‘This one is extremely special’, says Clarke of fourth straight Champs title success
Calabar High School's track and field head coach, Michael Clarke, has now won a combined 14 Boys' Champs titles with three different schools, after leading Calabar to their 24th hold on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy at the National Stadium on Saturday.
He won his first championship with St Jago in 1988, then moved to Jamaica College, where he won seven titles. He took a double in 1991, 92 and again in 1994, 95 with the Old Hope Road-based school. He achieved his first triple when he led the 'Dark Blues' to successes in 1998, 99 and 2000.
In 2003, he joined his alma mater, Calabar High, and saw them to back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008, then a triple from 2012-2014.
Despite his unrivalled success at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/
GraceKennedy Boys & Girls' Athletic Championships - the premier local schoolboy track and field meet - Clarke noted that this was his first four-peat, and for that purpose, this win is very special.
"I have been doing this for quite some time, and I have had about two three-peats, but never a four-peat. So this one is extremely special. God's willing (Calabar will win again next year), that's always the plan," he told The Gleaner after leading the Red Hills Road-based school to the championship.
However, he said winning Champs was not only a result of his own work, and was quick
to pay tribute to his staff, the
management team, supporters, administrators, and athletes for their role.
"This is very hard, and me alone cannot do it. I have seven coaches and a management team that deals with duties and responsibilities, and that has made it pleasant. The assistance we get from Old Boys' and people on the street is unquestionable and really valuable, so it's not a single-person thing, as if it is my own attempt and effort that did this. It's a unified approach, and organisational approach, and we are all happy for that," he commented.
"We try to prepare allround and make ourselves ready for all the adversities that might come; so it's part of the plan, and part of the plan that promotes success. So it's blessings, a solid group of people, solid group of athletes, solid group of support from administration in the school, from old boys, and we are very thankful," he added.