St Jago boosted by Wignall, Brown appointments
St Jago track and field manager John Leiba has described the capture of former national hurdler Maurice Wignall as the school's new hurdles coach and Xavier Brown as a sprint coach as a master stroke on the part of the school.
The Spanish Town-based school was still reeling from the loss of former hurdles, sprint and head coach Rhansome Edwards, who left Monk Street for Kingston College over the summer. However, the acquisition of the two respected coaches has given the school's programme what Leiba describes as a "massive boost".
"It's a lot of boost. I think we are going to see something extra this year. A lot of people felt that having lost our hurdles coach, Rhansome Edwards, that we would have been in trouble, but like typical St Jago, we bounced back and we feel we are going to be better," he said.
"Part of it was fortuitous, but it was a master stroke. We were in negotiations with other people, who thought they had our backs against the wall, because we had to be depending on them. But they did not know we were investigating [Wignall's availability]. We then got the advice [that he was available] and we seized the opportunity," he stated.
Wignall, the 2006 Common-wealth 110m hurdles gold medallist, and 2004 World Indoor 60m hurdles bronze medallist, has received overwhelming response from athletes and the school community since arriving.
"It has been overwhelming. The young hurdlers are ecstatic - over the moon. They are really excited about him coming into the programme. He has started, and everyone is really enthused," Leiba said of the former Calabar High School athlete.
Leiba expects significant improvements in the sprints department from 2006 CAC Games 200m gold medallist Brown as well.
"That, again, was a master stroke. Xavier worked with people like Glen Mills and Maurice Wilson. He has very good credentials and we are going to see big improvement in sprints," he said.
Field events coach Marlon Gayle was appointed head coach, and with Wignall and Brown as assistants, the school has great ambitions. Leiba, though, would not disclose their goals until they have made an assessment at month's end.
"Mr Gayle is head coach from the first of September. His record in the field events has been exceptional. The middle distance (led by Leiba himself), you will see some big difference, too. Plus, we have been doing a lot of background work in terms of housing and other external factors, so we are putting in a lot of resources," he revealed.