Alright, I'll get a lot of heat for bringing this up, but in the last five years at Penn Relays, I don't see the outright domination of the Jamaican High Schools as I used to (such as Calabar, St. Jago, Kingston College, Vere Tech, Jamaica Collage, etc). I see the "decline". And I've been going to Penn for years. This year, they were back of the pack in the 4x1. Also, only one school, Holmwood Tech, was in the 4x8 final.
Don't get me wrong. The Jamaicans still have great runners, and the names mentioned are still forces at Franklin Field. But the outright dominance isn't there like in the late 70s, 80s and 90s. Some theories:
1) Upgraded Northeast Facilities: The building (or renovations) of the indoor tracks in the Northeast (Armory, Reggie Lewis, Prince George County, George Mason, etc), has enabled high schools to get in shape earlier for Penn. For example, When the Armory was out of commission for a few years in the early 90s, many schools in NYC, and elsewhere, abandoned indoor programs because they didn't want to run at dreaded Manhattan College or Pratt. Now, more schools have more places to run.
2) The Coaching. Many coaches now realising that to do well at Penn, you have to prepare much earlier than normal.
3) It's California, Here They Come: John Muir's historic blowouts in 96 and 97 (3:08 4x4 and Obea Moore) have basically paved the way for teams like Poly, and don't be surprised to see a whole slew of California schools coming to Philly in the next few years.
4) Also, are many Jamaicans immigrating to the United States, hence solidifying American track programs?
Like I said, these are just theories. Any thoughts? Love to hear them. Peace.