While most of the attention from the huge crowd was focused on Bernard Lagat rallying from behind to win the 1,500-meter race, the youngsters and the non-elite athletes also put on tremendous performances in the Adidas Grand Prix track and field meet, held at Icahn Stadium, Randall’s Island.
The youth had their moments, too, especially when Ronaldo Griffith anchored for Tyler Lewis, Kemarni Mighty, and Kendall Wray and led East New York Impalis ‘A’ team to a victory in the 4×400-meter relay, one of the early events on the all afternoon program. The winning time read 3:43.42.
In this race, the Impalis team held the lead for a while, fell behind and then rallied to put on a strong kick to re-gain first place.
“We tried our best,” said Griffith, whose father Barrington Griffith comes from Jamaica, West Indies, and ran in primary school games during his time in Jamaica. “I felt good because it was the second time we ran here. Last year we finished in second place. We ran in front of all these people from all over the world. It’s a pleasure to be here.
“My (individual) specialty is the 100-meter hurdles and the 200-meter run and I did my best. My goal is to make it to the USA 4 x 400-meter relay team. I attend Intermediate School 302 here in New York,” said Griffith.
Meanwhile, Lewis along with his teammates had a thrill in competing at Icahn Stadium.
“Last year I couldn’t run with them because I was injured,” said Lewis, who along with his teammates felt honored to run in a big meet.
“I can thank my coach John Ellis for being here,” added Wray. “We train at the Old Boys High School field in Crown Heights.”
Coming into the event, Mighty felt confident that he would be up there with the leaders during the race.
In another 1600-meter relay event, Dominic Smith anchored the Executive Track Club to a victory in a total time of 3:08.77, a meet record bettering the old one of 3:10.28 set last year.
The 21-year-old Smith from Connecticut, a graduate of American International College, enjoyed the event and its outcome.
“We really enjoyed it,” said the much travelled Smith. “Our coach assembled this relay team last week. We came out here to run a fast time. We didn’t (even) practice for we just got out of college.”
Teammate Roxroy Cato, originally from Kingston, Jamaica, made his debut a successful one at Icahn Stadium and in another 4 x 400-meter relay.
“I ran in Jamaica; I just had to train hard and did what I had to do,” added Cato, who competed on the track and field team at Lincoln University.
Cato’s goal is to go to the Olympic Trials, win it and then represent his country in London in the 400-meter hurdles.
Christian Brothers Academy, one of the local high school teams, captured the third and final 1600-meter Junior Boys Relay in 3:15.73.
Overall, the spectators certainly enjoyed the many races and field events on the program. Records and personal best performances by the athletes fell. Those who qualified to go to the Olympic Trials must be thrilled. Even the athletes who did not qualify to advance themselves enjoyed competing at Icahn Stadium in this year of the Olympics.