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Scraders looking to finish on a high

Top trio: Scraders is all smiles after setting a new record in the Senior Girls race in last year’s KPMG Front Street Mile. Douglas, left, and Bascome were second and third

When somebody breaks your record, just go and get another one.

That is what Kyrah Scraders did last year on the same night that Ashley Irby broke her Middle Schools record in the KPMG Front Street Mile.

The Middle distance runner duly went out and set a new record in the Senior Schools race, beating Ashley Berry’s record set in 2006 by 17 hundredths of a second with her time of 5min 19.74sec.

It was Scraders’s fourth win in the last five races and she is now aiming for one last victory tonight when she runs her final schools race.

Last year the 17-year-old Berkeley Institute student defended her Senior Schools title when she broke Berry’s record. In fact it was a good night for the school girls as Irby, of Saltus, earlier set a new record in the Middle Schools race when she broke the record that Scraders set in 2010 (5:31.1) with a time of 5:27.54.

Scraders’s achievements in the races over the past few years have been impressive, after a fourth-place finish (5:48) in her first Middle Schools race in 2009, setting a new record and knocking eight seconds off Shuntae Hendrickson’s winning time in 2009.

Scraders won again in 2011 in 5:41.70 before finishing second to Hendrickson in 2012 in her first Senior Schools race. In 2013 she was 13 seconds ahead of the second place finisher in 5:22.66 and last year went even faster to set the new record and make it four wins in the last five years.

“I’m feeling confident, I just want to try to get the record down lower,” said Scraders, who hopes to improve on her performance in the recent trials.

“I did horrible, it wasn’t my best. At that time I wasn’t at my fittest because I was just coming back into training, but I’m not worried about it because I’ve been training hard leading up to this Friday.”

Scraders will face competition from the likes of Zakiyah Showers, Jordan Bascome, Lynsey Palmer and Messiah Greaves, who was second to Irby in the Middle Schools race last year. Bascome was third behind Scraders and Quaashie Douglas in the senior girls race in 2014, but Douglas is away in school and will not be competing.

“I’m focusing on the 800 metres and just started training in November, so I haven’t been training that long,” Scraders said.

After some outstanding performances overseas, at least three United States colleges have Scraders on their radar and she is hoping to secure a scholarship to attend college in the fall.

“Nothing yet, I’m still looking,” she said. “School is going well, we’re doing mid-year exams this week.”

Some rain is in the forecast for tonight, a usual occurrence for the Front Street races, but spectators are still expected to turn out in numbers to watch the races. “The crowds are good but I just focus on what I’m doing and not worry about the crowd until I come into the home stretch when they can help me,” Scraders said.

“When I come out to go to the starting line I know where my family is standing.”

Scraders is again looking forward to qualifying for the Carifta Games, which will be held from April 4 to 6 in St Kitts and Nevis, where she will aim to add to the gold and silver she won in the 800 and 1,500 metres last year in Martinique.

“I believe I’m still young enough to go to the Junior Pan Ams in July,” she said.

Irby is chasing her fourth straight victory after wins in her last year in Primary School and the first two in Middle School. The 13-year-old, who is also a talented swimmer, is in her last year in Middle School and will use her record time as something to aim for.

“I can’t wait, I’m pretty confident in myself and I’m hoping to lower my record,” said Irby, who did not realise she was on course for the record last year.

“I was just trying to do a personal best and trying to win. Kyrah’s a really good runner and I was very happy and surprised to break her record.”

Irby ran a time of 5:37 in the recent mile trials and has been training hard for the race.

“I thought I did really well considering it was on the track and there wasn’t as big a crowd,” she said. “I’ve been training at the Mid Atlantic Athletic Club with Victoria Fiddick and Steve Burgess.”

Scraders’s strategy on the night is simple: “When people are sprinting I try to stay right behind them and not to get too far back so that I don’t have to work as hard to try to catch them up.”

David Darrell, of Warwick Academy, is the seniors boys defending champion after winning his first title in the age group last year. Darrell led from start to finish on his way to a winning time of 4:48.68 ahead of Daniel Oatley, of Saltus, and Somersfield Academy’s Tyler Smith who will be on contention again this year along with Aaron Jacobs, last year’s Middle Schools winner.

Jaden Ming, second behind Jacobs last year, will be one of the favourites in the Middle Schools race where Nick Pilgrim, the Primary boys winner in 2014, has stepped up to the older age group.

The Primary girls race should also be exciting again with Jade Johnston looking to defend her title. West Pembroke School-mate Tesyah-Mahle Astwood will be one of the main competitors as Selah Tuzo, who was second last year, is now competing in the Middle Schools race along with Irby, Emma Harvey, Mikaela Outerbridge, who was third last year, Jessie Marshall, Koa Goodchild and Kayla Raymond.

Anna Marcotte is a late addition in the Primary School girls race and will wear bib number 170. She was not listed in yesterday’s race supplement, but will compete in place of Nishati Smith who has had to withdraw.