Composed Clarke hits mark at Digicel Cup
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Composed, cool and excellent amid pressure, shooting throughout the decisive rounds earned Nicholai Clarke the Champion Boy title yesterday at the Digicel Cup 2014-Inter School Clay Challenge, at Portmore Range in St Catherine.
The teen finished ahead of a very competitive field at the Digicel-sponsored skeet tournament. He scored 64 points, just beating out Chad Ziadie, 62; Hugh Jones, 59; while Reuben Maira and Jake Therien tied on 58 points. Matthew Josephs, 56; and Aidan Ingleden, 53, rounded out the top seven.
"I think I shot well," Clarke told The Gleaner after his win.
The victory was far from easy as some near-perfect shooting ensured the title got decided by the most slender of margins.
"I had to stay focused and calm right to the end," he noted. "The super six stage took more hard work and focus."
Ziadie proved a challenger 'til the end. He moved from fifth overall to second.
"I feel good about my overall performance," he said. "I missed some easy birds that put me at a disadvantage."
Other winners in the 50 birds categories included Zachary Duncan of the AISK School in the beginners' 'B' class, while in the juniors' 'A' class Ruben Mair of Hillel Academy was the winner.
In the junior 'B' class, Nicholai Clarke copped first place for Hillel, while in the junior 'C' class, Joseph Swaby of Manchester High was first.
The girls' 'A' class was won by Alysia Evans, also of Manchester High.
In the sub juniors' 'A' class, Matthew Josephs of Hillel won, while in the girls' 'B' class, Hillel's Tayla Ziadie was victorious.
Eight-year-old Noah Azan was the youngest competitor yesterday.
Twelve schools in total competed for the various sectional prizes. Hillel Academy retained the overall champion spot, even though former Champion Boy, Brandon Reid, finished third in the junior 'B' class.
Daniela McLean, Digicel's sponsorship executive, lauded another variety of sport.
"Clay shooting is rare in Jamaica, but it brings variety to local sports," she said.
"It unearths talent in our youth, and that's what the Digicel brand focuses on," McLean noted.