Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Close Boys’ Champs race

Published:Tuesday | February 17, 2015 | 12:01 AMHubert Lawrence
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Calabar's Taylor
KC's Matherson
JC's Baker
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After six weekends of high-school athletics, it's becoming clear that Boys' Championships will be closer than in 2014. Like last year, it looks like Calabar, Kingston College (KC) and Jamaica College (JC) will be the top three schools.

However, unlike last year, it seems that KC will be far closer than in 2014, when Calabar won by almost 100 points.

In fact, if Champs was to be contested this week, both teams would be over the 280-point mark. JC is expected to be the only other team over 200 points. That's the best guess derived from this season's results.

Calabar has a Class One aggregation that could score 100 points.

Winless at Champs 2014, sprinter-hurdler Michael O'Hara is back in form, and Cornwall College transfer Warren Barrett is dominating the shotput and discus. Edward Clarke, O'Hara, long jumper Julanie Walker and smooth hurdler Seanie Selvin set a 4x100 Champs record of 39.35 seconds.

They should repeat in the relay and could score heavily in their individual events.

Class Two battleground

As expected, Class Two will be a battleground. Calabar and KC both appear to have 90-point teams. With former Class Three 400m winner Nathaniel Bann back from injury and led by reigning Class Two 200m champion, Jhevaughn Matherson, KC will face a stern challenge from Calabar.

Christopher Taylor, Tyreke Wilson and Dejour Russell are all formidable. Notably, Chris Taylor broke Bann's Class Three 400m record and has already run 46.87 seconds in Class Two.

KC's rounded Class Three team suffered a dropped baton in the 4x100m at the Western Relays. Nevertheless, with undefeated hurdler Wayne Pinnock emerging as team leader, the purple and whites are clear of Calabar in this age category on paper.

However, Calabar appear to be improving in Class Three as the season progresses. If the Class Three gap narrows further, Calabar's hopes of defending their Champs title will be fortified.

JC, the 2011 champion school, is to be keenly watched. On paper, the Blues hold a distant third place, and with hurdler Tyler Mason gone a year early, there is some punch gone from their Class One team. However, JC teams tend to peak perfectly for Champs.

Their star is Class Two 400m record holder, Devaughn Baker. He is being brought along beautifully and could challenge for gold in the Class One 400 metres. Baker shares top billing with powerful jumper O'Brien Waysome, who has already covered 16.12 metres in the triple, high jumper Clayton Brown, and World Youth 100m finalist, Waseem Williams.

Waysome's big jump is beyond the Champs Class One triple jump record of 15.83 metres by Clive Pullen, then of KC and now at the University of Arkansas.

At this juncture, St Jago, STETHS and Wolmer's appear to have 150-point teams and will battle to complete the top five.

Next week, CHAMPS WATCH will estimate the relative strength of the contenders at Girls' Champs.

n HUBERT LAWRENCE has attended Champs since 1980.