Mon | Jul 22, 2019

What Gibson-McCook says about Champs

Published:Tuesday | March 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Calabar High's Jelani Walker and Michael O'Hara embrace after their team's record-breaking victory in the Class One 4x100 metres at the 2015 Gibson/McCook Relays at the National Stadium on Saturday. Their time, 39.32 seconds, is a global high school record.

Most people use the Gibson-McCook Relays as a barometer for Boys and Girls' Championships. Even though the Relays are mainly a test of relative strength in sprinting, fans extrapolate to Champs anyway. Sometimes the barometer works.

This year's Gibson-Champs barometer readings could be inconclusive. Edwin Allen High and Holmwood Technical reached all seven of the girls' relay finals inside the National Stadium. Holmwood won only once, in the 4x800 metres with reigning 3000m and steeplechase champion Shanieke Watson starting the win with an opening leg timed at two minutes, 08.1 seconds.

With Youth Olympic 200m champion Natalliah Whyte

and speedball Kimone Shaw flying their respective anchor legs, St Jago High won the Class One and Three 4x100m relays. Added to that, St

Jago made every final, but

one - the 4x200m Open. That 'failure' may have

come from emphasis on the 4x100m and the 4x400m.


Edwin Allen strong


Edwin Allen won four events and finished, respectively, second and third in two others. The Frankfield Fliers look especially strong in Class Two where an

outstanding unit, led

by Shellece Clarke, equalled the record of 45.01 seconds.

Kingston College (KC) won six events on Saturday, but sadly, Class Two standout, Nathaniel Bann, fell to injury in the 4x100m. The best of the six came in the 4x800m, where versatile Twayne Crooks cruised his 1.51.2 anchor to seal a record-breaking run of seven minutes, 33.87 seconds. The old mark had stood since 1994.

Though not a record, the KC run in the Class One 4x200m was outstanding, too. With Shivnarine Smalling setting the pace, KC won in 1.24.96 in an event where times under one minute, 25 seconds are rare.

Despite all that, Calabar High left the Gibson-McCook Relays in a strong position. Edward Clarke, Michael O'Hara, Julanie Walker and Sean Selvin reset their own Jamaican high school record 4x100m in Class One to 39.32 seconds. A fast win in Class Two tended to overshadow Calabar's absence from the Class Three final won by KC.

Two of the six KC wins came in Class Four, which isn't contested at Champs. Those wins nevertheless drew attention. In the 4x100m, KC clocked 44.44 seconds, just off the record of 44.38 by the likes of Tyreke Wilson, Christopher Taylor and Dejour Russell, key members of the current Calabar Class Two wonder team.

If that young group of Purples stays healthy, they, too, could break 42 seconds in Class Three.

- Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980