By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Dag Samuels, the reigning track and field Coach of the Year, was the least surprised when his athlete Kyron McMaster, won the Jamaica International Invitational on Saturday night with a 400m Hurdles world leading time.
“What he did, is what we predicted he would do,” Samuels who’s also the Chief Coach said. “So, it’s no surprise to me.”
McMaster became the first athlete this year to run the barriers under 48.00 seconds when he stopped the clock at 47.80 seconds, just .01 off Rio Olympic Games champion Kerron Clement meet record. His time improves his personal best of 48.69 seconds set in Florida on April 28 and shatters his own OECS record. His time is No. 5 in the All Time in the Central American and Caribbean region, is a mark that is now No. 28 in the event, on the International Association of Athletics Federations All Time Performance List.
“Going into the race my plan was to win and I know I could get the gold if executed the race as I wanted to, based on how I’ve been training, so that was my plan,” McMaster explained. “I felt I executed the race near to perfection. There was less chipping, I didn’t hit any hurdles and it was a smooth transition for me in the running phase, so I felt that I executed very well.”
Putting McMaster’s time in perspective, only two athletes in 2016 ran under 48.00 seconds, three in 2015, none in 2014, the same year he took up hurdling and two in 2013.
Samuels said that his versatile athlete is focused on his discipline. “Like everything else, we have to be very particular in how we strategize the event, when and how you race, because some races are going to be slower than others,” Samuels said. “It depends on the cause, the field and the reason for doing that race.”
He added: “The one thing he has learnt is the visualization process. Whether you have people around you, or you’re alone, the fact remains you have to go out and execute your event and he has been able to do that. The way we do our workouts is very specific. In the race, his goal was, I don’t care who you are, I’m going to beat you. With that kind of attitude, he didn’t really care who was in the field.”
Samuels’ other athlete, ASA College freshman Kala Penn, earned All American honors, when she finished third in the National Jr. Colleges Athletics Association Championships Triple Jump in Hutchinson, Kansas, on Friday, with a personal best leap.
Penn who won a Carifta Games bronze medal in the event in Curacao last month with a 12.73m mark, cut the sand at 12.82m (42’0¾”) on her third attempt.
“I’m happy, but a little disappointed,” she said. “I fouled my best jump and I was really aiming for 13 meters.”
Penn placed fifth in the Long Jump with her opening leap of 5.79m (19’0”) standing up as the best mark of her series. Her effort was aided by a +2.8 meters per second wind.
Teammate and fellow freshman Ronique Todman, another of Samuels’ athletes, had his second best performance of the season and a non advancing time of 48.10 seconds in his 400m heat.
Meanwhile, Tarika “Tinkerbell” Moses, a freshman at College of the Sequoias, was second in the 400m at the California Jr. Colleges State Championships, with a personal best time of 53.53 seconds, lowering her best from last year’s 53.72 at the Carifta Games. It’s the fastest time by a BVI athlete this season. Moses was third in the 200m, with a time of 24.22 seconds.
Central Arizona College freshman Tarique Moses, equaled his 800m personal best, crossing the line in 1 minute, 57.51 seconds, but did not advance. Moses led off the fifth placing 1600m Relay, that ran 3 minutes 12.22 seconds
“I ran 1:57.51 twice and I’ve starting to get my time to drop,” Moses said. “I’m not satisfied. I still have a lot of work to do. I’m just glad that I’m starting to slowly improve. I’ve only had two 400m runs in college and ran 48.69 seconds, so I’m not struggling like before.”
South Plains College sophomore Taylor Hill, helped her 4x100m Relay team to a fifth place finish in 46.45 seconds, after running 46.41 in the prelims.