Jun 26, 2008 Sports Comments Off on Mile relay team runs new national mark
By Gary Tim
New York, NY (SMS) — Another episode in Guyanese sports history has been written with the setting of a new national record in the Women’s 4x400m relay, as a team of US-based athletes on Saturday, June 14 blew away the old mark that stood for a little over 12 years.
Running at the USATF-NJ Masters & Open T&F Outdoor Championships in West Long Branch, New Jersey, seasoned sprinters Angela Corlette and Aliann Pompey teamed with upcoming sprinting twins Ashlynn and Ashley DeCruise to put up the new time of three minutes forty five point zero eight seconds (3:45.08).
The old record was listed as 3:53.92, and set in Port of Spain by Althea Tyndall, Lorie-Ann Adams, Innocent and Karen Forde on May 11, 1996.
Referred to as the ‘Four-A Team’ – because of their first names’ initials – the new record holders ran without competition in the meet’s penultimate event.
“They showed the exceptional possibilities of Guyana’s relay participation regionally and internationally,” noted athlete agent, coach and physio Keith Basdeo who worked assiduously on Corlette to get her ready for the race after she had contested the Women’s 200m only 15 minutes before.
The relay was led off by Ashlynn who after a 56.2s split handed to Aliann (split 52.5s). Then Angela (split 56.5s) circled the track before sending Ashley (split 59.0s) on the anchor leg. “Like most things with Guyanese, the record did not seem like it would happen with athletes required to run back to back races, and the team expected to set the record with no competition. But, history was not to be denied, not this time,” an overly elated Clifford Wong told this newspaper afterwards.
The meet which doubled as a 2008 Championships and USCAA Regional event, marked the culmination of months of attempts by US-based Guyanese sports executives to line up relay squads.
Their main target was the Women’s mile relay which Wong, an athlete agent and Manager, said “presented the best odds for Guyana to qualify for international meets, based on the girls we have right now.”
Writing on his website www.friendsofguyanathletics.com, he conceded that “athletes, coaches and fans of Guyana Track and field always knew the talent was there to break and set a national record on the women’s side. Only problem, we just could not get the wonderful athletes in the same place to set those.”
The new stars Ashlynn and Ashley are from Maryland, and they took the trip down with the father Melvyn DeCruise.
They are freshmen at the Mount Saint Mary’s University where Ashley was the Northeast Conference (NEC) indoor 200m champion, and Ashlynn the conference runner-up at outdoor 200m. Corlette, a former collegiate champion at Lindenwood University, runs for Emerging Elite Athletic Club.
She had double wins on the day in the Women’s 100m (11.84s in -0.7m/s wind) and 200m (23.95s in -0.7m/s wind).
Pompey, who represents the Shore Athletic Club, will be making the Olympics for a third straight time, and is a Commonwealth 400m gold medalist and national 200m and 400m record holder.
She had also breezed to a 52.03s win in the Women’s 400m. As the senior member of the quartet, Pompey said she was excited about the feat, “especially for Ashley coming off injury and Angela having just run a race.
I think we are on the road to greater things.” She agreed that the showing would urge fans in the Diaspora “to come out and watch these GT athletes.”
Wong thanked the girls for their performance and reminded that “their teaming up for the first time, and doing this, underscores our efforts to pull together as a nation and fortify our imprint on the track and field world.”
“The other seasoned athletes were away at nationals (Diane Munroe and Jeavon Benjamin at NCAA Championships) and in Europe (Marian Burnett on the elite circuit), but it’s good thing our pool is growing so we had open options.”
He also lauded the support of several aficionados who “made it happen”, including world masters indoor 60m record holder Val Barnwell; Guyana’s national coach to the Beijing Olympics, Joe Ryan (Pompey’s coach); Ms. Suzanne Green and head coach of Emerging Elite AC, Zolden Eastwood.
He reserved special thanks to the senior DeCruise who is formerly of Charles Street, Georgetown, the meet directors and officials, and Monmouth University head coach Joe Compagni.
Wong is arranging other appearances at sanctioned meets, and hopes to put out the best foursome.
“Again availability is a major issue that informs our makeup. Ideally, based on personal best (PB) times, our best would come from a team comprising Aliann, Jeavon, Marian, Diane and Angela.
According to the reporting system the 400m PB listed are: Pompey – 50.96s, Benjamin – 53.45s, Burnett – 53.76s, Munroe – 55.57s, with Corlette having a 39.51s at 300m which translates to 53.26s for the one lap.
This would give a 3:32.19 for the baton carry. Wong carefully noted that the times are for flat races, adding “obviously the splits would combine to knock off at least 2 to 3 seconds from that total.”
Global meets like the Olympics take the top-16 teams, and once Guyana could consistently run that time or better, “our chances of getting to the 12th to 16th is greatly in hand.” For Beijing those positions are currently held by Japan – 3:30.35, Brazil – 3:31.11, China – 3:32.25, Italy – 3:32.73 and Romania – 3:32.95, respectively.
In related news, Wong disclosed that Guyana needs to take up “the chances to qualify for global meets into next year by putting up relay teams in at least two outings each.” Apart from the 4x400m, he identified Men’s and Women’s sprint relays, saying “based on recent shows, names on hand are Lee Prowell, Randy Lee, Jeremy Bascom, Dax Danns, Kwesi Sarabo, Rawle Greene and hopefully Gordon McKenzie. On the distaff side, there are Dianne, Angela, Analisa Austin, Alicia Fortune, Michelle Gomes and the DeCruises.”
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