Boys excite in 400m excitement on Champs 2015's opening day
Calabar's Christopher Taylor teased the crowd and Class One quarter-milers Akeem Bloomfield, Twayne Crooks (Kingston College), Nathon Allen and Martin Manley (St Jago) confirmed what we already knew - Saturday's final is going to be something special.
You could hear a pin drop inside the National Stadium at times yesterday as a few athletics loyalists sat under overcast skies to witness the first blocks being laid on the opening day of the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
Things only truly got under way today, with four finals set to be contested, as the mad rush for points gets into high gear.
The boys' Class One 400m is one of the most eagerly anticipated events at this year's championships, with the form of Bloomfield, who recently ran 45.41, and Crooks, as well as St Jago duo Manley and Allen, setting up a mouth-watering finale.
All four won their heats and booked their places in Friday's semi-finals yesterday - Bloomfield closing down with more than 100m to go to post 48.11, Crooks bouncing comfortably to 47.22, Allen easy in 48.22, and Manley comfortably registering 48.23.
Taylor, who just a few weeks ago became the fastest ever 15-year-old in the 400m in the world with a 45.69 seconds run at the Carifta Trials, covered the field in his first few strides, took control at the beginning of the backstretch, and, perhaps with one eye on the meet record (46.64), powered home to win his heat in 47.25 seconds.
The wiry Taylor qualifies to the next round as the fastest of the lot, but there's clearly much more to come from the Class Three champion and record holder from last year.
Anthony Carpenter, next best
His teammate, Anthony Carpenter, had plenty in reserve and was next best, winning his heat in 48.34 seconds. Other top qualifiers included STETHS's Leonardo Ledgister, 49.76; Kingston College's Tyreke Bryan, 49.74; and Munro's Romel Plummer, 49.78.
Tajai Jackson (Calabar) is the fastest qualifier from the Class Three 400m after crossing the line in 51.91. Tajay Broomfield (Holmwood), 51.92, while the other Calabar man Evaldo Whitehorne, 51.95, also set the pace.
Jumps standout O'Brien Wasome, the silver medal winner at last year's Youth Olympic Games, made light work of qualifying for today's Class One boys' long jump final, posting a 7.54m mark on his first attempt.
Avery Pryce (Vere) will feel good about yesterday's effort after winning her section with a 13.85m throw, making her the top qualifier heading into today's girls' Class Two shot put final set for 5:30 p.m. Hydel's Devia Brown, 13.69m, is next best, with Immaculate's Kadian Clarke, 13.68m; St Jago's Yanike Henry, 13.19m; and Ashley Jarman (Alpha), 13.17m, rounding out the top five.
St Jago's Crystal Morrison is the fastest qualifier in the girls' Class Four 70m hurdles, winning her heat in 10.70 seconds ahead of Alpha's Breann Brown, 10.75, and Edwin Allen's Kenisha Greenwood, 11.40. Also impressing were Lisandro Brown (Edwin Allen), 10.83, and Riana Battick (Immaculate), 10.86.
In the Class Three girls' 80m hurdles, Holmwood's Shanette Allison, 11.41, was most impressive in qualifying to Friday's semi-final, with Hydel's Joda Campbell (11.54), St Jago's Kimeone McLeod (11.70) and Holy Childhood's Britney Richardson (11.73) all showing good form.
The smooth-hurdling Janeek Brown (Wolmer's) was the fastest across the line in qualifying for the next round of the Class Two girls' 100m hurdles event, winning her heat in 13.82, the same time as Glengoffe's Trishauna Hemmings, with Safiya Thompson (St Jago), 13.92, being the only other qualifier below 14 seconds.
St Catherine's Anna-Kay Allen, 56.52; Abigail Brooks (Hydel), 56.83; St Jago's Sashell Frater, 57.30; and Vere's Johnelle Thomas, 57.31, are all through to the next round of the Class Three girls' 400m after strong performances in yesterday's heats.