Andrew, whose father is from the island of Jamaica, said his goal for the upcoming outdoor season is to win the New Jersey Meet of Champions in the high jump and that he would like to clear 6’10”. He is ranked number 16 in the country with a 23’-4” mark in the long jump, which he admits is his favorite event.
Commenting on his senior captain, coach Phillips said, “Andrew is a real student of the sport [LJ, TJ, HJ], and he is always seeking out knowledge on how to improve his jumping techniques. He is a natural leader, a great leader and a good public speaker.”
Andrew also does very well in the class room and is targeting the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University to pursue his academic and athletic careers. He wants to compete at the college level and is excited about that prospect. At the same time, he is cautious enough in wanting to take his track career one step at a time. “In college, you are given more opportunity to train hard,” he said. His desire is to become one of the top jumpers at the collegiate level.
An Attacking Runner
With a personal best 48.5 in 400m for 5th place at the Mar. 12, 2011 Nike Indoor National Championships, Alex is arguably one of the top 400m runners at the high school level. This season, the junior has surpassed his outdoor best of 48.91 in the 400m, which he established in his sophomore year.
“I started out running the short sprints [100m, 200m] in middle school, but when I got to high school I started focusing on the 400m,” he said. “I think the 400m is just long enough for me to compete.”
In addition to the 400m, Alex, who lists Mathematics as his favorite subject, is set to take on the 400m hurdles in this upcoming outdoor season.
Coach Phillips who trains him said, “Alex is an attacking runner, when he is running the 400m he attacks the first 200m, coming through in the low 22secs. His attacking mentality makes him an excellent performer on our 4x4 relay team.” Phillips further said Alex ran a 47.60 split in the 4x4 at the 2010 Penn Relays and has the ability to run 46.00 in his senior year. “What is more impressive is that he is an excellent student in the classroom.”
Inspired by His Father
Marcus specializes in the 800m (indoor) and 400m hurdles (outdoor). He was inspired by his father, Coach Phillips, to run track and believes that “whatever you put in, you get three times the results.” The younger Phillips is willing to pursue track as far as it takes him. His favorite subject is Chemistry and he enjoys competing in the hurdles.
A good student and hard worker in training, Marcus never misses practice. He competes in the 800m indoors to build strength and stamina for the 400m hurdles outdoors.
The goal for both Marcus and Alex is to run sub-53s in the 400m hurdles in their senior year. They are integral parts of the CHE 4x4 relay team that ran 3:17s last season. The target this season is to run 3:14s or 3:15s.
Coaches Phillips and Cieslik are confident that these goals can be achieved, as this year represents another building block in the CHE track and field program.
“We want to turn this team into a program, period. We have the core kids performing very well and underclassmen are buying into what we are doing,” said Phillips. “We are on this right track.”
Cieslik echoes that sentiment: “We are excited about where the program is heading, we are on target and we are looking forward to bigger and better things.”