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South Shore H.S. runs into winner’s circle

The boys track team at South Shore High School made a trip to New Haven’s Yale University and returned to Brooklyn with victories in a relay event and on the track. Last winter Kemar Clarke wound up first in the finals of the 55-meter high hurdles at the Yale Indoor Track and Field Classic. This time he felt confident that he could again take the whole thing. After qualifying in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to advance, his mind was set on capturing the championship race. He did it in his last race at Yale, in this his senior year, in a South Shore uniform. His clocking of 7.57 in the final was an improvement over his 7.66 in the semi-finals. “It means a lot to defend my title and improve my time,” Clarke said after his competition. “My strategy was to snap down when I led off. It’s always my strategy. At the beginning of the race I was ready to go over each hurdle. When I got out all my jumps cleared. My snap down was pretty good.” Later on during the all-day meet, Clarke teamed with Brian Broadbelt, Dwayne Ottey, and Shavar Watson to lead South Shore to an exciting first place finish in the 4x400 meter relay, in a time of 3:29. Clarke felt just tremendous in competing at Yale’s Coxe Cage. “We ran at an IVY League college, “ the number one hurdler in the City and State said. “I got a good time in. We got college coaches to look at us. “The hurdle is my specialty and I love it. I’m running here at South Shore for four years. “Zodda (track coach Phil Zodda) saw me running in school. He thought I would be good at this sport and encouraged me to try out for the team. I hold a couple of school records.” In another event at the Yale Meet exclusively for scholastic athletes, senior Sean Troop finished second in 50.26 in the 400 meters. Tyler O’Brien of Rocky Hill won the event in 50.04. In still another event, but on the field earlier in the morning, South Shore’s junior Selwyn McPherson tossed the shot put 49’6 ?” for ninth place. Clarke is now headed to compete in the l600-meter relay for PSAL members at the Millrose Games on Friday evening Feb. 2 at Madison Square Garden. Grady, Sheepshead Bay, and Transit Tech are the other borough schools in the field. South Shore won the race last year and Clarke was a member of the quartet. Odda will choose four runners out of a list of five for the Millrose. He has Broadbelt, Rodney Campbell, Clarke Ottey, Troop, and Shavar Watson as his candidates for the Millrose l600 meter relay. “We ran in lane one and passed the baton around,” Clarke recalled. “It was exciting to run at the Garden because we went in as the underdog and won.” During the indoor season, the team practices on the third floor of the school, which, according to Clarke, is better for him. “My goal is to keep improving,” he said. “He’s come a long way since his freshman year,” Zodda said. “He picked up the hurdle drills; he’s gotten much quicker as a runner without the hurdles, consequently when we put the hurdles in front of him, he doesn’t see it as much of a challenge as in a race to the finish line.” Zodda is looking forward to seeing him continue his education and running at a good college.

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