Mitchell, Holmwood home free at 4x800m
Those who arrived an hour late for the 2023 staging of the Central Hurdles and Relays meet last Saturday missed a record run that may signal a challenge to the established order of merit in the girls’ 4x800 metre relay. Early birds at the GC Foster College for Physical Education and Sport witnessed Holmwood dominating the event with a meet record eight minutes 52.99 seconds.
The old mark - 8.54.58 - was established by Edwin Allen High School in 2018. The winners beat Edwin Allen handily, with the Frankfielders timed in 9.05.40. Monique Stewart put Edwin Allen in front, with a first leg clocked in two minutes 13.3 seconds, but it was all Holmwood after that with Cindy Rose, Andrene Peart and Jodyann Mitchell reeling off splits of 2.14.0, 2.16.2 and 2.09.2, respectively.
Edwin Allen have won the 4x800m eight times in a row at the Gibson McCook Relays and will seek to extend the streak on February 25.
Holmwood coach Dave Anderson was pleased with the performance.
“From the start of the season,” he reflected, “I would have seen a significant difference in the way these athletes have turned out in terms of their training. Our road race season went very well. We won all the events that we attended, and starting January,at Kirkvine, the Fuller/Anderson meet, I saw that we still continue to maintain our progress as the season goes by.”
Two-time Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) gold medallist Mitchell put the hammer down even though she was well clear at the final exchange. Asked why she didn’t cruise home, she replied, “Well, to be honest, I had to do what I had to do and go out there and do my best.”
The Holmwood head coach confirmed that Mitchell was in good form after her winning times of 2.17.58 and 5.11.30 the previous week.
“When I did the calculations from Kirkvine, she’s somewhere within the 2.10 region, and I said it to her last night in a meeting, ‘Jody, that’s where you are at this point in your season’. That’s very good. She has been training injury free. Her confidence is very, very high, so I’m not surprised that she has done very well today,” he said calmly.
Mitchell barely cracked a smile after the win. “When she goes out to the track, she’s like a dynamo. She’s a killer on the track but very quiet,” Anderson explained.
Now an outgoing senior, Mitchell will certainly encounter Edwin Allen’s latest middle-distance champion, Rackiesha Simms, this season. Simms ran a steady third leg for her team at GC Foster and completed a memorable Class Two 800/1500m double over Mitchell in 2021.
With the Holmwood girl in Class One, Simms repeated the Class Two double in 2022.
Last year at Champs, Mitchell won the Class One 1500m after the favoured Edwin Allen pair of Rushana Dwyer and Jessica McLean impeded each other as they led into the final straight. Asked if she was prepared for the challenges she will face this season, Mitchell simply said, “Yes, I’m ready.”