Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Champs Watch - Dynasties in the making?

Published:Saturday | January 9, 2016 | 1:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Calabar High School athletes lift the Mortimer Geddes Trophy in celebration of their victory at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships, at the National Stadium last year.
Excited students at Edwin Allen High School during their Champs victory celebration at the school last year.
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It's far too soon to describe the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships winning streaks by Calabar High School and Edwin Allen High School as dynasties. Both have a long way to go before their respective series of consecutive Champs wins rival the record streaks of 14 by the Kingston College machine of 1962-1975 and by the Vere Technical juggernaut in the 1979 to 1993 period. More than that, there's no absolute guarantee that Calabar and Edwin Allen will win this year.

However, both schools have looked so good in recent years that the thought of them dominating for years to come is blowing in the wind.

With ace coach Michael Clarke still at the helm, Calabar turned into the New Year with a fifth straight Championship title as their target. That would separate this green and black aggregation from the group coached to victory by legendary Gerald Claude Foster in 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933. Arch-rivals Kingston College also have the second longest run of Champs wins, with a line of success from 2001 to 2007.

Edwin Allen have won twice in a row. That's no streak ... yet. While Calabar survived a stern test by Kingston College last year, the Edwin Allen girls won easily - by 100 points - in 2015 with coach Michael Dyke quietly predicting continued success. Aside from the 15 years of dominance by Vere, Holmwood Technical won season after season from 2003 to 2011, with Excelsior High and St Jago High scoring four consecutive wins. Excelsior did it from 1970 to 1973, with St Jago doing the same from 1996 to 1999.

In a season that starts at the Purewater/JC meet today, Calabar will face fine teams from KC, second in 2015 by just 15 and a half points, and the 2011 champion boys' school, Jamaica College. Edwin Allen will have to keep a close eye on the rising Hydel High, consistent St Jago and the resurgent Holmwood Technical who finished second, third and fourth last year. If the reigning champions win again, the D-word whispers will get louder.

n Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980.