By Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis, Special to TrackAlerts.Com
In a country best known for its exploits on the track, one young woman who is quietly building a solid reputation in the field is Holmwood Technical High School’s Tamara Moncrieffe. The Jamaican who hails from Ocho Rios in the parish of St. Ann is currently one of the country’s premier junior long and triple jumpers.
Since she started competing at the national junior level in 2012, Moncrieffe has garnered a number of medals for her country. The list includes winning the 2014 Carifta Games Under-20 triple jump title, capturing gold and silver at the 2012 Central and Caribbean Games (CAC) in the triple and long jumps respectively and being double silver medallist in both horizontal jumps at the 2013 Carifta Games.
Despite never advancing beyond the preliminary rounds at either the World Youth or World Junior Games, Moncrieffe has a bright future in her athletic career. Her biggest fans are hoping she will improve leaps and bounds when she enters the collegiate system.
Moncrieffe, who loves representing her school and country, would like to become an entrepreneur after athletics preferably managing her own restaurant or pastry shop. She credits GOD with her strength of character and recognizes her proud parents, family and coaches as her greatest motivators. She sees two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown as her role model and inspiration. In her spare time, if she is not cooking her other preference is to watch a romantic or action movie.
In an interview with this writer at the 2015 JAAA CARIFTA trials, the athlete shared some interesting facts about herself and future.
Question: Which year did you first compete at ‘Champs’? Answer: “In 2009”.
Question: What is your favourite meal? Answer: “Ackee & Saltfish with plenty dumplings”.
Question: What is your biggest accomplishment? Answer: “Despite not winning a medal, my biggest accomplishment was representing my country Jamaica at the World Youth Championship in 2013 and at the World Junior Games in 2014”.
Question: What is your biggest disappointment? Answer, “Not winning a medal at either the World Youth or World Junior Championship. I picked up a little ache in one of my knees that hindered my progress at World Juniors”.
Question: Who is your favourite international athlete? Answer: “Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic, she is courageous, determined and has great technique”.
Question: How is your jumping this season? Answer: “It is a work in progress, I have not jumped a lot this season but I am gradually getting to where I want to be. Today I jumped 12.99m which was my target for the CARIFTA trials”.
Question: Do you believe that you will break the ‘Champs’ record of 13.52m? Answer: “Staying healthy and with the grace of GOD I will”.
Question: Who is your mentor? Answer: “Mr. Dwight Cunningham, one of the best jump officials in the country. He gives me great advice and encouragement”.
Question: What are your immediate plans after ‘Champs’? Answer: “I have been offered a scholarship at Northern Illinois University subject to attaining the required SAT scores. I am looking forward to the challenge of going there and doing great things”.
Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Answer: “After completing my studies, I would like to be competing at the highest level in Track & Field. However, Track & Field does not last forever, so I see myself becoming a successful entrepreneur in the food industry here in Jamaica”.
Question: What is your passion? Answer: “I have a passion for cooking and looking after toddlers”.
Question: What are your team’s chances at ‘Champs’ this year? Answer: “Our chances are great. If we put everything in place to deal with all issues that may arise we should be OK”.
Champs 2015 will represent Moncrieffe’s final time competing at the annual high school championships and she will no doubt be aiming to leave with an unforgettable performance in the pit. Last year, Monrieffe won gold in the Class 1 triple jump and came within a whisker of the ‘Champs’ record of 13.52m. She also claimed the silver medal in the long jump competition.
This modest yet consistent performer has a personal best of 6.04m in the long jump and 13.51m in the triple jump. Always looking to improve her technique especially in the triple jump, she will have to be in peak condition once again to defeat long time rival Shardia Lawrence formerly of Vere Tech now at Hydel High School.
It should be a fantastic duel among the Class 1 jumpers this year, however, Moncrieffe and her supporters will be seeking a magical send-off. She lives by the following mottos: In GOD I trust, and I can, I will, I must. Best wishes to Tamara Moncrieffe as she continues to soar above all challenges.