Erica Marriott’s life has changed quite a bit over the last seven years.
She came to the United States from her native Jamaica at the age of 10. Now just over two years since she joined the North Haven High girls’ outdoor track team for the first time, she’s evolved into the New Haven Register’s Area Most Valuable Player in girls’ outdoor track for 2018.
“My mom was a track runner in Jamaica and I tried it originally to make her proud,” Marriott said. “I figured I could do it as well and we would have something in common.”
In Jamaica, she watched Olympic superstar Usain Bolt on television along with her entire country.
“When he won, we were all happy,” Marriott said. “I would ask people who wants to race me. I was using his form and techniques, but I didn’t realize it at the moment.”
When North Haven coach Carl Jackson saw her in outdoor track in her freshman year, he knew Marriott had a lot of talent. He recalled she had a hip problem, but overcame it to perform in the long jump and sprint events.
“She just has an uncanny desire to succeed,” North Haven coach Carl Jackson said.
Marriott had numerous impressive finishes this past spring. In the New England meet, she took second in the long jump and fifth in the 200. That came after she won the long jump in both the Class MM and the State Open. She was third in the State Open in the 200 and won the 200 in the MM meet. In the SCC meet, she was second in both events.
She also runs in the 100 and 400, but the long jump and 200 are her best events.
“In the long jump, she uses a lot of her speed she has to get into the pit,” Jackson said. “In the 200, it gives her more time to go. In the 100, she has to be at full speed at the beginning. She runs the turns in the 200 really hard and continues going.”
All of this comes while Marriott deals with asthma. She has to be careful and prepares for her events with it in mind.
“I only found out I had asthma this year,” Marriott said. “Before, I would run and my chest would start burning, but now I’m doing better with my breathing and I make sure I take my pump 30 minutes before I run.”
Jackson expects a lot out of her next spring for her senior year. He’s looking for her to improve on her 18 ½ foot long jumps and her sub-25 second 200.
“I think she can get close to 19 feet in the long jump and go under 24 seconds in the 200,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, I can get her to compete in the 800. She has the ability to do it.”
“It’s just for me to have fun in my senior year,” she said. “Track season is serious.”
She doesn’t set goals, though.
“Once I set goals, everything falls apart,” she said.
Marriott already has begun looking into colleges where she can continue her track career. She’s considering Georgetown, Stony Brook and Yale among others and intends to become a certified nurse.
“I got a letter from Yale and I would like to see if I really can go there,” Marriott said.