The name Samantha Kavanagh will be reasonably new to most Jamaican athletics fans, but she is hoping to change that narrative at the end of the 2022 Jamaica National Championships this weekend.
After years of transitions, which included an early training stint under the guidance of sprint ace Ato Boldon, Kavanagh has found comfort in running the 800m, and the American-born Jamaican is now aiming to secure a place on the national team for the World U20 Championships in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, later this summer.
“I’m so excited that I get to come to Jamaica and have a chance at making the team,” said Kavanagh, who will be lining up against some of the top Jamaican juniors in the girls’ 800m this weekend. “I look forward to the meet!
“Making the team would be the most amazing thing to happen in my track career. It would also be a great pre-birthday gift to myself,” she continued.
Kavanagh Enjoying Her Best Season So Far
The 17-year-old has been enjoying her best season to date, following personal bests in all of her contested events this term.
Kavanagh enters the national championships with an 800m PB of 2:08.47 and has also clocked 2:08.70 this year. Her lifetime best has her ranked No. 2 among Jamaican performers this season behind Rushana Dwyer, who is the quickest on paper with a time of 2:08.27. The event also includes Kishay Rowe (2:10.42), Alesia Douglas (2:11.07), Kris-Ann Plummer (2:16.52), and Carlene Temple (2:23.06).
But despite her ranking, the Northeast High School (FL) junior isn’t taking anything for granted and even admitted to being a little nervous heading into what would be considered the biggest meet of her career so far.
Still, she was excited about competing against some of the best high schoolers on the island.
“I’m a little nervous only because I don’t know anyone going into the race or how they run so I’m not sure what to expect,” Kavanagh, who started as a 100m and 200m runner said. “But I’m confident in my training so I’m sure I’ll be fine.
She added: “But I’m definitely excited to run against the competition and perform to the best of my ability.”
READ MORE: Thompson-Herah: “I am not 100 percent fit”
Samantha Kavanagh Wants More Than Just A PB…
The Florida-based high school standout, who also contests the 400m and has a personal best of 56.31 secs, says she’ll strive for a performance that will not only produce a lifetime best, but one that will earn her a spot on her first-ever national setup.
“My season has been consistent because my times have been constantly dropping and I continued to improve my time throughout the season,” added Kavanagh, who is coming off a long high school campaign that also included the recently completed 2022 New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, PA.
“As far as the trials, my goal is to not only PR but make the team and represent Jamaica.”
The 800m race for the U20 girls will take place on the final day of the championships on Sunday and the hard-working teen knows that if she executes her race properly, she can run another PB.
“That’s the goal! As long as I execute my race the way I know I can I’m sure it’ll happen,” Kavanagh stated.
The JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships will take place at the National Stadium in Kingston, from Thursday through Sunday, 23-26 June.
Live streaming coverage of the 2022 Jamaica National Championships is available on 1spotmedia.com for a small fee of USD $8.99 for all four days, while there is a list of individual daily pay-per-view plans of $4.99.
World-Track will provide daily reports and results from the featured events at the championships.
The World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, will run from 1-6 August.
Event 3 Girls 19 & Under 800 Meter Run Under 20
Sunday 6/26/2022 – 4:55 PM
WORLD U20: 1:54.01 8/29/2008 PAMELA JELIMO, KEN
Nat. Junior: 2:02.67 7/16/2004 KAYANN THOMPSON
WORLD QUAL: 2:09.00
Name Age Team
1 Rushana Dwyer 17 Edwin Allen
2 Samantha Kavanagh 15 Trinity Elit
3 Kishay Rowe 18 Alphansus Da
4 Alesia Douglas 19 St Jago High
5 Kris-Ann Plummer 19 Vision Track
6 Carlene Temple 15 Alphansus Da