Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Mavis Bank seek distance dominance

Published:Thursday | March 17, 2016 | 3:00 AMRobert Bailey
Members of the Mavis Bank High School’s Champs team in training in their hilly community for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships.
Mavis Bank High School's head coach, Devon Grant, gives instructions to top athlete Garfield Gordon during training at the rural St Andrew-based institution, for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships.
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Minnows Mavis Bank High School have their sights set on dominating the distance races at this year's Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships at the National Stadium.

Located in the hills of rural St Andrew, Mavis Bank have dominated the road races this season. In fact, their athletes Garfield Gordon and Crystal Brown are among the leading road racers this season.

Gordon is down to compete in the Class One 5000m and 2000m steeplechase at the championships. He finished a close-up fourth in the steeplechase in 2015 and is considered one of the favourites for this year's event.

Meanwhile, Brown, who will contest the Class Two 1500m and 2000m steeplechase events, is one of the hot favourites to win both at the championships.

Head coach Devon Grant is confident that his athletes will do well.

SURPRISES

"We are going to make a name for ourselves at Champs this year and we are going to create some surprises," said Grant. "We have dominated road races in Jamaica, the 5Ks and the 10Ks and so what we are trying to do now is to carry that over into Champs.

"We can win the Class One 5,000m with Garfield because I believe that once he applies himself then he will come away with a medal for us," Grant predicted. "I think he can also win the steeplechase open but he must apply, stay focused and execute his race properly."

Grant pointed out that his school also has a "great chance" of winning medals in the girls 1,500m Class Two and the girls Class Three 800m.

"My athletes have no doubt about themselves and they feel good. I have used my experience and try and motivate them and they have been coming along and so I know that they will do well, extremely well at Champs," he said.

However, Grant added that their preparation heading into the championships hasn't been a smooth one. He explained that the lack of proper training facility hampered their training progress this season.

"We have had some hitches in our preparations because we don't have a field to train on (and) we have to travel to Hope Gardens or the University of the West Indies to train and this costs a lot to transport the kids there and the school cannot afford it."