Fri | May 24, 2019

10 strong! - MSJ High looking forward to Champs 2019 with small team

Published:Thursday | March 28, 2019 | 12:16 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Head coach of the Mount St Joseph Catholic High School’s track and field team, Orane Smith (back left) poses with members of the team ahead of the 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.
Head coach of the Mount St Joseph Catholic High School’s track and field team, Orane Smith (back left) poses with members of the team ahead of the 2019 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

At the 2018 staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, only four students – two boys and two girls – from the Mount St Joseph Catholic High School (MSJ) qualified to enter, and though they did not manage to reach the semi-final round in their events, it has spurred a fire in them for this year.

Team coach Orane Smith said 30 students turned up for training this year, and from that pool, 10 qualified for the team.

“Two will be reserved for relays and the other eight will have their individual events in high jump, long jump, 400 metres, 200m and Class 4 100m … . We don’t have a field and so we have to use the small field at the Mount St Joseph Preparatory School, and this means we have to do twice the work to match up.”

Smith said a few members of the team have made it to the finals, equalled the record in their respective events at Central Champs, and are looking forward to their personal best at Champs.

Having placed 11th in the boys’ section at Central Champs with more than 50 schools participating, MSJ seems to be well on their way.

“In the coming years, I see our team getting bigger, making the finals in both track and field events and medalling, of course,” said Shanique Brissett, team manager and female chaperone.

Tasked with the opportunity of leading, his team, 13-year-old Adrey Jones said he is focused on motivating his teammates through his own actions and reaching, at least, the semi-finals in their respective events.

“I am always giving 110 per cent, and I think because of how I work, my teammates motivate themselves. My wish is that the entire team will reach the semi-finals. My events are the 200 and 400 metres, and I am hoping to reach the semi- finals for the 200 metres and the finals for the 400 metres. Last year was my first time, and it was very hard, but this year I am ready,” he said excitedly.

Making it happen

In comparison to other established schools, MSJ has way fewer resources, but according to principal at the institution, Cheryl-Anne Gayle, they are making it happen despite the challenges.

“We use the available resources and the allocations that the ministry would specify for us to use for co-curricular activity. We are coming in a bit stretched in terms of all the provisions, but we continue to be in collaboration with our PTA (parent-teacher association) to see how best we can get food for our athletes, sneakers and spikes,” she said.

She added “… As a school, I think this is one of the opportunities that is very good for the student athletes in terms of their chances, what it does for them and the attitudes and skills they develop … I see it as an important vehicle for them in terms of realising their goals, whether it is their academic goals or goals related to the sport.”