 from a victory at the Texas Relays.

“Believe or not, she’d rather run the 4x400 than the 200,” Floreal marvelled.