Famous soars to record heights
Jumping sensation Sakari Famous set another high jump record at the 38th Russell E Blunt East Coast Invitational Track Meet at the County Stadium in North Carolina yesterday, clearing the bar at 1.75 metres (5ft 8.89in) to win the 15-16 age division.
Famous, representing the Bermuda Pacers who are making their 34th trip to the meet, equalled the 1.75 mark she set last year which was a new meet record for a 13-14 girls high jumper.
She shattered the old record of 1.73 metres set in 2003 by another Bermudian, Latroya Darrell, who went on to represent the University of Georgia.
Famous is already soaring to great heights and yesterday, like a year ago, the Herald-Sun newspaper featured the 15-year-old in an article yesterday.
“Yes. That’s why I love it so much,” Famous told the same reporter, Dan E Way.
“It’s nice to know that I have a natural ability at high jump. That means I could probably get a scholarship for college.”
Famous said yesterday’s meet record “means I’m improving in my jumps, and that I’m going on the right track towards my other goals.” The jump tied her personal best. She was hoping to beat it with a leap of 1.77 meters, but bowed out.
“I got a slight injury,” she revealed.
Cal Simons, the Pacers coach, is excited with the progress Famous continues to make as she become a household name at the East Coast meet.
Just last week she set a new record at the United Age Group Track Coaches Association Championships at the previous weekend in Philadelphia with her jump of 1.72 metres which broke a five-year-old meet record in raising the mark from the 1.58 metre set in 2010.
“She’s an exceptional young high jumper who I believe strongly will represent Bermuda one day in the Olympics,” Simons said.
“She’s a team leader. She doesn’t say much. She’s an extremely humble young lady. But when it comes to competition, she transforms. Her mind is pretty much set two or three days in advance of what she wants to do.”
Simons credits Famous’s meteoric rise to the work put in by Rohaan Simons, Bermuda’s national high jump coach.
Other top performers for the Pacers were Selah Tuzo in the girls’ 11-12 division where she took first place in the 800 and 1,500-metre races to go with her 800 and 1,500 metre wins in Philadelphia while Jayden Ming won the 3,000 and 1,500 metres.
“I think I had a good kick. I was behind, and then I passed her at the end [ in the 800],” Tuzo said.
“My mom wants me to try my best, and she wants me to have a kick at the end.”
Ming had a strategy, too. “My strategy was to stick behind the first-place person and then burn ’em up in the last two laps,” Ming revealed.
“I like Durham,” he added. “This is like my second home,” having come here many times to compete in motocross.”
The host Durham Striders won the overall combined team title, staving off a tough Glenarden (Maryland) Track Club, which took second place in the 89-team field.
The Striders won the boys’ overall team title and took second in the girls’ team standings. Glenarden won the girls’ title and finished second in the boys’ competition.
“Since 15, 20 years, we have not lost this meet,” Striders coach Frank Davis said proudly.
“You have some teams, and they run a lot of relays, and you see stuff on the track. But with our team, we’re well rounded.
“We have throwers, jumpers. We have little kids, old kids, hurdlers. We’re scoring points in those areas you’re not seeing on the track.”
Davis said competition was tough this year, with top-notch individual participants including past national champions.
Glenarden, together with the Striders, are considered one of the so-called Big Four youth track organisations in the country. The others are the LA Jets in California and Track Houston of Texas.
“Glenarden’s very powerful,” Davis said. “Bermuda’s good. Western Branch have one of the best teams in the country.
“They broke the high school national record at New Balance [Outdoor Nationals] a few weeks ago, in the solo hurdler relays,” Davis said.