September 2019 Volume 15

Former Champs Standout dies Suddenly at age 23

Reprinted from Jamaica Observer
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Former Kingston College (KC) and Vere Technical quarter-miler Twayne Crooks died early September 1st 2019 in a Louisiana hospital after a battle with stage-four cancer of the lungs.

Crooks, who spent the 2014-15 academic year at the North Street institution, where he had several successes, including being part of the powerful 4x800m relay team that broke a long-standing Gibson McCook Relays record, was hailed as a hard-working, humble, and disciplined student by KC principal Dave Myrie; his former coach, Neil Harrison; and former Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president Audley Hewitt, a long-standing contributor to the school’s track and field programme.

Crooks, who would have celebrated his 24th birthday on the 25th of this month, was a student at Southern University New Orleans at the time of his death. This past season, he was named USTFC-CCC All Academics Individual NAIA Track and Field Outstanding Athlete. He also did a stint at the University of Technology, Jamaica, before migrating to the United States.

“When I heard the news, I was speechless and devastated as I did not expect to hear something like this,” Harrison said. “Crooks was like my son, and he was very talented, disciplined, and humble. He could run from 100m to 800m. Up to this day, people are talking about his relay anchor-leg split at the 2015 S.W. Isaac Henry Meet at the (National) Stadium, where the team defeated G.C. Foster College.”

Harrison said that he spoke to Crooks’ mother on Saturday and she had given an account of his death.

“She stated that he was ill for some time and was hospitalised,” Harrison shared. “Despite many tests, they could not determine what happened to him until recently, and she was at his bedside until 1 a.m. on Sunday, and just after she left, he passed away.”

Myrie described the news of Crooks’ death as “devastating and unbelievable”.

“I knew he was ill but thought he would have been okay,” he said. “He was a nice young man, and I was very close to him. We would always communicate while at Kingston College and overseas. After every race in college, he would send me clippings on his performances. We were always in constant contact.

“He was such a pleasant and humble young man who always had a smile. He was a budding star and had dreams of making the team to the Doha World Championships, and he should have been at the Adidas Racers Grand Prix this year but missed it due to a hamstring injury.”

Like Harrison and Myrie, Hewitt, who represents the Florida chapter of the Kingston College Old Boys fraternity, found the news devastating.

“Twayne was hard-working and dedicated, and he loved his teammates,” he said. “He was a true Fortis despite his short stint at the school. We at Kingston College were very fortunate to have got someone like this, and it is very sad that a good person like him had to leave us so early as he had a lot more to contribute.”

Crooks had personal bests of 10.74 seconds in the 100m, 20.99 in the 200m, and 45.93 in the 400m. He also had a personal best mark of 15.34m in 6kg shot put throwing.

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