2012 is a big year for track and field participants and enthusiasts. The London Olympics are naturally the biggest event on the calendar, but there are a multitude of other events that should make this a very interesting season.
Already in 2012 we have had the World Indoor Championships, which featured a great couple of races for Sanya Richards-Ross, (400 meters and anchoring the silver medal 4×400 team) and a triumphant Justin Gatlin winning his first championship since his drug suspension, taking the 60 meter in a season best 6.46 seconds.
We also had the Boys and Girls Championships in Jamaica, where Calabar High School won the boys title with a great team effort. The girls title was won by Edwin Allen HS (R) breaking the nearly decade long stranglehold of Holmwood on first place.
And now, on the last weekend of April, comes the Penn Relays. This year Penn will be missing some of the biggest names. No Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake or Asafa Powell for Jamaica, but that doesn’t mean the stars wont be present.
Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix, the aforementioned Gatlin, Nesta Carter, Walter Dix and Kirani James are all named as participants in what should be a great weekend of races. I don’t see any real challenges to the American teams in the USA versus the World events, as while they have loaded teams competing in Philly this year, the other countries don’t seem to have the depth this year to beat them. As history has shown however, upsets at Franklin Field do happen.
Watch the Great Britain team competing in the Women’s 4×400 relay in particular; they could spring a major surprise.
The high school relays are of particular interest to Jamaicans living in the US. Coming into this week, the top schools by time and event are as follows:
High school boys 4×100:
Kingston College 40.17
Wolmers’ Boys School 40.21
Munro College 40.41
St. Elizabeth Technical High 40.44
Herbert Morrison Tech. 40.55
Jamaica College (under 16 team) 40.75
DeSoto HS (Texas) 40.59
High School Boys 4×400:
Calabar HS(R) 3:10.19
DeSoto, Tx 3:14.88
Kingston College 3:12.64
Laurel HS (Maryland) 3:15:65
Boys & Girls, Brooklyn, NY 3:15.12
Jamaica College 3:13.64
Long Beach Poly 3:18:55
High School Girls 4×100:
Edwin Allen 45.28
Herbert Morrison 45.61
Boyd Anderson HS (Florida) 45.66
Long Beach Poly 46.04
Vere Technical 46.00
St. Jago HS 46.60
St. Andrews HS 46.93
High School Girls 4×400:
Vere Technical High 3:38.91
American Heritage HS (Florida) 3:43:15
St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) 3:44:50
Holmwood Technical 3:44.04
Edwin Allen High 3:44.51
St. Andrew High 3:45.07
There should also be some great college races, with UWI, UTech and GC Foster competing with the traditional US college relay powerhouses; Florida, Texas A&M, LSU and Arkansas, who have all run under 39.70 this season.
One thing is for sure, this meet is not going to disappoint fans of track and field, and should give us a early look at some of the names we will see in London and also, maybe Brazil 2016.