Henry Rolle speaks with Aymara Jones and Anthonique Strachan (right) at the London Olympics.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#FOLLOWING the completion of the inaugural Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational at the new Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium this weekend, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations will finalise the four relay teams expected to compete in the 117th version of the Penn Relays Carnival.
#Held in Philadelphia April 26-28 at the Franklin Field, the annual relay meet is the largest held in the world with more than 19,000 athletes competing in all divisions from the high school to the world-class rankings.
#The Bahamas is expected to have representation in all divisions, including St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine and the Queen’s College Comets from New Providence and Sir Jack Hayward from Grand Bahama in the school division, while a number of athletes will be competing for their respective schools in the collegiate divisions.
#For the elite athletes, the BAAA is expected to field teams to compete in the USA versus the World match-ups in both the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.
#Once again, Henry Rolle, an assistant coach at Auburn University, has been assigned as the co-ordinator for the Bahamas teams.
#“The teams are basically selected based on the athletes who are competing and their availability,” Rolle said. “Due to the budget that I was given by the Penn Relays, we have teams invited to compete in the men and women 4 x 4 and the women’s 4 x 1. But for our men’s 4 x 1 to compete, we will have to pay for them to travel.
#“Right now, I’m having a difficult time putting together a men’s 4 x 1 team for the fact that most of our sprinters who are running are in college. Chavez Hart and Trevorvano Mackey are both running very well, but the Penn Relays is a week before the Junior College Nationals, so it’s a tough situation to ask for them to compete before their nationals, it will be doing an injustice to their schools, who are funding them.”
#Warren Fraser, according to Rolle, will be representing Clemson at the relays, so it will be a “wait and see” situation as far as if he will be able to compete with the Bahamas team that should include Jamial Rolle, Derrick Atkins and possibly Carifta standouts Teray Smith and Stephen “Dirty” Newbold, if he is available.
#“Right now, the men’s 4 x 1 team is handicapped because we really don’t have all of the men available,” Rolle said. “If we can’t get a team together, then we won’t run it. But I’m hoping that after the Chris Brown Invitational, we can be in a better position to make a determination if the team will compete or not.”
#The team will need to run 39.3 seconds or faster in order to qualify for a spot at the IAAF World Championships August 10-18 in Moscow, Russia.
#As for the women’s 4 x 400 team, which the BAAA has been trying to get qualified to join the other teams over the last few years, Rolle said he would have liked to have the services of Carifta’s Austin Sealy Award winner Shaunae Miller, who is committed to running for the University of Georgia, along with Tynia Gaitor, who was hoping to be a part of the 4 x 1.
#“Debbie (Ferguson-McKenzie) is not ready yet, so the women’s 4 x 1 will include the three women that I have training here in Auburn, Nivea (Smith), Sheniqua (Ferguson) and Anthonique (Strachan),” Rolle said. “I’m going to add Carmeisha Cox and Devynne Charlton.
#“They both ran 11.6, so that’s pretty respectable, along with the other three girls who had their season openings this weekend (Smith, Ferguson and Strachan). It gives me an opportunity to work the stick with these three and then decide whether it will be Carmeisha or Devynne, depending which one will be better fitted when we get to Penns on the first or the anchor leg.”
#George Cleare, assistant coach at the University of Georgia, has three women he’s training and Rolle said he will be relying on them to make up the pool for the 4 x 4 relay. They are Cottrell Martin, Aymara Jones and Laneice Clarke, who has already ran 53. Christine Amertil is expected to make her season debut this weekend at the Chris Brown Invitational.
#Strachan, according to Rolle, will also be added to the 4 x 4 pool. The team will need to run 3:34 or better in order to qualify for the Worlds.
#Fresh off their gold medal performance at the Olympic Games in London, England, last year, the men’s 4 x 4 relay team will be led by the “golden knights” quartet of Chris “Fireman” Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller will be joined by Latoy Williams.
#Both the men’s 4 x 4 and the women’s 4 x 1 have already qualified for the Worlds. “I think realistically, we can get all four relay teams qualified,” Rolle said. “The task right now is to get the men’s 4 x 1 and the women’s 4 x 4 qualified. The men’s 4 x 1 team will be the hardest to put together because most of the guys we hope to use are in college. But I may just run one of the quartermilers if we have to. The only problem is you hate running a risk using one of the key quartermilers because they are a medal team for the World Championships and you don’t want anybody to get hurt. So it’s going to be a tough decision and whether the individual is trained for that type of speed.”
#Rolle said at the conclusion of this weekend, the final decision will be made on the complete make-up of all the teams.