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Rock charting path to success at SPIRE Academy

by Barbados Today
5 min read

By Morissa Lindsay 

A great opportunity as a student-athlete is beginning to yield positive results for one of Barbados’ most promising and talented junior track competitors Kadia Rock, currently based at SPIRE Academy located in Geneva, Ohio.

Since joining the SPIRE family four months ago, the 15-year-old has been working hard on improving her times and explained what a joy it is to be coached by Jamaican-born Olympian Kerron Stewart who specialises in the 100m and 200m.

Rock told Barbados TODAY that she knew working with Stewart would help her improve drastically while stating that she is happy and settled in well at SPIRE Academy where she will be for the next four years on a full scholarship.

“I chose to come here because of coach Kerron, I just knew that when I began to work with her I would improve drastically. Working with Coach Kerron is good, her training is really good, her techniques and everything about it is good,” Rock said.

As it relates to SPIRE Academy, Rock shared her journey and what it has been like so far saying, “The institution is a nice place environmentally wise and what’s not, it is getting to meet my expectations. School isn’t how I expected it to be. Yes, people say the work over (here) isn’t as hard as the one at home but I didn’t think it was this easy. Track wise it is way better than I expected.

“When I first came to school here I was rather late, about two months late so I missed a lot of work but I caught up rather quickly to get great grades, but at first it was stressful because of the amount of work it was but now it’s way easier. I am always on top of my work and for track, training is rough but I like it, it makes me push and I’m definitely improving from the couple of months I’ve been here.” 

A member of the local track and field club Quantum Leap, Rock has her sights set on qualifying for the 400m and competing this year for Barbados at the 50th edition of the CARIFTA Games scheduled for the Easter weekend of April in the Bahamas.  

The asking time to qualify for the Under-17 Girls 400m at CARIFTA is 57.50 seconds and once successful, Rock will make her second appearance for Barbados having done so last year at the 49th CARIFTA Games held in Kingston, Jamaica when she ran the aforementioned age group and placed fourth in the 400m and sixth in the 200m.

Olympian Kerron Stewart coaches Kadia at SPIRE Academy.

In addition to coach Stewart, Rock also heaped praises on her other coaches Tim Mack (jumps coach) and Kibwe Johnson (throws coach) who are all part of the SPIRE Academy family that continues to guide the talented Barbados athletes along in her track and field journey.

 A former student of The St. Michael School, Rock recently competed for SPIRE Academy for the first time indoors running the 60m, 200m and 400m. She clocked a winning time of 7.89 seconds in the prelims and was third in the finals in 7.88 seconds for the 60m.

Additionally, Rock ran 25.68 seconds and won her heat in the 200m which was the overall fastest time and put on a reasonable showing in the 400m, clocking 57.65 seconds and placed third overall.

Rock, who looks up to Barbadian trailblazer Sada Williams as an inspiration, desires to represent her country at the highest level and currently has personal best times of 56.78 seconds in the 400m and a showing of 25.04 seconds in the 200m.

The iconic Stewart who has since retired as a competitive athlete spoke highly of Rock and explained that the young, gifted Barbadian reminds her of Marie-José Pérec of France, who is still one of the only female athletes to successfully win gold in the 200m and 400m at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

“The first time I saw Kadia run was at the CARIFTA Games, I was very impressed with how experienced she ran for a 14-year-old who had never competed internationally before. She did not win the race and most times people are only looking at the winner, but something about Kadia’s poise and the maturity with which she ran, reminded me of Marie-José Pérec of France.

“There are so many things that make Kadia unique, but what sets her apart is her discipline, work ethic, and professionalism. I know it might be hard to think a 15-year-old is professional but she is, she is always punctual and shows up on time. She does not get complacent, and she is never satisfied once the race is over, she is always looking to see how she can get

“Lastly, Kadia is a true example of a student-athlete, she is just as disciplined and committed on the track as she is in the classroom. Kadia is still very young and has a lot more growing and development to do, but it’s clear that she has a bright future ahead of her, and quite frankly I believe we haven’t even scratched the surface of what she is capable of doing. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to play a part in helping her to become the best version of herself,” Stewart explained. 


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