Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Edwin Allen still ahead in Girls' Champs race

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

With a month to go to Girls Championships, a lot could change, but Edwin Allen High appears to be in pole position.

Coached as usual by Michael Dyke, the defending champion school is strong in almost all departments and has the jump on fine teams from St Jago, Holmwood, and Hydel.

However, Edwin Allen's 2014 winning margin of 74.5 points may well be reduced.

Despite the graduation of Marleena Eubanks, Christania Williams, Claudette Allen, Monique Spencer, and Camira Haughton, coach Dyke has crafted an 80-point Class One squadron. Sprint prospect Saqukine Cameron, jumper-sprinter Shanice Lewis, and throwing ace Rochelle Frazer anchor the blue clads from Frankfield.

At this juncture, Dyke's team appears to be just as strong in classes Two, Three and in the Open class, where Alvonia Howell will challenge Holmwood's Shanieke Watson in the 2000-metre steeplechase.

Overall, Dyke's blend of sprints, middle distances and throws could push Edwin Allen over the 300-point threshold again.

Modest in Class Two, St Jago is a 270-point team. The gap could close if former Edwin Allen throws guru, Marlon Gayle, gets the St Jago discus/shot/javelin crew to punch over their weight.

Led by Youth Olympic 200m champion, Natalliah Whyte, reigning 400m hurdles champion Genekee Leith and 2014 100m hurdles winner, Peta-Gaye Williams, the St Jago girls are strong. Her duel with Cameron, Shauna Helps, the super sprinter from Wolmer's Girls and 400m ace Dawnalee Loney of Camperdown in the 200m will be one of the feature races of Championships.

Surprise 2013 winners, Holmwood, are on the rise. Even without the early departure of World Youth 100m hurdles champion Yanique Thompson and sprinter Diana Johnson, Holmwood still have a fine Class One sprint team. Watson and former Class Three 800m/1500m winner, Lisa Buchanan, supply experience and speed.

If Girls Champs was this week, this 10-time champion would edge Hydel for third. Both teams should also be over 200 points. Hydel's ace is Devia Brown, who is adept at throwing the discus, shot and javelin.

This week's Central Championships may give further insight into the balance of power in high school athletics. That's because all the championship contenders are from the Central Zone. For now, however, the best guess is that Edwin Allen have the edge in the race for supremacy at Girls Championships.

n Hubert Lawrence has been attending Champs since 1980.