Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Champs final day

Published:Saturday | March 19, 2016 | 3:00 AMAndre Lowe
class one 1500m
Keenan Lawrence of St Jago High celebrates before crossing the finish line in a record 3:57.28 in the Class Two Boys’ 1500 metres final at the National Stadium last night.
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After four days of fierce competition, it has come down to this. Fifty events will write the final pages of this year's ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, with the lions from Calabar looking to make it a fifth straight hold on the Mortimer Geddes trophy despite piercing pressure from their old foes - Kingston College's purple hearts - with Edwin Allen clear favourites for a third straight Girls' title.

The National Stadium will shake at its very foundation and burst at its seams as the greatest high school athletics championships get ready to deliver another edge-of-seat, heart-pounding climax.

If it were another year, Edwin Allen would be a little nervous going into the final days of competition, with their lead nowhere as convincing as most had projected it would be at this stage.

POINTS STANDINGS

Still, all things considered, the two-time defending champions, despite a few hiccups here and there, have very little to worry about with the other girls' teams being able to draw from a talent well as deep as the one in Frankfield, Clarendon.

In the girls' title race, Edwin Allen lead the way with 142 points followed by Hydel, 102.5, with St Jago, 89.5; Holmwood, 68; and Vere, 58, at the top of the heap after 20 finals.

Jamaica College lead with 102.5 points after 17 finals, followed by Kingston College with 101 points and Calabar, 93.5 points.

Calabar have looked more efficient in their four-year stay at the top than they have over the past four days, but they are champions for a reason, and the pride is sure to roar, with eyes firmly set on a 26th title for the Red Hills Road-based school.

Fans won't have to wait too long to see some of the island's biggest names in action, with the 400m set to bring out the likes of Kingston College Titan Akeem Bloomfield, who, last year, dropped jaws with a record 44.93 seconds clocking.

His preparation has been hampered due to injuries, but if the form he has shown at the recent CARIFTA Trials and here at Champs 2016, where he has virtually jogged 48.36 in the heats and 46.38 in yesterday's semi-final round, is anything to go by, then we might just see another special run - even if, perhaps, not quite as special.

CLASS TWO BOYS

Before he touches the track, however, Calabar's Christopher Taylor will have a say. The needle-bodied sprinter has twice already given the historians some extra work to do this week with record in the Class Two Boys' 200m and 400m. You get the feeling he isn't quite done yet.

St Elizabeth Technical's standout, Junelle Bromfield, is in for a tough day. She has been dominant all season and will attempt the tough 400m - 800m double, with just two hours separating both events, this after her gold-medal run in the 1500m final last night.

The 200m finals are also expected to ignite the championships, with St Elizabeth Technical speedster Nigel Ellis not expected to lose the Class 1 Boys after several top names pulled out of the event.

Defending Class 1 Girls' 200m champion Nattaliah Whyte has a fight on her hands, with Holmwood's Ashley Williams and her own teammate, Shanice Reid, both ready to pounce as the Class 2 line-up also excites, with the St Jago pair of Shaneil English and Kimone Shaw and Manchester Daszay Freeman heading on a collision course.

The action on the track and in the field will be fast and furious, but only two sets of supporters will leave the National Stadium in a celebratory mood tonight. Who will they be?