While there might not be much
track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore
through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State
Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their
marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be
releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it
takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!
We look here at the eighth-oldest record still on the books for the boys. Enjoy!
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The Benjamin Franklin 4x100m team is loaded with more speed than any team in NY history, and they're out to prove it in the finals of the Championship of America race at the Penn Relays on April 24, 1993. They'd also like to win this race, but that's a pretty tall order against six teams from Jamaica that run like teams from Jamaica. They could also rename the CoA as the Championship of Jamaica since a school from the island has won it the last 8 years. Among the three teams from the US lined up here is also a very fast TC Williams (Remember the Titans) team from Virginia, and yes it has a recent transplant from Jamaica as its anchor.
But the Quaker guys from Franklin don't have to beat the Jamaicans or TC Williams to set an NY record; they just have to run faster than a very speedy Franklin squad did at the previous year's Eddy Games when they clocked a 41.0 hand timed, or 41.73 from Section 5 State Qualifiers automatic timed. Two of the guys running here today were on that squad, but they'd be happy to make the mark go way lower.
The Quakers are actually pretty lucky to be in good standing in lane 5 in this race because they messed up an exchange in the preliminaries on the previous day and ran a 43.50 time, eighth best among 9 qualifiers. They know they can do better. They have junior Jermaine Stafford on anchor, and in the two previous years he has won the 100m state championship. Still, yesterday's race was the first time they've completed a relay as the early April weather in Rochester has been a wash-out. They also just broke the Section 5 record of 3:15.28 in the 4x400m a few hours previously and they will be running in the finals for that event in a little while (and chop another half second off their Sectional record).
Lining up in lane 5 for Franklin, lead-off leg Thomas Evans has the TC Williams team to his left in lane 4 and the top Jamaican team St. Jago on his right in lane 6. At the gun for the CoA, there is the usual flash of speed as Evans makes an exchange to Garfield Ellenwood for the second leg and then Antwoine Anderson for the third. This time the exchanges are clean, and off the final turn the final pass to Stafford has him in 3rd place with TC Williams a little ways on the lead and St. Jago kicking hard in 2nd. Stafford puts on the burners but can't quite catch the leaders, as TC Williams snaps the Jamaican streak with the second fastest ever CoA time of 40.56 ahead of St. Jago at 40.61.
Franklin is in at 40.73, shattering its own NY record of 41.0. And yes, 27 years later, that record still stands.
When the 1993 outdoor track season began for the Franklin Quakers, everyone knew this could be a special year. The team was loaded with fast guys who had been trained up from early on in Rochester's renowned Flower City Track Club program. The Quakers had a strong tradition stretching back to their star of the 1950s, Trent "Franklin Flash" Jackson who was later an American Olympic sprinter.
Franklin had won the 4x100m race at States for the last two years and in 1992 had set a state record in the event. Junior star Jermaine Stafford had won his first state championship as an 8th grader while living in Kentucky, and since moving to Rochester he had won two consecutive 100m States titles and also picked up the 200m championship as a freshman. Only a sore hamstring had prevented him from a second 200m title as a sophomore. With all of the top speedsters back from the 1992 team and eight guys ready to contribute fast legs on the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, Franklin was a juggernaut.
Then the season started and a squad that headed out to CA for the Arcadia Invite in early April dropped the baton. Back in Rochester the weather was foul and meets were cancelled. By the time the Quakers ran their first full relay on a Friday after at Penn Relays, they were rusty. A poor second exchange cost some time in the 4x100m prelims, but they did well enough to qualify for the Championship of America race. The elite competition stretched Franklin to the limit and earned them an all-time NY record of 40.73. They also finished the 4x400m race for a Sectional record of 3:14.76 that at the time was the 8th fastest ever in NY.
1993 still had a long way to go after the Penn Relays. At the Loucks Games at White Plains in May, Franklin won the 4x100m in 41.90 while Stafford won the 200m and Evans won the 400m. The Quakers completely dominated the Section 5 sprints and relays with group of 8 guys, that included not only the 4x100m squad but also Greg Heard whose 10.5 time in the 100m was second fastest on the team along with Charles Taylor, Shawn Howard, and Errol Lawson who checked in for some relays. At the Class A championship, Stafford, Ellenwood, and Heard went 1-2-3 in the 100m; Evans, Ellenwood, Anderson, Heard, and Howard went 1-2-3-4-5 in the 200m, Evans, Ellenwood, and Anderson went 1-2-3 in the 400m, and the Quakers won the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. The buses never showed up to transport the Quakers to State Qualifiers, so the coaches drove them in cars. Once there, it was much the same as Stafford and Heard claimed the top two spots in the 100m, Stafford and Anderson were 1-2 in the 200m, Evans and Ellenwood were 1-2 in the 400m, and Franklin again won the both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays but entered only the 4x100m squad for States.
The 1993 States meet was again a blockbuster for Franklin. Stafford won the 100m and 200m crowns, Evans took the 400m title, and the team won its third 4x100m title in a row. Later in June, Stafford set the all-time NY record in the 200m of 20.70 while winning the USATF Juniors title out in Spokane. The season ended with a win at the Pan American Games. Evans also had a nice wrap-up for the Quakers with a 5th in the 400m at the Keebler International Prep meet in Elmhurst, IL. The next year as Stafford ran on his own in his senior season, Anderson took over the team leadership and won the States 100m and 200m titles.
Before Franklin set the all-time best mark at Penn Relays, their 1992 squad held the records for the fastest marks at 41.0 hand-timed at the Eddy Games or 41.73 for an automatic time, likely at Section 5 SQs.