Photo: Terrique Stennett celebrates after winning the Class 1 Boys 100m finals at the JISA/Seprod National Prep Schools Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston Jamaica.
Jamaica’s newest track and field phenom, Terrique Stennett wants to emulate country man and living legend, Usain Bolt. The twelve year old shot to prominence after running some astonishing times, in both the 100m and 200m, at the National Prep Schools Track and Field Championships, for his school Vaz Prep recently.
Stennett, a grade six student shattered the 100m record of 11.86s set by Taje-Roje Scott of St. Andrew Prep in 2013, when he ran a time of 11.63s in the semi-finals on day 2 of the 3-day meet. He then made a mockery of the 200m record of 24.43s set by Hydel’s Jordan James in 2009 when he blazed to 23.79s in the rain, despite turning to the crowd to celebrate 15 metres from the finish line.
Clearly a cut above the rest of the field at Champs, the long striding athlete already has good running technique and seems destined for greatness.
Stennett finished the championships with four gold medals, exactly as he had expected before the event began.
“I planned on winning four gold medals. Based on how training was going and my performances at the development meets, I expected to win the 100m and the 200m and to break both records, but I never expected to go that fast in the 200m. When I saw the time I was like – wow- because I never expected to have the energy to go that fast on the last day.”
Soft spoken but not shy and eloquent in his speech, Stennett admits that he could have gone a lot faster in the 200m had he focused on the line instead of the crowd.
“I have learned my lesson; I won’t be doing anything like that ever again.”
Stennett wasn’t the only Vaz Prep athlete to point to the stands, and he admits that it was planned by some of the boys to salute the fans after crossing the line.
Like most Jamaican sprinters, Stennett eventually wants to emulate Jamaican legend Usain Bolt in achievements in the sport.
“(Usain) Bolt is my main role model. He has accomplished a lot in the sport of track and field, so when I grow up I definitely want to be like him, but I am at the beginning of my career so right now I want to be like Jaheel Hyde. He is a past student of Vaz and he has done a lot of things recently.”
While Stennett’s performance set a lot of tongues wagging, his coach Nicoy Robinson not only expected the performances but suggests the young prodigy could have gone a lot faster.
“Stennett went through a significant growth spurt so we had to do a lot of strength work to get him ready for champs. I expected the records but he could have gone even faster. Because of the weather I asked him to be a little cautious. He is only 56 percent fit and 80 percent strong so if he was in peak condition his times would have been out of this world.”
With his Prep school career now over, the 5’6” athlete is heading to Kingston College (KC), one of Jamaica’s premier high schools.
“I am going to KC in September. Most of my cousins went there and I want to go there as well,” he stated.
Already tall for his age, this exciting young prospect looks set to make his mark on the international landscape sometime in the future.