Overcome by pride and joy, coach Michael Clarke was in no mood to talk after his Calabar High School team made history in the 4x400 metres at the Corporate Area Championships in Kingston last Friday.
Anthony Carpenter, Christopher Taylor, Shemar Chambers, and Malik James-King had spoken for him with the fastest 4x400m time ever by a high school - 3 minutes 05.04 seconds. Taylor, the 2015 World Under-18 400 metres champion, made an immense contribution to the record by covering his leg in 44.9 seconds.
Asked to evaluate the performance, Clarke echoed the thoughts of all present and said: "Fantastic! Quite an achievement for Jamaica and Calabar."
With Kingston College, winners on Saturday, February 10, at the Western Relays, absent, Calabar made the race look like a time trial. Carpenter opened with a measured 47.1 seconds run from the blocks, with Taylor, 44.9, Chambers, 46.9, and James-King, 46.1, sealing this run into history.
The old mark of 3 minutes 06.56 seconds belonged to another Clarke quartet - Rupert Eldemire, Rudolph Mighty, Edward Clarke, and Karl McPherson of Jamaica College. That was at the 1992 Mutual Games in Kingston.
Taylor joined an elite group of Jamaican high school student-athletes to produce 400 relay legs faster than 45 seconds. They are Akeem Bloomfield, who ran a 44.5 for Kingston College; Javon Francis, who did a 44.6 and 44.8 while at Calabar; and Delano Williams, who once circled the track, baton in hand, in 44.9 seconds during his days at Munro College.
Remarkably, the record run came at the end of a championship where all four boys had run other events. Carpenter and Taylor earlier won the Class One 200 and 400 metres, respectively, with Taylor holding off determined Deshawn Morris of Kingston College, 45.84 seconds to 45.93, with Chambers third. James-King won the 400 metres hurdles.