Thu | Jul 27, 2017

Why Girls' schools can't win Girls Champs

Published:Tuesday | February 10, 2015 | 2:00 AM
FILE Olive McNaughton (RED JACKET).

All boys schools dominate Boys' Championships so completely that the last time a co-ed school won was 22 years ago.

With more boys to choose from, goes conventional Champs wisdom, all-boys' schools have a bigger pool of team prospects to pick from.

Yet, all-girls' schools struggle to win Girls Champs, with the last win by an all-girls' school coming in 1978.

Olive McNaughton captained The Queens School to that 1978 victory. Since then, she has worked tirelessly as backer of The Queens track and field programme. In a CHAMPS WATCH interview, she explained why co-ed schools rule at Girls Championships.

McNaughton started with a comparison to the generous support prominent all-boys schools get from their alumni.

"The girls' schools do not have the sort of capital and support from their past students," she commenced.

In her observation, strong past-student associations fuel the boys' schools and create a strong culture for alumni to go back and support the school programmes.

Beyond finance, she pinpointed boarding as a big factor.

"And so when the schools are recruiting islandwide," she continued, "they are able to offer this opportunity to do boarding".

balancing time

After The Queens won in 1978, Vere Technical clicked off 15 straight victories with its on-campus boarding stabilising training and nutrition. More recently, Vere, Holmwood and current champions Edwin Allen have travelled the same route to the top.

During McNaughton's days at The Queens, physical-education teachers worked closely with academically proficient and multi-talented girls. This helped them to balance their time between school and several sports, and kept them interested in track and field.

"Now," she said in a reference to her old school, "PE teachers do not have the same focus on track and field.

"Now they focus more on, I would say, netball."

The result is that netballers who could help the track team aren't able to give sufficient time and energy to track and field.

"We do see the opportunity to build the student, giving opportunities for scholarships," she said, while noting that renewed efforts will be made to support The Queens track programme.

For those who keep count, Wolmer's have been the best-placed girls' school for the last seven years, with fifth - its crown jewel in 2009 and 2012. The best placing for a girls school since the Boys/Girls Championships merger is the third place by Immaculate in the year of the merger, 1999.

n Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980.