Top 10 Moments of 2017 - Numbers 6 & 5

No. 6 - Ronaldo Griffiths Takes Jamaican Gold


Over the years, New York has seen it's fair share of record breakers coming through the Caribbean Pipeline.  Many embrace their dual citizenship to compete abroad during the down-season here in New York.  Names like Brenessa Thompson, Kadecia Baird, and Rai Benjamin have influenced the younger athletes that competition abroad can bring out your best.  For Clara Barton senior Ronaldo Griffiths, he experienced that first hand.

Griffiths, a NYC athlete with familial roots in Jamaica, set the Freshman National Record in the 400m Hurdles back in 2014.  His senior season saw a return to form in the short hurdles, and with the gap between Indoor and Spring in mid-march, Griffiths traveled to Jamaica to try for the CARIFTA team, inspired by Benjamin who had done the same in years prior.  There, he clocked a personal best in the 400H, shattering the PSAL Record in 51.92.  But still, Griffiths got to experience the natural talent of his native country, as he was soundly beaten by compatriot Timor Barrett in the finals.  Both had earned a chance to compete at the CARFITA Finals.


At the CARIFTA Finals, Griffiths not only had to tackle Barrett, but the rest of the Island Nation's as well.  The gun went off, and Griffiths went out hard, showcasing the early speed only the indoor 300m can produce at the Armory.  He made up the stagger quick, but so did Barbados' Rivaldo Leacock.  The pair worked in unison over the final hurdle, but Leacock began to fade.  That's when Barrett began to move, closing the gap rapidly.  It was a race to the finish line, and Barrett was within reach.  Yet, Griffiths would hold on to his lead, and cross the line first, Barrett making up the gap for second by a quarter of a second.  Not only would Jamaica go 1-2, but Griffiths would get his first taste of an International Gold Medal.

Griffiths would come back to the States as a champion.  A rough transition back pushed him to third at the Penn Relays, but he would return to form late in the Outdoor Season, winning both hurdles in the PSAL Champs. He would forgo the New York State Meet to continue training, then drop another Personal Best over the summer, placing third at the World Junior Trials back in Jamaica, with a 51.67.  However, his first major win abroad was a win for New York, as it was the first major male title of such Internationally.


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