Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Hail the champions!

Published:Sunday | April 9, 2017 | 4:24 AMHubert Lawrence
Captain of Edwin Allen High School's girls' track team, Khamoy Farquharson, walking with the ISSA/GraceKennedy Girls' Athletics Championship trophy during a parade in Frankfield, Clarendon last Monday.
Calabar High School principal Albert Corcho poses with the Mortimer Geddes Trophy last Monday after his school claimed its sixth straight ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys Athletics Championship.
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Kingston College and Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School started the 2017 staging of Boys and Girls' Championships with big predicted winning margins on paper.

However, when the five days of running, jumping and throwing was over, Calabar High School and Edwin Allen had defended their respective team titles. Kingston College were undone by a pair of untimely injuries and by a Calabar team that performed magnificently.

Neither favourite scored at the predicted level, but Edwin Allen were deep enough to collect 316.5 points and win a fifth Girls' Champs title. Hydel High won a frantic battle for second with their 265 points total out-lasting St Jago High, 246 and Holmwood 243. Coached by Michael Dyke, Edwin Allen suffered misfortune including a false start by prohibitive Class Three 100 favourite Kevona Davis and a baton fumble by Davis' unbeatable 4x100m team. However, 800/1500m doubles in Class Two and Three by Cemore Donald and Rushana Dwyer, a steeplechase win by Jeima Davis and a hurdles double by Gabrielle McDonald, led Edwin Allen home.

Injuries cost Kingston College dearly. Jhevaughn Matherson, favoured in the Class One 100m and 200m, managed just two of a predicted 18 points with Wayne Pinnock, leader of the Class Two long jump and 110m hurdles fields, getting just five of 18. With Calabar moving up on all four of those events, the points swing was almost 40 points.

Nevertheless, it's an oversimplification to say that's the only reason Calabar won. The Michael Clarke-coached green-and-blacks were relentless, with Christopher Taylor leading the way. He debuted in Class One with a 200m and 400m double and legs on the winning 4x100m and 4x400m teams. One-two finishes in the 100m, 400m, 110m hurdles and a one-three result in the 200m and middle distance magic in Class Two did the business for Calabar.

Kimar Farquharson took down Aldwyn Sappleton's 20 year-old 800m record from 1 minute 52.27 seconds to 1.51.26 in the heats and went on to win the gold medal. He also set the pace for teammate Kevroy Venson who improved the 1500m mark to 3 minutes 55.38 seconds, with KC's Aryamanya Rogers second and Farquharson third.

Rogers, a Ugandan 16 year-old, went on to win the 5000 metres.

When KC found it impossible to score in the Class Two hurdles, won brilliantly by Jeremy Farr, the die was cast. The final scores - Calabar 317 to 314 for KC - are the highest scores in the 21-year history of the current scoring system and it was just the second time the 300-point ceiling had been breached.

The first time was 2014 when Calabar collected 305 points.

Calabar and Edwin Allen now have the look of dynasties. With six Boys' Champs titles on the trot, Calabar are now taking aim on the 1962 - 1975 Kingston College record of 14 consecutive wins. Edwin Allen moved to four straight, and five overall. The last team to win a consecutive quartet of Girls Championship crowns, Holmwood, ended up with nine back-to-back triumphs. Maintaining or breaking those dynasties will motivate all the contenders next year.

- HUBERT LAWRENCE first went to Champs in 1980.