Injury-free Edwin Allen will win Champs – Dyke
Coach of Edwin Allen High Michael Dyke is extremely confident that his girls will successfully defend the title at the Grace Kennedy/Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys and Girls' Athletics Championship, which begins today and ends on Saturday at the National Stadium.
Having easily won the title in 2014 with a massive 337.5 points, Dyke is oozing confidence that they will win for the third time since 2012. In that year, Edwin Allen won its first title but were pipped in 2013 by Holmwood Technical, before being triumphant again last year.
Now, the Clarendon-based school is the odds-on favourite to win a highly anticipated five-day battle.
"Our chances are very good based on performances during the development meets leading up to Champs," Dyke told The Gleaner during training at the Stadium East Complex recently.
"Once everybody remains healthy and injury free, I have no doubt we will win again at Champs," he said confidently.
building a dynasty
With regard to building a dynasty, Dyke said: "We will take each year as it comes, We look at the talent and take it from there. As a result of our success in recent times, we have been able to attract talent," he noted.
"Like last year, we expect to score over 300 points, and that would prove difficult to beat," Dyke, who has been coaching at his alma mater for over 20 years, said.
"We are pretty much balanced in all areas such as sprints, middle and long distances, as well as field events, so we expect points all round," he added.
He is also expecting the team to score in all the classes, as "it will be a total team effort", and singled out some athletes.
Dyke will be banking on team captain Danique Bryan in the Class One high jump, long jump and triple jump; Saqukine Cameron in the Class One 100m, 200m and 400m; Rochelle Frazer in the Class One shot put and discus; Shellece Clarke in the Class Two 100m and 200m; Janique Burgher in the Class Three high jump; and Jeima Davis for the Class Three 800m, 1500m, and 3,000m.
Although confident, Dyke pointed out that challenges should come from many-time winners Holmwood Technical, St Jago, and Hydel High.
Dyke attended Edwin Allen in the early 1980s and said his love for the institution is the main reason he has been coaching there for over two decades.
"The love for my school and helping youngsters to develop and achieve, because it is a lifeline for them, are the reasons that keep me going back there. It's not only about track and field, but doing well in academics," he said.
Dyke listed his support staff of coaches as Kirk Douglas (hurdles), Kedine Geddes (horizontal jumps), Jeremy Dellisser (jumps), Shane Cole (high jump), Jermaine Phipps (discus and shot put), Devion Chanteloupe (discus and shot put), Judine Ashley (sprints), and Sharniel Copeland (middle distance).
He also lauded the support staff, especially Warren Clarke, and the school community for their assistance to the programme despite shortfalls.
"The support is not where we want it to be, but I must give thanks for what is happening," he said.