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Penn Relays: Cleare And Rolle To Serve As Head Coach, Relay Coordinator Respectively

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

COLLEGIATE assistant coaches George Cleare and Henry Rolle will get a chance to put their collective minds together for the team that will represent the Bahamas at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Moscow, Russia.

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George Cleare

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Henry Rolle

While Cleare will serve as the head coach, Rolle will be the relay coordinator for the August meet.

Together, the duo have put together a squad that will represent the Bahamas at the Penn Relay Festival during the USA versus the World elite segment in both the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 metre relays. The teams will be attempting to qualify for the Worlds.

Named to the men’s team are Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Micheal Mathieu, Ramon Miller and Wesley Neymour for the 4 x 4. The combo of Teray Smith, Antillio Bastian, Warren Fraser, Stephen Newbold and Shane Jones for the 4 x 100.

Although the 4 x 4 team has already qualified by virtue of their gold medal performance at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, the qualifying standard is three minutes and five seconds. The 4 x 1 will need to run at least 39:20.

The women’s 4 x 100 team will comprise of Anthonique Strachan, Sheniqua Ferguson, Nivea Smith, Carmiesha Cox, V’Alonee Robinson and Devynne Charlton. Making up the women’s 4 x 4 team are Laneca Clarke, Cotrell Martin, Amara Jones and Christine Amertil.

The women’s 4 x 1 team will need to run at least 44.00 or better, while the women’s 4 x 4 team has to run 3:33.00 or better to secure their berth in Moscow.

“The good thing about it is we have a relay coordinator, so most of that falls on Henry to make sure that they are ready,” Cleare said. “We’ve been communicating and he’s been keeping me abreast of everything. I have a few athletes that I expect to be there - Cotrell, Amara and Lanece - so it’s good when you are not only a head coach of the national team, but you also get to play a virtual role in getting a number of the athletes ready for the competition.

“In most cases, a lot of the athletes work with their personal coaches, so you’re there more or less to ensure that they perform at the meet. But a lot of the athletes expected to make the team for the Worlds, I work directly with them so it’s going to be a big plus for us.”

Cleare said the Bahamas has always been represented by the 4 x 1, having won a gold medal in 1999 in Seville, Spain, with the team of Sevatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Eldece Clarke. But he said they are hoping that the Bahamas can also finally field a team for the 4 x 4 this year.

“With the combination of athletes that I’m working with (in the High Performance Management Team) and the crew that Henry Rolle is working with in Auburn, I think we’re well on our way.”

This will actually be the first time that Cleare will serve as the head coach for a senior national team and he’s excited about his selection by the BAAA.

“I’m more excited because I have the opportunity to work with athletes who I coach,” he said. “If I wasn’t working with athletes on the team, I would have preferred to be there as a relay coordinator. By working at the University of Georgia, it gives me the logistics of planning and I think the experience that I’ve gained over the past three years will really help me.”

The rest of the management team for the Worlds has not yet been released by the BAAA. But Rolle said he’s excited once again to serve as the relay coordinator, not just for Penns, but also for the Worlds.

“The women’s team (for Penn) is relatively young and so there is no pressure on them because the Bahamas has already qualified,” Rolle said. “It’s good to see Debbie (Ferguson-McKenzie) back competing. It solidifies that we will be able to do well with her joining this year.

“The task is definitely going to be trying to get the men’s 4 x 1 and the women’s 4 x 4 teams qualified at Penn. This may be the only opportunity that we have, so we have to make sure that they compete very well this weekend. The men’s 4 x 4 and the women’s 4 x 1 are okay, but we also hope that they can compete well at Penns as well to set the tune for Worlds.”

Rolle said he’s also excited to be assisting Cleare as the relay coordinator in Moscow. He noted that with their collective experience from college, they should be able to guide the team along at the Worlds.

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