Long Beach Poly is led by the great senior Ariana Washington (11.18w), who anchored LBP to victory in 2012 and ran a leg on its winning 2011 squad as a freshman. Poly has run 45.73 this season in winning Texas Relays, had the nation’s fastest time for the 2013 season (44.93) and was the top American finisher at last year’s Relays, finishing 3rd in 45.80 behind Holmwood Tech (44.82) and Edwin Allen (45.15).
Holmwood, which last won here in 2006, was 2nd in the Champs Class II race this year in 46.04 and is led by Chanice Bonner (11.49) and Dianna Johnson (11.47).
St. Jago, 6th a year ago and the champions in 2005, was runnerup to EA at this year’s Champs in 46.05 but also won Class II in 45.51.
Wolmer’s Girls, which has run 46.13, features Jonielle Smith, who was 2nd in the Champs 100 to Edwin Allen’s Christania Williams, 11.19-11.32, and won the 200, in 23.45.
The Jamaicans’ new kid on the block is Hydel, a previously obscure team that has never won a race at the Relays. Hydel won this year’s Class III 4x1 in an astonishing 45.33 – that’s essentially ninth-graders – to break the Champs record for that division. They are led by 15-year-old Yanique Dayle (24.03) and 14-year-old Shaneil English (24.18).
In addition to Long Beach Poly, there are plenty of other fine American teams with a chance to make one of the three finals. They include:
Western Branch 47.63, Hampton 47.78, Nansemond River 47.59, Osbourn Park 47.92
Bowie 46.96 in ’13, Elizabeth Seton 47.74 , The Bullis School 47.35
Swenson Arts & Technology 46.97 ’13, winner of the Tri-State final
Medgar Evers 46.01 ‘13
Columbia (Maplewood) 48.23
In addition to the fine Jamaican teams, there are challengers from other parts of the Caribbean, including St. Croix Central, of the U.S. Virgin Islands; Queens College H.S., Nassau, Bahamas, and the Trinidadian squads St. Francois, El Dorado West and Toco Secondary.
Trinidad & Tobago has some excellent Junior sprinters at the moment, including Aaliyah Telesford (11.49), Kayelle Clarke (11.54w) and Zakiya Denoon (23.97), all of whom will be running for T&T at the Carifta Games in Martinique the weekend prior to the Relays.