Calabar of Jamaica Runs Greatest Set of High School Relays in History

Author  Brian Towey of DyeStat

PHILADELPHIA – The boys track team from Calabar High of Kingston, Jamaica produced another jaw-dropping, historic series of relay performances Saturday at Franklin Field. 

calabarboysCalabar not only became the first school to win the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800 Championship of America titles in the same year, it did so by using 12 athletes and three results that all exceed the all-time U.S. prep records.

First, Calabar won the 4x100 relay in 39.51. That’s slower than the record time the islanders set in 2017 (39.00). Five Jamaican teams ran under 41 seconds. 

Then, Calabar won the 4x800 relay in 7:26.09 as the team produced four splits between 1:50.61 and 1:53.63. That slashed four and a half seconds off the Penn Relays record. 

And as a final act, Calabar ran an astonishing 3:03.79 in the 4x400 relay – as Malik James-King (47.6), Anthony Danvers (45.5), Shemar Chambers (45.82) and Christopher Taylor (44.84) thrilled a partisan flag-waving Jamaican crowd.

"I expected them to run fast, but perhaps not quite as fast as they did," Calabar coach Omar Hawes said of the 4x400. "I expected them to break the record, but not as quickly as they did." 

Hawes said that he expected a breakthrough after the team had recently run 3:05 at the Digicel Grand Prix in Kingston and 3:06 at the Boys and Girls National Championships in March.

Calabar became the first boys team to win three relay events at Penn Relays of any kind since 1949 when Bishop Loughlin NY did it. 

Jamaican teams swept the first six spots in the 4x400 championship, with Petersfield (3:09.05) and Kingston College (3:09.60) going below 3:10.

East Orange NJ was the top American finisher, seventh, at 3:14.54.

Calabar’s 3:03.79 shaved nearly five seconds off the Penn Relays record the squad set last year (3:08.59).

"We know we have to train hard to pass those who have passed before us," said Chambers, who ran the 45.82 third leg. "That's a great motivation."