ClayFeva right on target for AISK SportsFeva
It's hit or miss when it comes to a shoot-off, and this year 80 students from 12 schools put this to the test as they showed their sharpshooting skills in ClayFeva, the sporting clays segment of the American International School of Kingston (AISK) SportsFeva athletic tournament.
The event was staged at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore, St Catherine.
The sport, which grows bigger each year, is as much a mental test as it is a physical one. This year's ClayFeva proved that, with 14-year-old Danzell Knight of Campion College pulling off an upset and taking the overall championship and the individual Super Six titles from defending champion Nickolai Clarke, the 16-year-old sharpshooter from Hillel Academy.
Knight, who was in his third year in the competition said: "I felt a bit nervous, but the only person to beat was Nickolai and he's who I had my mind on ..."
Coach Khaleel Azan pointed out that this was a matter of Knight's mental acumen.
"Danzell had to work on his mental game and what I had been focusing on in this sport is the mental aspect," said Azan. "The victory by Danzell Knight at 48 was above what we expected. We set the course for a 46 or a 45 to win. He (Danzell) came to me midway and said, 'the mental thing is working'."
This year's ClayFeva had spectators on pins and needles, as many of the scores were separated by only a bird or two. Knight, whose score of 48 out of 50 birds was one of the anomalies, surpassed Clarke (44) and Zachary Chen (43) of Hillel by four and five birds, respectively.
The girls all came out to defeat reigning champion Isabelle Chin of Campion College, who held on to her ClayFeva Girls A title with a score of 39 ahead of Leah Azan of Hillel, who claimed second with 32 birds, with Jolie Chin, who flew in from St Andrews High in Delaware (USA), clinching third with 29.
Marksmanship knew no age boundaries at this year's ClayFeva as the sub-seniors showed they were not to be outmatched.
Fourteen-year-old Roman Tavares-Finson of Hillel took the first runner-up title in the individual Super Six this year, as well as first spot in the Sub-Junior A category with 45 birds.
AISK's principal, Shirley Davis, noted: "I keep telling everyone that sporting clays is really exciting to watch. The skill and acumen these students display as young as 11 years is so impressive. We had a packed house today and not a dull moment for ClayFeva 2016, it was the perfect way to wrap up SportsFeva 2016."
The performances by 15-year-old twins Adam and Dylan Fletcher of Campion College, proved this. With only four lessons, they copped first and second, respectively, in the Junior C tournament.
This year's tournament saw the participants in the Super Six shoot-off aiming at flash targets, which are used both at the Olympic and the Pan American Games, as coach Azan explained.
"They won't have any fear ... they will be prepared to shoot internationally ... it will be nothing new to them and they won't get nervous," Azan said.
The Mitsubishi Super Six had a new element on the last course, which had the competitors shooting from a back of a Mitsubishi L200.
Knight shot 13 birds, taking his overall score to 61; Tavares-Finson copped 14 birds, taking his score to 59; and Chen nailed 15 birds, taking his overall score to 43.