Ready to unleash! - Defending champion Stephens promises 100m fireworks
Calabar's sprint star Michael Stephens says that he is fit and ready to defend his Class One 100m title at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships when he competes in the semi-finals at the National Stadium today.
With the penultimate day of competition set to feature 13 finals on the male side, six-time defending champions Calabar will be looking to extend their advantage and continue their march to another title.
The Lions tallied 52 points after five finals, with Kingston College next best on 42. Jamaica College were on 22, with St Jago, 18, and Petersfield 12, rounding out the top five.
Stephens, who suffered a slight hamstring injury at the Corporate Area Development Meet earlier this month, returned with a bang, comfortably winning his heat in an impressive 10.48 seconds.
Stephens' time was only bettered by Kingston College's (KC) Jhevaughn Matherson, who clocked a season's best time of 10.47 seconds to win and set up a mouth-watering clash worth travelling miles to see.
Matherson, who withdrew from the 200m due to illness, was competing in his first 100m of the season.
Stephens' teammate, Tyreke Wilson, who was silver medallist in the event last year, was also impressive in qualifying for today's semis as he won his heat in 10.51 seconds.
The defending champion said that despite the injury concern, he is determined to give it his all and successfully defend his crown.
"I have a slight hamstring injury, and so I am just going to go out there and do my best to ensure that I defend my title," said Stephens.
"I am just gradually coming back because I jogged 10.48 in my heat, and that said I am in excellent shape going into the semi-finals," he said.
Stephens added: "I am very happy with my performance in the heat because it was very easy; and so going forward, I am going to try and give my school maximum points and just believe in God that I can do it."
The semi-finals are set to get under way at 4:00 p.m., with the final set to face the starter at 8:35 p.m.
St Elizabeth Technical High School's (STETHS) Jauavney James leads all qualifiers into today's final of the Boys' Class One 400m hurdles event.
James, who finished fifth in last year's final, won his semi-final in an impressive 51.89 seconds. He is expected to receive stiff competition from Calabar's Malik James-King, who defeated him at the Carifta trials two weeks ago.
Rhodes Hall's Rovane Williams, Phillip Lemonios of Jamaica College, and Sean Kalawan of STETHS are the other main contenders in the event.
St Jago's Roje Stona produced a strong showing to retain his discus title with a throw of 56.99m. Calabar's Kai Chang was second with a throw of 56.06m, while third went to Petersfield's Daniel Cope, who finished third with a mark of 49.50m.
Calabar's Zackery Dillon won the Class Two shot put with a throw of 16.82m. Jordan Edwards from JC was second with a mark of 16.72m, while third went to KC's Ralford Mullings in 16.58m.