St Jago positive despite Edwards' departure
St Jago's track and field team manager, John Leiba, says that the departure of male head coach Rhansomn Edwards to Kingston College will not have a significant impact on the school's programme.
Leiba also shared that the Spanish Town-based school was looking at two highly qualified candidates to take over the role ahead of the new season.
Leiba noted that St Jago has a long history of breaking out top coaches such as Michael Clarke, Bert Cameron, Jimmy Grant, and Danny Hawthorne, among others and expects that Edwards' exit will have little or no effect on their ambitions to challenge for a top three finish among the boys at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.
"Mr Edwards has been with us for two years. We are sorry to see him go, but St Jago has always been resilient. When Michael Clarke left, people felt we couldn't win again, but we won," said Leiba.
"Bert Cameron came and went, Jimmy Grant and Danny Hawthorne. So we are expecting from the persons we are interviewing that we are going to have an excellent replacement for Rhansomn Edwards. Two people are being interviewed and both with very good credentials," he said.
However, the decision on who gets the top post is still undecided according to Leiba, but a source close to the school's programme says that the institution is looking at throws and field events coach Marlon Gayle to ascend to the head coach job.
"We are still looking into the head coach process. It depends on what skill set that person brings to the table," Leiba stated.
But despite the coaching staff shake-up for the two-time Boys' Champs winners (1987 and 1993), Leiba is confident that they will continue to build on their fourth-place position last year as they have retained their athletes, some of whom he expected to leave, and they have done well in their recruitment of top athletes.
"To my surprise, we thought we were going to lose a substantial number of our athletes, but our support structure came to the fore, and our recruiting has been better than ever. I am not going to fool anybody. It is going to be very difficult to displace the top three teams, but we are aiming to maximise our potential and give them a good fight, and depending on the personnel we get, we hope to be more competitive next year by challenging the three.
"He (Edwards) did a lot in terms of hurdles, which has been weak for sometime. So the two main things now are sprint and hurdles. But I really don't expect there will be much fallout from Mr Edwards moving, but only time will tell," he concluded.