New attitude for Venson
If his last two races are anything to go by, Kevroy Venson of Calabar High School is a different athlete this season. Venison has begun a chase to qualify for the World Under-20 Championships in July and the effort is bearing fruit.
On Saturday at the SW Isaac-Henry Invitational inside the National Stadium, the Calabar distance team leader sped away from the field in the 1500 metres to win in 3 minutes 53.87 seconds. A week earlier at the Corporate Area Champs, he zoomed through the 5000 metres and won in a breakthrough solo time of 14 minutes 55.67 seconds.
That run was the first sub-15 by a Jamaican high-school runner since Kemoy Campbell set the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships record at 14.18.55.
“That was important for me because it was my first sub-15 from I’ve been doing 5000m. It was a good experience knowing I went under the 15 (minute) barrier, and I have to improve my times by just coming to the track meet and trying to run a personal best,” Venson told The Gleaner.
Both personal-best performances were achieved with a front running race model that represents a dramatic change for the champion’s usual sit-and-kick strategy.
Venson, a six-time winner at Champs, put his advance in perspective.
“Well, this year, me and coach have a plan that we’re going to get the two Class One records out of the way before I leave high school,” said the reigning Carifta champion.
“Kevroy is training much harder and Kevroy decided that it’s time for him now to set a real mark because he has only one year left in school, and apart from the Carifta teams, he hasn’t made any World Juniors (teams) and so we decided that, you know, we have to set a mark this year,” explained Calabar distance coach Edward Massias after his pupil’s dominance of the Isaac Henry race.
The clock is ticking towards the World Under-20 meet, which will be in Kenya in July. After that, Venson may well leave Calabar a year early.
“Probably, this is my last year in high school, because my coach said he’s finding me a college to see if I can get a scholarship to go overseas and continue my career,” added the tall 18-year-old.
Massias expects 5000 metre times in the 14.30 range.
“He’s in condition to do that, however, as you know, Kevroy is the athlete who has to have someone in the race for him to run fast, but we’re trying to get him out of that attitude, you know, different mentality,” Massias stated.