Champs 2017 | KC, Edwin for the win
AFTER months of intense preparations, the most anticipated high school track and field event, the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships gets under way today, starting at 1:00 p.m., with defending girls' champions Edwin Allen and Kingston College (KC) starting as favourites to come out on top.
KC is expected to push aside the controversy surrounding Ugandan middle-distance athlete Aryamanya Rodgers, who was cleared by ISSA to compete despite registration issues, and lift the Mortimer Geddes trophy for the first time since 2009. The boys from North Street have suffered their joint second-longest losing streak since they first won the title back in 1937 but are now heavily tipped to score a commanding victory and claim their 32nd overall title.
After coming close in 2015, there should be no stopping the Neil Harrison-coached team this time around after a dominant and all-round showing in the build-up to the championships. Despite their impressive depth, the bulk of the damage will come from their powerful Class Three unit led by sprinters Terrique Stennett, Adrian Kerr and Jovaine Johnson along with jumper Scott McLeod and middle-distance athletes, twin brothers Giovanni and Gianni Henry.
Despite not being that strong in the sprints in Class Two, KC still has the edge over their main rivals as the likes of Wayne Pinnock and Shaquille Lowe in the horizontal jumps along with Pinnock and Davion Williams in the hurdles along with Rodgers in the 1500m should give them enough points to stay ahead.
Calabar were given the slight edge earlier coming into the championships in Class One, but with news emerging over the past 24 hours that one of their top men, Dejour Russell will most likely miss the event due to a hamstring injury, it is again advantage to KC. The likes of Jhevaughn Matherson in the 100m and 200m, Dashawn Morris and Tyreke Bryan in the 400m along with co-captain Carey McLeod and Shakwon Coke, the 'Purples' are again in good shape going into the championships.
For Calabar, the outstanding Christopher Taylor, who is expected to have a mega clash with Matherson in the 200m and who should win the 400m easily, will lead their charge for points here. Michael Stephens in the 100m and Gabrielle Allen in the jumps, as well as Orlando Bennett, Malik James-King and Aykeeme Francis in the hurdles are all expected to take the fight to Kingston College.
We are expecting one-way traffic among the girls as Edwin Allen are favoured for a massive victory and will make it four in a row for the girls' title. The Michael Dyke-coached team has been rampant all year, and that same form is expected to be carried over to Champs. They are expected to outscore their opponents in all classes with solid performances in the field and on the track.
It is in Class Three where they are expected to score most of their points. Outstanding sprinter, Kevona Davis, who should easily defend her 100m and 200m titles is the main act here. Both records could go here as her season best of 11.43 seconds is better than the record run of 11.50 seconds done by former Wolmer's star Shauna Helps in 2012. With a best so far of 23.32 seconds in the 200m done by winning the event at the G.C. Foster Classics, she could also threaten the long-standing record of 23.11 seconds, set by former Holmwood Technical athlete, Anneisha McLaughlin in 2001. Others expected to do well in Class Three include Rushawna Dwyer in the 800m and 1500m, Lisandra Brown in the 80m hurdles, Kadine Brown in the discus and Ackelia Smith in the long jump.
Cemore Donald will lead the show in Class Two as she is expected to take the 800m-1500m double, while in Class One a fit-again Patrice Moody, with Kasheika Cameron in the sprints and thrower Fiona Richards are set to feature prominently
Today's opening day of events will include the preliminary round of the sprint hurdles, while on the track, there will also be first-round action in the 200m, 800m and 2000m steeplechase for both sexes. Other field events down to be contested today are the javelin throw Open and long jump Class Two for boys, while on the female side, there will be competition in the Class One high jump and discus.
GIRLS TOP 5
1. Edwin Allen - 371
2. Hydel 263
3. Holmwood Technical 233
4. St. Jago 221
5. Vere Technical 150
BOYS TOP 5
1. Kingston College 380
2. Calabar - 315
3. Jamaica College 160
4. St. Jago 150
5. Wolmer's 122