Filling gaps at Calabar, Edwin Allen
Calabar High School and Edwin Allen High School have more in common than big wins at last year's Boys and Girls' Championships and coaches with the same first name.
With Michael Clarke and Michael Dyke at the helm, the defending champions are both seeking to fill big gaps in their point-scoring capability vis-a-vis 2014. Statistically, Calabar face the highest hurdle.
Last year in Class Three, Calabar hardly put a foot wrong. Not only did Tyreke Wilson, Christopher Taylor, and the 4x100 team set phenomenal records, but they led their school's dominance in the class. The boys in green and black scooped up 116 of the maximum 140 points available in Class Three.
That dominance was doubly remarkable. First, the 116-point haul exceeded the returns by Calabar's teams in Class One, Class Two, and the Open category, respectively. That is astounding because Class Three has no throwing events, while Class One and Class Two have the shot and discus, in addition to the triple jump.
Beyond that, the 116-point avalanche is the highest single class total in Champs history since a 1996 change to awarding places to the top eight in each event. That change, from six places scoring, also saw an increase in the number of points for each scoring finish.
Before 1996, an individual event winner got seven points. From 1996 onward, the point scheme has been 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, with relays and the multi-events starting at 12 points for a win.
Wilson, Taylor, 2014 100m hurdles champion Dejour Russell, and most of that distinguished Class Three group are in Class Two this year.
Dyke has seen his fantastic 2014 Class One track team graduate from Edwin Allen. Sprinters Christania Williams and Monique Spencer, 400-metre hurdler Camira Haughton, jumper/hurdler Claudette Allen, and distance ace Marleena Eubanks are all gone. Only Saqukine Cameron and throwers Rochelle Frazer and Janell Fullerton remain.
Dyke will probably have fewer worries than his counterpart at Calabar. Girls compete in Classes One, Two, Three, and Four and in an Open category. That makes it a little easier to fill the gap caused by graduation of last year's super seniors.
If the results from last Saturday's JC/Wata meet are anything to go by, the Edwin Allen recovery is under way. Frazier did a Class One shot put-discus double as Edwin Allen won five events. Former Girls Champs' winners Holmwood and St Jago had four each.
Under Clarke, Calabar only sends throwers to the JC meet. With Calabar absent on the track, Kingston College won seven events.
n Hubert Lawrence has been attending Champs since 1980.